When approaching Christmas shopping we often automatically go online or head to the West End, Brent Cross or St Albans. However, don’t forget the decent range of shops and services we have here on our doorstep – particularly as weekend parking is free in the run up to Christmas (although always check local signs and you still have to pay in The Spires car park).
We are now spoilt for gift shops with Room 89 in Union Street stocking many handcrafted, unique or imaginatively sourced items. The Present near Hadley Green has a huge range of gift items for the whole family and their own range of luxurious scented candles. Barnet Gallery has a massive selection of art materials perfect for creative friends and children. Floral and Hardy in Greenhill Parade offers beautiful gifts, homeware and handmade cards as well floristry services and the Ferny Hill Farmshop also stocks some attractive items. For retro gifts and quirky objets have a browse around Barnet Antique and Vintage Centre in St Albans Road. Or what about Everyman Barnet membership to make the most of our new cinema?
Food and drink
Whether for presents or entertaining we have plenty of options without having to deal with hellish supermarket queues. In addition to Waitrose and small branches of Sainsbury’s and Tesco and, of course, the market, Barnet boasts independent food shops Victoria Bakery (cakes, puddings and generously filled mince pies) and Butcher’s Hook (comprehensive Christmas meat hampers for £69) as well as Carluccio’s and Bel Gelato in The Spires for tempting Italian festive goodies. Further up the High Street near Hadley Green Fashion and Wine stocks some smart bottles ideal for the festive period, and opposite Barnet Church Hopscotch retro sweet shop is brimming with tempting treats including some exquisite glacé fruits. Also check out their baking section for festive cake decorations. The Old Courthouse Café has some foodie gifts and are baking large cakes to order.
Down the hill near the cinema is Moore and Sons in Greenhill Parade for game and top class free-range meat. A few doors along Green Hill greengrocers has a beautiful range of fresh produce, dates, nuts, plants, wreaths and Christmas trees. In New Barnet Delage is stocking some wonderful French treats for Christmas and has been taking orders for imported specialities.
Clothes, shoes and beauty
Fashion and Wine specialises in elegant white shirts and accessories including scarves and jewellery (and wine – see above). A few doors along is recently opened boutique Odette Beauty featuring start up beauty brands and organic products and offering a Christmas wish list service (genius!). Vouchers for local beauty salons Orchid Retreat, HC Med Spa, Voguish and the Spa at Barnet and Southgate College would make welcome gifts. In the High Street there are also Boots and Superdrug and in The Spires Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Roman Originals and Burton.
Wanders Shoes stocks fine leather accessories and slippers as well as a comprehensive range of footwear, and Cover just down the hill from The Mitre has great value walking boots, toasty hats and gloves and other equipment for outdoor pursuits, particularly good paired with gift vouchers for The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.
Toys, books and household
Toy Galaxy in the High Street and Waterstone’s in The Spires have conveniently helped me cross board games and books off my daughter’s wish list without having to resort to Amazon. Toy Galaxy is also good for Hama Beads no longer stocked by John Lewis. Robert Dyas is handy for Christmas lights and Kilner jars, bottles and other packaging for home made foodie gifts as well as useful household items.
Vinyl specialist Ken Rowland of Slims Records has just taken up residency at Mirrormad in St Albans Road (for new releases and re-releases – not second-hand records), and don’t forget The Sound Garden for instruments (guitars especially), equipment and tuition.
Finally, if you fancy going a little further afield – the Stable Yard at Hatfield House has a great little range of shops, as does Battlers Green in Radlett, but you’ll still be avoiding the crowds and in many cases supporting small businesses.