It's the return of LeftLion's annual gift guide, in collaboration with Independent Nottingham, brought to you by Nottingham BID. Read on to find 24 of the best independent Notts spots to get your thoughtful, locally sourced gifts this Christmas...
Packed with unique and eclectic gifts, Inspired is a gift shop cosied away in Flying Horse Walk. Opened by local artist Jill Perry, the store sells a range of artwork and gifts, including prints, cards, jewellery, textiles and ceramics.
5 Flying Horse Walk, NG7 1DG
Gift Idea: Small Felted Mouse - £25
You can’t get cuter than a mouse dressed like a person. We want one reading LeftLion.
Five Leaves Bookshop
With roots as an independent publishing business, Five Leaves is now Nottingham’s most radical bookstore. Adding to the city’s reputation as a rebel city, the bookshop stocks a variety of countercultural books, alongside poetry, fiction and politics.
14A Long Row, NG1 2DH
Gift idea: Follow the Moon and Stars: A Literary Journey Through Nottinghamshire - £14.99 paperback, £25 hardback
A biography of Nottingham’s literary influence. Find out how our county inspired a multitude of authors.
Debbie Bryan is a tea room, creative space and shop in Nottingham’s Lace Market. Most well known for their crafternoons, the studio is a great place to make art as well as buy it. The perfect spot for a shared experience gift.
18 St. Mary's Gate, Lace Market, Nottingham, NG1 1PF
Gift idea: Festive Wreath Making - £40
Give an early gift of a festive wreath making class. Up to four guests can work together on this crafternoon.
Behind The Red Door
Tucked away in the historic Lace Market, Behind the Red Door sells contemporary gifts ranging from accessories to stationery. With greeting cards and gift wrap designed in house, a trip here can meet all your wrapping needs.
Mica from Behind the Red Door
It was our ninth birthday this November, so we’re nine years in the making. The Art File has been going for over twenty years now though, they’re the greeting cards company that bought this building. They decided to use the downstairs space to showcase their cards, and the shop led on from there, growing over time to include gifts.
I’ve been here for six years now. Before this, I worked in a small shop in Bingham. I used to work with the sister of the owner here, so I found out about this store through word of mouth. I’d never visited Behind The Red Door before, but as soon as I came in I knew it was for me. I like working in an independent store because it feels so much more personal than mainstream retail. My favourite part is doing all the displays, and chatting to customers. I love seeing people’s reactions when they first come into the shop. Lots of people say it’s like Aladdin’s Cave.
I never thought retail would be for me, but I love working here. We’re lucky to be in this part of town because it has a nice vibe to it. Obviously, a lot of independents are in Hockley, but it’s worth making the trip down to the Lace Market. This area is great, and it has a lot of history. This street, this alleyway, this building, all so full of history.
Coming up to Christmas, the shop is full. We have all our Christmas cards, gifts, trees, and decorations, all ready to go to their new homes. I like this time of year because people tend to be in a good mood when they’re shopping for presents. I do my Christmas shopping here too. Even as we’re buying stock, I’m eyeing things up.
Union Chambers,11 Weekday Cross, NG1 2GB
Gift idea: Miss Sparrow Scarf - £20
A warm and cosy Miss Sparrow scarf. Perfect for that mandatory boxing day walk.
Tucked away in Cobden Chambers, Keishi Jewellery is a jewellery store in the heart of the creative quarter. Walking the line between classic designs and trending styles, Keisha is both timeless and innovative.
4a Cobden Chambers, Pelham Street, NG1 2ED
Gift idea: Fiona Harris Silver Circular Studs - £35
Simple enough for regular wear. Interesting enough to make you feel good. These circular studs find the perfect balance.
Gray and Bull Opticians
Established in 1806, Gray and Bull are Nottingham’s oldest opticians. Selling high end specs, niche eyewear, and a range of sunglasses, Gray and Bull offer a great luxury range this Christmas.
5 Pelham Street, NG1 2EH
Gift idea: Traditional Brass Magnifying Glass - £24
Traditional and sturdy, a magnifying glass is a gift that will last a lifetime.
Specialising in platinum and fine diamonds, Carolyn Codd is a bespoke jeweller in Trinity Square. The shop has a large selection of silver jewellery too, including earrings, necklaces, lockets, bracelets, and rings.
15 Trinity Square, NG1 4AF
Gift idea: Sterling Silver Mother and Child Star Necklace - £45
Dainty and sentimental, this heartfelt gift could easily become an everyday piece.
Known for their personalised customer service, k.fines pride themselves on their regular shopping evenings, providing a space for customers to try on jewels and drink fizz. Stocking established and independent brands, the shop has lots to choose from this Christmas.
