Updated November 2020 for lockdown 2.0
Just because the city is in lockdown, doesn’t mean you can’t still brighten your day, wardrobe and household by shopping with some of the finest independent makers and retailers in Norwich and the surrounding areas.
Norwich is home to all manner of crafty creative types and one-of-a-kind boutiques, which you can usually find by perusing the Lanes and popping your head in to events like the Fierce Babes markets. But with the high street closed up for the foreseeable, it’s time to take it online.
If you’re in need of a pandemic pick-me-up, here are a handful of brilliant places to shop, which I’ve split into categories for ease of navigation. All these shops and makers are offering delivery at the time of writing!
Not just for skateboarders (though, you know, you could say it’s a focus) Drug Store stock tonnes of great shoes and clothing on top of their hardware range.
Prepare to emerge from isolation in a Twin Peaks long sleeve and a fresh pair of Vans, or whatever else from the range floats your boat. Hoodies, long-sleeves, overalls, hats and jeans… there’s plenty to browse here if you want to upgrade your outfits before it’s time to return to normality.
It’s not every day you have a beautiful handmade lingerie set arrive in the post with a return address that’s in Lowestoft, but ELB Handmade is a true Norfolk (and now Cambridgeshire) gem. Selling bodysuits, swimwear, bralets and bra & knicker sets, every item is handmade from scratch, so be patient while items are cut, sewn and packaged up for sending.
You might assume that these pieces would be expensive, but with sets ranging between £14 – £24 at the time of writing, you’d be wrong. Better yet, because each item is custom made, you don’t need to pick a standard size off the peg and hope it fits – you can note your bra and knicker measurements when you order, to make sure your chosen pieces are perfect.
Whether you’re using your time indoors to arrange a wardrobe overhaul, or just want some nice grooming products, accessories and homewares, Working Title menswear might have something for you.
Specialising in upmarket casual, with a shop full of on-trend workwear clothing and hard-to-come-by lifestyle goods, Working Title is a fantastic independent boutique with a well-stocked online store. Come here for brands like Autry, Edmmond Studios, Kings of Indigo, and wonderful gender neutral fragrances from Alvarez Gomez. If you’re a fan of buying once and buying well, make sure you take a look.
Elements has previously been voted one of the UK’s best menswear stores by FHM, and their styling has featured in GQ, Vice and Maxim among others: so it’s fair to say they know what’s what when it comes to men’s fashion.
Their online store includes a great range of clothing and accessories, as well as gift vouchers, with brands including Farah, Fila, Herschel, Lyle & Scott, Ben Sherman and many more. Delivery is free on all UK orders, and if you’re in Norwich you can also opt for click and collect between 12pm and 1pm on weekdays.
Whispers Boutique sell womenswear, homewares and great gift ideas, and though you can’t order direct from their website you are now able to place orders via the Whispers Boutique Facebook page.
From cosy knitwear and scarves to lip balms, bath salts and face masks, keep an eye out for daily updates on the latest stock. Staff are highly responsive to Facebook comments and messages, and are happy to organise deliveries in the Norwich area.
Best known for their vast range of body jewellery and equally impressive selection of fancy dress accessories, Beaujangles have been in Norwich since before I was born. On top of their much-loved alternative jewellery range, they also stock plenty of affordable everyday earrings and necklaces that are perfectly priced for a little ‘treat yourself’ moment that won’t leave you feeling buyer’s remorse.
If you like your jewellery a little more sleek and upmarket, but still don’t want to break the bank shopping for it, Studio Adorn should appeal. A wide range of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other items are available to buy online, all boasting a simple elegance that should help you feel instantly more put-together.
Nova Silver products may now be stocked all over the country, but they’re a Norwich business based in the heart of the Lanes. Designing and making sterling silver jewellery in a range of styles, you can use their website to order necklaces, rings and earrings, cufflinks, chains and chokers, and there’s a gift box wrapping service too!
Gifts and homewares
Elm appeared out of nowhere in 2017, and seemed to almost instantly establish themselves as an unmissable part of the much-loved Norwich Lanes. Trading ‘thoughtful, design-led’ homewares and gifts, there are beautiful handcrafted items here that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Oh yeah, and they also have an inimitable range of glorious houseplants in all shapes and sizes.
While the physical shop is currently closed, you can buy a Mystery Plant Box from Elm for just £10 – with free shipping. Or if you’re feeling a little more luxurious, pick from bigger and bolder options ranging up to £200.
Having seriously raised the bar on what Norwich pubs can offer in the way of collection or delivery orders, The Garnet pub now have a whole online store set up and ready for your perusal – and there are tonnes of great bits and pieces to choose from.
Food and wine gift boxes, lush enamel homewares, soaps, lip balms and sweet and savoury treats of all shapes and sizes are yours for the taking. With both local and national delivery available, you can order gifts to be delivered straight to recipient, as well as ordering whatever you fancy for delivery to your own front door.
As well as the fact that Amaretto now offer takeaway food deliveries, you can make someone’s day with an Amaretto gift hamper by adding the ‘bespoke gift hamper’ option to your digital basket while you shop.
