britain bound

next week, mr. smith and i will be flying across the pond, so that i can finally meet his family for the first time. hooray! i haven’t been to England since i left my design job in 1998, when i used to go twice yearly to shop for *inspiration*. most of the time we’ll be hanging with the fam and visiting the local haunts where smithy grew up, but we plan to take some day trips into London and hopefully, Brighton (and yes, i do already know about this). so i’m wondering, dear readers, what are your favorite spots in either city for, you know, the usual: yarn, fabric, tea, cakes…? i sure would love to know! i thank you in advance.

Filed under travel

i am a maker, designer and teacher, living in the catskills/hudson valley region of new york. i sew, crochet, make patterns, spin, embroider, dye, knit and more...


  1. If you can get to Brighton – do it! I’ve never had so much yummy sweets to eat and fun things to see…. I’m so envious!

  2. Daisy and Daisy

    Well, if you can get them, although you’re a bit far south…
    Eccles Cakes from the Lake District. Blackpool Rock, (my birthplace), but I think you can only get it in Blackpool, Typhoo tea, Don’t forget to go to Boots for all the cool face creams and such, eat lots of scones with clotted cream and jam, slathered on in copious amounts, Cadbury flake, Jelly Babies, mint Aero chokkie bars, Turkish Delight, crumpets piled with butter in the holes, so that when you eat them the butter drips down your hand, try to get to a bonfire, because I think it’s close to Guy Fawks Night, so light some sparklers and roast potatoes in the fire. Say hello to England, and tell her I miss her countryside.
    Have TONS of fun, and remember to say things like, “Wicked”, “Bloody thing!”, “Cor Blimy”, “Don’t be so mardy”, “Flippin’ ‘eck”, and
    “E, I, ecky thump, I don’t know”.

  3. I hope you have a great time! I have never been, so no tips. But can’t wait to hear about it when you get back!

  4. ooooh, thanks rebecca! you named many of my faves, but i will make a note of all the things you mentioned that i don’t know. and we WILL be there for Guy Fawkes!

  5. That is wonderful, Cal! Glenn and I went in 2004 for our 20th wedding anniversary, and loved every second! I can’t think of a specific place to recommend right now, but if you haven’t read 84 Charing Cross Road, or watched the movie, it might be fun (and quick) reading to put you in the mood! I have read, and loved, everything Helene Hanff has written… she’s witty, fun, sarcastic, and has such a heart. Have a great trip!

  6. Enjoy your trip…we had the best creamed tea in Doone Valley.
    I too am so envious!

  7. Happy travels and have a blast meeting family!
    Selvedge dot org may have some cool links to help you find the coolest and the most charming spots to drop in on. I’m thrilled for you Cal! t.

  8. London: stop in at Loop yarn shop if you can — it’s in Islington (also relatively close to the Make Lounge if you’re interested in fabric/haberdashery).

    If you’re in Soho, Berwick St. has some good fabric shops to poke around in, like the two branches of the Cloth Shop (not cheap, but beautiful stuff).

    I Knit London on Lower Marsh (near Waterloo) is almost always worth a visit.

    You’ve probably already been, but if not I recommend visiting Liberty’s — expensive, but gorgeous and always worth gawking! All the Fun of the Fair is also close by, very charming yarn/haberdashery shop.

    In Brighton, Ditto Fabrics is great. Don’t know if you’re vegetarian — I’m not but I still highly recommend Food for Friends for a meal….

    For tea & cakes, any branch of Peyton & Byrne in London, I think they have cafes in the National Gallery, British Library, as well as some freestanding shops — yum!!

    If in London on a weekend, the Spitalfields Market/Brick Lane area is full of markets, designers, great food and people-watching (but also can be quite crowded).

    Lastly if you have not already been do visit the V&A! Full of inspiration.

    Can you tell I’m a bit of a craft tourist? Have fun exploring!

  9. Have fun on your trip. My fav has always been the Chocolate Oliver biscuits. They used to sell them at Fortnam and Masons.

  10. I just came across your blog while poking throe purlbee. Saw that you were off to the UK – I hope that this is not too very late, but if you have a car when you go to Brighton, be sure to visit Charleston (Bloomsbury fame) as well as a WONDERFUL tea shop nearby hidden in the countryside nearby: Litlington Tea Gardens Litlington, East Sussex ( Absolutely authentic.

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