Katie from K.Fines
I love jewellery, I love how it makes you feel, how it elevates an outfit and how those finishing touches can separate you from the crowd by giving you your own identity.
After years of working in high end fashion I found my calling in jewels. I managed a jewellery store for a number of years, being involved from seeded design through to creating the final piece. After they ceased to trade I created Keishi which then branched out to k.fines in 2018. The initiation of my store was funded with some inheritance left to me when my mum passed. Although I couldn’t have done it by myself, I’m incredibly lucky to be blessed with such an amazing team of talented individuals.
Everyday is so different here. I adore catching up with my incredible team first thing and talking through any special requests from customers. Bespoke appointments get me every time though, creating that special one-off piece for someone is the ultimate. That and wedding jewellery, people that are getting married are genuinely so happy and that’s infectious. Finding that perfect piece for a client is the best feeling. That and hand selecting our collections every season, the buying side of the business is incredibly rewarding.
I love all our jewellery but my current favourite is our bespoke signet ring collection. We’re seeing family members personalising pieces with family crests, initials, cute drawings by their little ones and set with birthstones. I love that these pieces will eventually become family heirlooms, that’s special.
I’m looking forward to Christmas. Christmas is where it happens for us. There’s a constant buzz in store with clients searching for the perfect gift. We look forward to our annual champagne and shopping evenings which for us mark the start of the festive period.
21 Pelham Street, NG1 2ED
Gift ideas: Rachel Jackson Deco Crescent Moon Necklace - £50
A gold crescent moon necklace to add warmth to any outfit. Symbolic of a bright future, this is ideal for the new year.
Nottingham’s new vintage shop has us all intrigued. 101 Vintage are a unisex store specialising in American nineties and Y2k fashion. All stock is hand picked and curated, making that perfect vintage piece all the easier to find.
15 Bridlesmith Gate, NG1 2GR
Gift idea: Gift Card - From £10
Give the gift of vintage fashion with a gift card. Perfect for finding a unique piece.
Sourcing clothing from all around the world, Braderie is a vintage shop located on Pelham Street. Stocked with cosy jumpers, an array of fleeces, and high quality vintage jackets, there’s no need to be cold this winter.
19-21 Pelham Street, NG1 2ED
0115 924 2353
Gift idea: Vintage Sweatshirt - Range of prices
Forget trawling through Depop for that perfect vintage sweatshirt. Braderie is one of the best places to go.
Hopkinsons @ Cobden Place
Snug in Cobden Chambers, Hopkinsons’ smaller shop is an ideal spot to buy vintage gifts. Selling antiques, homeware, and clothing, the store is full of gems. Accompanied by a cafe, you can also buy tasty food, drinks, and sweet treats.
Unit 5, Cobden Chambers, Pelham street, NG1 2ED
Gift idea: Gluggle Jug - £20
Over the past few months, this fish shaped jug has taken over the internet. Participate sustainably by buying vintage for this trend.
Stocking vintage European and American clothing, alongside contemporary brands like Dickies and Run & Fly, Wild has become a landmark shop in Nottingham’s vintage scene. Clothes, bags, footwear, vinyl records, hats… Wild has it all.
Shaun from Wild
I took over Wild in August 2020. I’m from Derby originally, and I had a very small vintage clothing shop there. The shop was doing ok but it was in the west end of town where all the students were, rather than the town centre. When they went home it was so quiet because there was no passing trade. I found a shop in Derby city centre but was struggling to negotiate with the landlord. Then I came into Wild one day and started moaning to the previous owner Robin, who I’ve known a long time. He told me that he was retiring soon and asked if I wanted to buy this shop. I made up my mind on the spot.
I was meant to take over in June 2020 but shops were only just starting to reopen after the first lockdown. I was adamant that I still wanted the shop but I didn’t want to open up coming out of a lockdown, so we pushed it back a couple of months. Things were difficult; last December was a disappointing one, but since April this year it’s been absolutely manic.
Vintage clothing is something I've always loved. I really like the stuff we’ve been getting at the minute, sixties leather jackets and seventies suede jackets. I love looking for vintage denim too. Proper old vintage denim doesn’t turn up very often but I've always got my eyes open.
There are lots of reasons why people buy second hand. I started buying it because I was into American fifties and sixties fashion. A lot of it’s down to wanting to dress uniquely, but also the sustainability behind it as well. There used to be a stigma around buying second hand and vintage but that just doesn’t exist anymore. People don’t bat an eyelid.
