Holme Grange Craft Village
PUBLISHED: 13:57 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:18 20 February 2013
It's out-of-town shopping with a countryside twist. Tessa Harris spent an enjoyable afternoon there...
So why is Holme Grange Craft Village worth a visit?
If you're tired of fighting for the last available space in the car park, or just want a different, more relaxed shopping experience, this could be the answer. The 'village' is a collection of attractive barns, built of timber and brick which are arranged in rows and courtyards. It's all pedestrianised and easy for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
It's especially good if you, or someone close, are planning a wedding. Several of the shops offer wedding services, like Needles and Pins, or Spoilt for Choice can take care of your wedding stationery. Orchid, the 'sister' shop to Confetti Bridal Centre of Wokingham, has some super mother-of-the bride outfits, too.
What will we find?
There are almost 20 shops and workshops, ranging from a designer fabric shop to a hairdressing salon. So after you've shopped you can even have your hair done or why not relieve those aches and pains at the acupuncture clinic! Most of the shops are, however, craft-related in some way and stock all manner of gifts and items for the home.
The village is open all year except from 25th December to 1st January inclusive. Some of the shops are closed other days, too, so you're advised to check before visiting.
How do we get there?
Holme Grange Craft Village is just a mile from Wokingham and within six miles of junctions 3 and 4 of the M3 and junction 10 of the M4 motorways.
Where can we park?
There's an extensive car park that's free.
What's on offer?
If you're looking for crafty gifts you'll be in heaven. Spoilt for Choice, for example, lives up to its name, with lots of unusual hand-made unique greetings cards which can be personalised to your specific requirements.
Gardeners and cooks alike will love The Herb Garden. It's a cornucopia of plants for the herb enthusiast, regularly stocked with fresh herbs, ranging from favourites such as parsley, chives, rosemary and sage, to a selection of the more unusual scented thymes and variegated mints.
At least half of all the items on display at The Gallery are the work of local Thames valley artists. Wood, decorative glass, marquetry, decoupage, fine ceramics and jewellery are all on show, while customers travel miles for their wide selection of silk flowers. Many craftworkers take on commissions to make your gift even more special.
If you like to be a hands-on there's Pottery Pals, where you can choose a ceramic piece to paint. It's very popular with children, who love the Disney characters in particular. Upstairs there are two fantasy party rooms. You can also create a unique memory with a baby or child hand or foot print.
If you're into scrapbooking - American readers will know all about this - card making or decoupage, Brushstrokes is the place to be. They regularly run workshops in one stroke painting which is an easy-to-learn painting technique that apparently anyone can pick up. In addition, there is a comprehensive selection of art materials of artists' quality available.
There aren't many small, family-run dressmaking businesses around these days, but Needles and Pins does alterations, dressmaking and even tailoring.
So, if you want a Savile Row suit without the price tag, you can go along for a no obligation consultation. A collection of their menswear recently reached the finals of the Golden Shears Tailoring Competition, organised by Savile Row in London, and their womenswear has been featured in a number of popular magazines including Hello and Cosmopolitan Bride.
From clothes we turn to furnishing fabrics with KA International. It's the sort of shop you'd expect to find in a well-heeled high street and it is packed with gorgeous designer fabrics, as well as sofas, armchairs, footstools, occasional chairs and tables. There's a new fabric collection launched every other month, so there is always something to discover.
They also stock a wide range of fabrics on the roll, soft furnishing accessories such as throws, cushions, lamps, trimmings, fabric covered doorstops and hand made gifts using their fabrics.
There's a made-to-measure service for curtains and blinds, traditional upholstery and loose covers, too and all work is carried out locally by ladies who are professionals in their field of expertise.
For a full list of shops visit www.holmegrange.co.uk
When you've shopped till you've dropped
Pedro's Tearoom and Deli is well worth the drive even if you don't reach for the plastic. It's a huge, timber-framed barn that sells the most delicious home-made food, from savory paninis, soups and baguettes, to truly scrumptious cakes. Try their organic banana ice cream - it's to die for! When it's warm sit outside and enjoy a cream tea in the pretty courtyard. The deli part is stocked with fresh, local produce as well as more exotic cheeses and olives.