This guide to great local shops to peruse for Christmas presents in Highams Park was written by a mum who lives in the area.
By Kerry Law
Avoid the mania of Oxford Street and support your local shops! These independent gems make Highams Park, east London, a great Christmas shopping destination…
Grace & Albert
This shop is a treasure trove of gorgeous gifts. They specialise in kitchenware and cooking gadgets (so perfect for the foodie or cook in your life), but their range expands into interiors gifts, jewellery, eco-friendly gifts, children’s toys and accessories, beauty buys, artisan food and books.
With a little one in tow, I had to avoid buying a few presents for the children this time, but there are some lovely gifts for children’s bedrooms (dinosaur fairy lights and lamps), Melissa & Doug games and puzzles, soft toys and cool and colourful lunchbox accessories. A recent ‘quick browse’ resulted in me leaving with an organic body spray, some Winterspice chocolate and a pack of ‘Highams Park Blend’ coffee beans. The owner is always happy to recommend something if you’re stuck for choice.
Find it: 406 Hale End Road, Highams Park, London E4 9PB
Ziggy Played Guitar
This kid-friendly coffee shop/gift shop has more than a touch of rock and roll about it. Browse for Bowie prints, funky jewellery, clothing, homewares, toys, beauty accessories, and a wide range of cards. Lots of handmade and local gifts are on sale, with the Bowiesque lightning bolt featuring on handprinted sweatshirts and make-up bags (something I’m hinting for).
If you need to rest weary shoppers’ feet, it’s a great place to stop and linger over a flat white and homemade cake. And if you visit on the right day, you may catch one of their evening openings with prosecco/beer on special offer.
Find it: 3 Signal Walk (near Tesco), Highams Park, London E4 9BW
Pantry & Co
Catch this eco store before it moves to a (yet to be announced) new location. Predominantly a refill grocery shop (you can stock up on household items, dried goods, liquids without the unnecessary plastic packaging), they also stock artisan foods from the UK and the Continent – jars of fancy condiments and olives, and biscuit boxes always make great presents for food-lovers. There is also a small selection of eco-friendly gifts including Skandinavisk candles, handmade terrazzo planters and ceramic vases.
Find it: 7 Winchester Road, Highams Park, London E4 9LH
Read our full profile of Pantry & Co
V And A Books & Gifts
No Christmas shop is complete without buying a few books. V & A Books & Gifts can’t rival Waterstones for range, but they stock a decent amount of best-selling and current fiction and factual titles, plus an excellent selection of children’s books. A couple of shelves of local interest books offer something a little different, and their bargain shelf is always worth a browse. Alongside books, they sell a decent selection of toys and games, plus lots of lower-priced items that would make great stocking fillers for the kids.
Find it: 2 Bank Buildings, The Avenue, Highams Park, London E4 9LE
Stock up on gifts for hosts (and for yourself) over the festive season with a trip to wine shop Vinoramica. Owner Matt will be happy to talk you through the shelves and select something special, unusual or a classic favourite. There is also a fine corner of craft beers to tempt you. Regular tasting evenings are available, and you can always pull up a bar stool and treat yourself to a well-earned glass of something after a hard day’s shopping.
Find it: 9B The Broadway, Highams Park, London E4 9LQ