4-6 Broad Street, NG1 3AL
Gift idea: Official Band T - £19.95
Whether you’re after a classic or current artist, Wild is packed with band merchandise.
Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates
Committed to creating chocolate that is ethically and fairly made, Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates are made with directly sourced cacao. As well as being Nottingham’s only chocolate maker, Luisa’s is also the only UK bean-to-bar vegan chocolate shop. Delicious.
Unit 7, Avenue A, Sneinton Market
Gift idea: Award Winning Sicilian Orange Chocolate Christmas Wreath - £9.60
Solomon Island chocolate meets zesty sicilian orange in this chocolate wreath. Wrapped in a gold gift box.
The Watered Garden
There’s no gift more classically millennial than plants and The Watered Garden has a whole shop to choose from. Specialising in house plants, you can find itsy bitsy cacti, all the way to mammoth leafy greens.
Unit 11, Gedling Street, NG1 1DS
Gift idea: Build Your Own Terrarium Kit - £32
Equipped with a glass jar, soil, gravel, charcoal, moss, and instructions, this is perfect for all your green fingered friends.
For all your vegan food needs, look no further than Dash Vegan. Selling a range of vegan and gluten free products, the shop caters to a variety of dietary preferences, alongside selling eco friendly plastic free homeware items.
108 Derby Road, NG1 5FB
Gift idea: Plastic Free Buildable Playset - £5.95 - £15.95
Treat your little one to a buildable playset, completely free of plastic. Suitable for kids above three.
Empowering people to live a more eco-friendly life, Shop Zero offers plastic free refills and sustainable homeware items. Doing all the research for the customer, Shop Zero is helping Nottingham make earth friendly choices.
Sarah from Shop Zero
I was brought up in Edwinstowe by a mum who was a biologist. I went on to study biology myself up to PhD level and I’ve always had this strong belief that we need to work in harmony with nature.
I worked in sustainability for a number of years, then had kids and came out of it. When the kids were older, I started reading about environmental issues again and picked up the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. I got really inspired by that book and became connected to the fact we’re always being pushed to consume.
I did Plastic Free July and found it really hard. That’s why I started running the pop-ups and selling food in bulk, and it all grew from there. The reception in Nottingham has been amazing. Even when I was just doing my pop-ups in Cobden Chambers, it was crazy the number of people who would come. I started off selling food, then people started asking me about bamboo toothbrushes and sponges so I started linking with local makers. A big part of my ethos is collaborating with others who create sustainably. It sounds like a cliché, but I do feel part of a community.
Over Christmas we all get pushed into this idea of gift giving. I’d recommend asking people if they want a gift, or shopping in charity shops, or treating someone to an experience. If you do want to buy something, maybe buy something practical or eco-friendly. People are coming in at the moment buying things like lunch boxes and reusable cups. You can buy things to help people make a change. We can all make a difference in our own lives, we all have power, and how we consume is how we exert that power.
42a Friar Lane, NG1 6DQ
Gift idea: Unwind and Pamper Zero Waste Gift Treat - £45
Supporting local Notts makers, this pamper kit includes a whole range of zero waste products for a relaxing night at home.
Selling natural wine, craft beer, and fine cider, Brew Cavern is the shop for all you alcohol connoisseurs. Found in Flying Horse Walk, the store stocks a wide range of gift packs and a style of beer for every occasion.
9 Flying Horse Walk, NG1 2HN
Gift idea: Brew Cavern Gift Box - £12-20 depending on the beer
A three pack of mixed beers. A good gift to crack open on Christmas day.
Specialising in artisan roasted coffee, Stewarts sell blends, single origins, and monthly specials for the coffee lovers of Nottingham. You can pop in to buy a fresh bag, or to recharge your shopping batteries with a hot cup of coffee.
Unit 31, Avenue C, Sneinton Market, NG1 1DW
Gift idea: Chocolate Gift Box - £12
This dark chocolate Colombian coffee comes hand in hand with a Luisa’s chocolate bar. Two great products from ethically sourced brands.
Thea Kitchen, Bar and Garden
Known for their quintessentially British afternoon teas and light lunches, Thea Caffea is Nottingham’s vintage tea room. Squirreled away in Enfield chambers, they’ve been described as Nottingham’s best kept secret.
14A Low Pavement, NG1 7DL
0115 941 2110
Gift idea: Vintage Afternoon Tea - £19.95
You can give the gift of sandwiches, scones, tea, and cake with an afternoon tea voucher. Veggie, vegan and gluten free options are available.