Just pick whatever you want to include from the range of deli groceries and Italian sundries in their online store, and for a mere £3.50 they’ll package it into a beautiful gift hamper. Bargain!
Wild by Ali Cottrell
From pins and patches to posters and prints, there are all manner of beautifully illustrated homewares to be found in Ali Cottrell’s Etsy store. David Attenborough cut-out mask so that you can be your hero, anyone? Trio of hand-illustrated Jurassic Park prints? What more do you need in these trying times?!
Alongside all of the above, teatowels, cards and notepads, you can also buy gift vouchers from the shop to be used when the world goes back to normal again. I’ve got a great ‘leaf me alone’ botanical sweatshirt from this maker (eco-friendly dyes on organic fabric, anyone?) and there are plenty of other treats to be seen at No.31 St Augustine’s once the lockdown ends.
Cross-Stitch Your Soul
The range in the online store varies throughout the year, but Danni – the maker – takes custom orders for pretty much anything you can think of. If you’re in the mood for a cute and kitsch cross-stitch to decorate your home, or you want to send one to someone else as a gift, look no further than Cross Stitch Your Soul.
From sweary subversive cross-stitch to old school Vine references, with plenty of cute everyday greetings thrown in, check out @cross_stitch_your_soul on Instagram to see more examples of these simple but effective household adornments.
Toys and Games
Tickety-Boo offer tonnes of awesome toys, games, gifts and puzzles for kids, with a well-stocked online shop and cheap delivery at £1 when you spend £10 or more, or free if you spend over £40.
You can shop by age or product type, with options available from ‘pocket money’ stocking fillers and treats, to top-of-the-range science sets and arts and crafts. Brands include Jellycat, Djeco, Clockwork Soldier and Indigo Jamm, to name but a few.
You can’t talk about toys in Norwich and not mention Langley’s, can you? Langley’s are the original, a mainstay of the Fine City since 1883, and while their three branches may not be able to open during lockdown, you can shop with ease online.
Toys, games and models for all ages can be found within, so it’s a great place to look whether you’re shopping for little kids or big ones – at the time of writing the online shop is waiting to be updated with new stock, but in the meantime you can browse their range on Facebook, and give the store a call to place your order for collection.
Dolls, collectibles, games, puzzles, science bits, craft bits, outdoor toys, action figures – yep, you name it, they’ve probably got it!
Kerrison Toys is another Norwich favourite that you might have missed if you stick to the city centre when you’re shopping. The good news is they’ve got an extensive online shop and plenty of delivery options, so if you haven’t shopped here before, it’s stupidly easy to do it from the comfort of home during lockdown.
Flicka is a boujie baby and toddler shop that recently opened in the Norwich Lanes, stocking all sorts of Very Nice Baby Things from clothes and textiles to wooden toys, plushies and weaning accessories.
Think organic swaddling, scandi interior decorating and anything else new parents might need to Make Parenting Trendy Again. Delivery is £1 on all online orders, which is a pretty flippin’ good deal, really.
DIY and household essentials
Need lightbulbs? Batteries? Tools? Maybe you want to use your time indoors to do some redecorating? To a Norwich local it might feel strange to shop online with Thorns, as experiencing the labyrinth of the shop itself is part of the experience. But this is a shop that’s more than deserving of our support during this weird time, and you can buy all kinds of DIY items and home essentials for home delivery!
While some items aren’t available online, there’s plenty that is, spanning their gardening range, kitchen range, electricals, cleaning and more.
The Book Hive
Free postage and packaging while the store is closed, hand-picked self-isolation reading packs, and even book tabs: The Book Hive are determined to keep us all reading while we’re stuck inside, and collectively, we should all be determined to keep them, and other independent Norwich shops, open after the dust settles.
There’s a £10 lucky dip at the moment, as well as book packs for both adults and children to enjoy. Grab a mug, grab a membership, treat yourself! Ali Cottrell, who I mentioned earlier in this post, sells some great illustrations of The Book Hive – because it’s such a great place that it deserves to be celebrated.
Bookbugs & Dragon Tales
As well as plenty of books for all ages to choose from, Bookbugs & Dragon Tales even have a virtual tour on their website, so you can potter around the bookshop online while real-world visits are off the cards.
Whether you’re looking for cookbooks, graphic novels, classic fiction or indie tomes, you’ll find it in the online store. As well as offering local pickup, there are delivery options starting from just £1 for second-class post.
A little bit of everything
I sometimes forget that people elsewhere in the country don’t have their own Jarrold’s department stores, but this is another true Norwich institution and spans every category listed here so far – and more.
With a vast range of menswear, womenswear, homewares, toys, books, stationery and even food and drink from the deli available to order online, you’ll be spoiled for choice whether you’re shopping for yourself or pretty much anybody else. As well as speedy delivery, you can also opt for free click and collect on your purchases.
Please do tell me if there’s anyone I’ve missed who you think should be included – the only requirement is that they’re a Norwich business, who you can currently order from online!