Kickstart your festive shopping: visit a year-round Christmas shop

Have you heard of year-round Christmas shops?

They’re a brilliant way to get your festive shopping started – and you could even plan your visit around a summer holiday or road trip!

Lots of the year-round Christmas shops in the UK are located in towns and cities which are also popular destinations for holidays and city breaks.

So if you’re the only Christmas fan in your household, there’s plenty of other attractions to help keep the rest of the family entertained while you get your festive fix.

The idea for year-round Christmas shops originated in the USA – and in 1985 The Christmas Shop opened in the Cotswolds, the first of its kind in the UK.

If you were thinking of visiting the Yuletide Christmas shop featured in Emma Thompson’s Last Christmas film, I’m glad you read my blog post: the shop isn’t real.

The shop exterior was built specifically for the film in the iconic Market Building in Covent Garden, London, and dismantled as soon as filming was over.

Thankfully there are lots of real-life Christmas shops across the UK that are open all year round.

Here are some of my favourites!

Käthe Wohlfahrt, York

This stunning Christmas shop is located in Mulberry Hall which was built back in 1434 – it’s one of the oldest and most beautiful houses in York.

Inside, Käthe Wohlfahrt is just as enchanting and it’s so popular with Christmas fans, you might find there’s a queue to get in.

There are beautiful ornaments and tree decorations to choose from, plus nativity scenes, magical music boxes and – my personal favourite – a huge range of stunning cuckoo clocks.

Other fantastic places to visit while you’re in York include:

  • Nutcracker Christmas Shop, Shambles
  • The Shop That Must Not Be Named, Shambles (and other Harry Potter-themed shops – it’s claimed this beautiful street was the inspiration for JK Rowling’s Diagon Alley)
  • The National Railway Museum
  • York Minster
  • The City Walls.

Russell Ince’s Christmas Imaginarium, Ryde

This Isle of Wight favourite is the stuff of daydreams – and exactly how I imagined a Christmas shop would look when I was a child.

When you walk through the front door it’s like walking straight into the Christmas season and it feels so magical!

Amongst hand blown baubles and quirky glass busts of famous figures there’s even a machine that kids (and big kids) can use to send letters to the North Pole.

This amazing shop came to be after owner Russell’s books, the ‘Santa Claus: The Book of Secrets’ series was developed into a range of merchandise.

Russell then began designing Christmas products and decorations for retailers including Harrods and Selfridges before deciding to open his own shop.

Other attractions you can enjoy in Ryde include:

  • The Liz Earle flagship store – another Christmas shopping opportunity!
  • The Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  • Ryde beach
  • Goodleaf Tree Climbing
  • Ryde Superbowl.

Tidings Christmas Shop, Padstow

If you’re heading to Cornwall for a holiday, be sure to visit Tidings – Padstow’s cleverly-named seaside Christmas shop.

The store sells quality Christmas decorations which are designed to last – and hopefully become family heirlooms.

From hand-painted glass baubles to Fairtrade Scandi ornaments, Tidings is a festive treasure trove not to be missed!

There are lots of other things to do in Padstow while you’re there, including:

  • Watch the world go by at Padstow Harbour
  • Enjoy a wildlife boat trip to see dolphins, puffins, basking sharks and seals, depending on the time of year
  • Eat at one of Rick Stein’s restaurants, cafe or learn something new at his cookery school
  • Visit Prideaux Place, an Elizabethan house and gardens on the edge of Padstow
  • Enjoy the golden sands of St George’s Cove, a 10 minute walk along the coast path from Padstow Harbour.

Christmas Perks, Shrewsbury

This quirky Christmas shop has found its own niche in the market: Christmas mermen decorations!

There’s a huge selection of cheeky mermen collectables to choose from, from a punk rocker and a Grecian god to Mistletoe Santa and Mr Unicorn.

Display a few of these on your tree and they’ll definitely become a talking point!

There’s also a selection of mermaid decorations available, plus Disney and Harry Potter-themed goodies.

While you’re in town you can also:

  • Step back in time with a visit to Shrewsbury Castle
  • Enjoy a picnic at The Quarry – a 29-acre park by the River Severn
  • Visit Shrewsbury Abbey and take in its mediaeval architecture and stunning stained glass windows
  • Take a boat trip on the River Severn
  • Visit Theatre Severn and experience a play, live music or comedy show.

By the way, this is one of the closest year-round Christmas shops I could find to Wales. Do let me know if you’ve been to a good one!



Christmas on the Lakes, Bowness-on-Windermere

This family-owned shop is such a fun place to visit if you’re heading to the Lake District on holiday.

It’s packed with festive delights: there are hand-glittered advent calendars, frosted candles, musical snow globes and glass ornaments to choose from, plus much more.

One of Christmas on the Lakes’ unique Lake District glass baubles could become a cherished reminder of your holiday – as well as a favourite addition to your Christmas decorations collection.

If you don’t end up spending all your time in the Christmas shop, here are some other activities you can enjoy:

  • Take a boat cruise on stunning Lake Windermere
  • Visit The World of Beatrix Potter exhibition
  • Paddle on the lake in a rented canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard
  • Climb Orrest Head and enjoy stunning views from the top!
  • Enjoy a play, musical, film or concert at The Old Laundry Theatre.

Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, Edinburgh

This lovely festive shop is a well-established feature of historic Canongate on the Royal Mile.

So much so, it’s been enjoyed by Christmas-loving visitors for more than 20 years!

Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe stocks an excellent selection of decorations, notably handmade felt decorations on various themes including Scotland, Ireland, Wales, London, animals and literary characters.

And for something completely different, there’s a unique range of Scottish-made ceramic and wood hanging decorations.

It’s the perfect place to stock up on novel festive decorations – and also a chance to invest in a lasting memento of your time in this fantastic city.

Finished your Christmas shopping? Other top things to do in Edinburgh include:

  • Hike up Arthur’s Seat and wander through Holyrood Park
  • Explore the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions
  • Enjoy a wee dram at the Scotch Whisky Experience
  • Discover the treasures of the National Museum of Scotland
  • Get up early and climb Calton Hill to the National Monument and take in the sunrise.

I hope you enjoy visiting one or more of these year-round Christmas shops – and that I’ve given you some festive shopping inspiration for your next holiday!

Alex x

Information is correct at the time of writing (9 August 2023) – please check with each shop/attraction before you travel.

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