We can’t forget Nottingham’s most iconic doughnut shop. Ranging from your simple glazed doughnut to Death by Chocolate, there’s something for everyone. All doughnuts are handmade from start to finish, ensuring great quality every time.
Wade from Doughnotts
I probably start each day at half three or four in the morning and do admin stuff, or I’ll head down to the bakery and crack on baking. We’re producing about 20,000 doughnuts a week at the minute which are all handmade and hand cut. So, it’s all systems go.
Doughnotts started about seven and a half years ago. It was me and Megan Scaddan in Megan’s mum's kitchen, and we started it on a tenner. Megan and I were both on about £100 a week at the time and we had nothing to lose, so we just ran at it. The first doughnut that we made was just a glazed doughnut and I sold it to my mate Rupert. I sold him twelve for £12 and drove them about thirty minutes to his house.
We have so many flavours now. Things like Weekend Billionaire, Cookie Monster, Red Velvet and Death by Chocolate were the very first ones we made, but I love them all. I’ve had doughnuts from all around the world. There’s a company in New York called Dough that has really dry doughnuts where you have to have a cup of coffee with it, but I like that because that’s their thing. Whereas, if you go somewhere like Doughnut Plant, their doughnuts are like chewing gum because they’re so stretchy, but I love that too. I think we make a very good middle ground.
We’re expanding crazy fast; we’re looking at a new Nottingham site, and have one potentially opening in Sherwood and one opening in the Ikea retail park. We want to let Nottingham know that we’re investing back into the city. We want to pump money into the local economy, and to employ more people, which is better for everyone.
14 King Street, NG1 2AS
0115 934 6562
Gift idea: Gift Voucher - £6 or £12
Simple, efficient and delicious. There’s no better gift than handmade Nottingham doughnuts.
For your most sentimental loved ones, Splatt sells a range of personalised giftware and clothing. Providing photo printing onto canvas, mugs, t-shirts, hoodies and more, you can give the gift of a memory this year.
24 Heathcoat Street, Hockley, NG1 3AA
Gift idea: Christmas Mug - £7
A limited edition Nottingham Christmas mug that can be personalised on the same day of purchase.
Coles Sewing Centre
Specialising in all things sewing, Coles Sewing Centre has sewing machines, fabrics, scissors, dress forms, patterns, quilting supplies and more. Ideal for that friend who loves upcycling clothes, or making designs of their own.
90 Lower Parliament St, Nottingham, NG1 1EH
Gift idea: Gutermann 8 Thread Set - £13.90
Sometimes the best gifts are the simplest. A set of eight threads in a vintage inspired box.
The Bead Shop
If you fancy creating a handmade gift this year, or buying for your more crafty friends, head over to the Bead Shop for beads and craft supplies. You can also make your own jewellery in the cafe or take part in one of their workshops.
7 Market Street, NG1 6HY
Gift idea: Gemstone Jewellery Making Kit - £25
Semi-precious gemstones, silver plated findings, and plated wire. A perfect jewellery making pack for beginners.
Megan Crook Textiles
Megan Crook Textiles is a rainbow clothing emporium, based in Sneinton Market. The shop sells ready-made clothing, bespoke pieces, and holds creative fashion workshops for anyone craving a bit more colour in their life.
Colour, for me, is life. It represents pure vitality. It’s so important to surround yourself with colour, whether that’s in your home or on your person. It’s so uplifting.
I’ve been here for two years, but prior to that I worked from home for maybe fifteen years. I don’t think I’ve ever been as content with my life and my work as I am now. It’s great to have that sense of community here in Sneinton Market, there are lots of independent businesses that all support each other. For me it ticks so many boxes, I love that it’s public facing but it’s also a working studio. You can choose your fabric and have a bespoke garment, or shop from products on the shop floor. That’s really special and unique.
My favourite days are when I'm doing sampling, or when I'm drafting patterns for new designs, and we’re making them, trying them on and twizzling around the studio. A lot of my inspiration comes from sourcing materials, I probably should have been a buyer or a personal shopper or something like that, I’ve just got the eye for finding things that are unique and different. When I source material I’ll feel the weight of it, I’ll look at the pattern, and I'll visualise what I feel that particular fabric is best suited for.
Like I said, this space is definitely one of the things I’m most proud of. I also run another business called Get Crooked which is my festival love child, and seeing my work at Glastonbury was so amazing. I used to do a lot of trade shows, so seeing my designs in places like New York and Moscow was really exciting. But also, it’s great just getting emails from people who received their order and are delighted.
Unit 15 Sneinton Market
Gift idea:Velvet Cowl - £35
A jewel toned cowl to brighten up a gloomy December. This feels luxurious and practical.
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