nestled amongst the cliffs
‘We’re Just Known As The Christmas Shop’
‘I actually didn’t realise it was a Christmas shop!’, confesses former Head of Visual Merchandising turned shop owner Katherine as she showed me around this gem of a store nestled at the base of the imposing cliffs of Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.
Katherine and her husband took the helm at Old Rowlands in September 2018 when the previous owners relocated to the Lake District (to spread more festive spirit as it happens – see more here!).
Having thought they were purchasing a more generalist gift shop, it didn’t take long for their customers to bring the couple up to speed on the festive expectations!
And so Katherine decided there was nothing for it but to go ‘all in’ on Christmas!
Her passion and wealth of shop display experience is evident throughout.
Whilst the store is cosy in size, it is light, bright and filled to the brim with a whole range of Christmas temptations, from a plentiful supply of ornaments for every taste to tableware, pet presents, festive fragrances and much more besides.
‘we’ve even got a Grinch bench’
Why Old Rowlands?
Named after turn-of-the-20th-century Cheddar mill owner Rowland Pavey, it’s hard to believe the shop resides on the site of a former hotel. Substantial reductions to the building due to road restructuring in the mid-20th Century resulted in the shop’s current size.
And Old Rowlands has been a Christmas shop for at least twenty years now with Father Christmas outside a well-known feature on the main thoroughfare through town.
More recently, Katherine has added the aptly named Grinch Bench where you can leave the baa-humbugs and browse in peace!
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Let’s sprinkle Christmas cheer far and wide!
Katherine obviously enjoys spotting emerging themes and ensuring her customers are well looked after –there were gonks, gingerbread & felt mice aplenty when I visited and LED decorations due in for the autumn.
And an exclusive range of beautifully ornate clear baubles painted and decorated by hand includes the new bespoke Cheddar decoration, complete with mouse enjoying its own piece of local cheese!
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exciting news coming up
The UK’s First Rentable Christmas Cottage!
And that’s not all … at the time of writing, the upstairs apartment was being converted into the UK’s very first rentable year-round Christmas Cottage.
Fully decked out for the festive season whatever the month, this 3-bed cosy cottage perched above the shop is sure to be an instant hit.
With fairy lights, garlands and Christmas bedding planned throughout not to mention the decorated Christmas tree and log burner, it sounds like a piece of the North Pole will be landing in Somerset very shortly!
So what does Katherine make of being a year-round Christmas shop owner?
‘I’d always wanted my own shop but never thought it would actually happen … [Knowing that] you’ve made someone’s day just by being here. I absolutely love that.’
PERFECT FOR: Festive browsing of beautifully presented displays nestled in stunning surroundings.
FIND IT HERE: The Cliffs, Cheddar BS27 3QE
DATE OF VISIT: 5 June 2021
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