Meet the makers: A Christmas gifting guide from the Sawday’s community

Ruth Richardson Profile Image

Ruth Richardson

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

Does the mere thought of Christmas shopping make you want to reach for the mince pies? Well, don’t fret, because we’re about to introduce you to some marvellous makers that we’ve met on our travels across the UK. This skilled bunch of artisans produce edible treats, English wine, gorgeous textiles, unique jewellery, whimsical prints and more. Every item is locally produced and sustainable as-can-be, so you can feel sure that you’re buying ethical presents with a conscience, and supporting small scale businesses. We’ve met every one of these independently-minded folk, and sampled their divine products, to make it easy for you to choose thoughtful, special presents for your loved ones, whether you’re looking for stocking fillers or gifts to go under the tree. Make these places a must-visit on your next Sawday’s holiday, or take a look at their online shops.

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Salcombe Dairy, Devon

Devon’s miles of untamed sandy coves and sky-piercing cliffs become altogether gentler in the scenic South Hams. Here you’ll discover swanky yachting havens, chic, bloom-filled villages  and the award-winning Salcombe Dairy. Lucia Bly, owner of Fledgling Barn and The Nest at Swallows’ Flight, also runs the dairy, a simply divine chocolate and ice-cream business. Family-run, it’s always been on the zeitgeist, championing natural ingredients and ethical business practice from its early days, back in 1979. As well as ice cream made with milk by local cows, they also sell a range of non-dairy ice creams and sorbets. Committed employers, they donate 10% of their annual profits to charity, support local schools and hospitals, use compostable and reusable packaging, and strive to be as ethical as possible. They sell all their products online as well as scrumptious chocolate advent calendars and Christmas hampers. For a little extra Christmas cheer, Salcombe Dairy are offering a 15% discount to Sawday’s guests up until the end of the year. Just add the discount code SAWDAYS15 when making your purchase.  

Visit the Salcombe Dairy shop >

Gemma Trickey, Axbridge

Print maker Gemma Trickey, recently added her self-catering property, 36 and The Roxy, to the Sawday’s collection. At the foot of the Mendip Hills AONB, historic Axbridge is a soulful little place with a Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of the month, a little museum, a history trail and a few small shops. On its medieval high street, Gemma, and her husband, Bash, a furniture maker, run 36 and The Roxy. It has a library upstairs and a cinema in the coaching inn next door. Inside, it’s a riot of colour and style, showcasing the pair’s creativity and flair. The place is filled with prints and wallpaper, designed by Gemma, inspired by the landscape and history surrounding her much-loved Somerset home. You can buy cards, wallpaper and funky prints on her website for the colour-lover in your life. 

Visit Gemma Trickey’s website >


Woodchester Valley Vineyard, The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are a timeless rural idyll: thatched cottages and honey-hued villages gracefully dot the region, while gently rolling landscapes and the 102-mile Cotswold Way waits to be explored. In the south of this huge AONB is a family-owned vineyard with its own winery run by winemaker, Jeremy Mount. Back in 2007, founder and keen viticulturist, Fiona Shiner, grew a few vines, and from these humble origins Woodchester Valley Vineyard produces over 100,000 bottles every year. Using a selection of grape varieties grown using sustainable methods they make still and sparkling wines, both white and rosé. We met Jeremy during our Slow Guide to the Cotswolds trip and loved finding out all about this little-known wine country. We sampled some wines, of course, and can heartily recommend the Pinot Noir. Vouchers for cases, tours, stays (there are elegant rooms onsite) and hampers are available on their website.  

Visit Woodchester Valley Vineyard >

Claudia Bradby

Claudia Bradby’s ethos chimes with ours, and we have been very proud to partner with her this winter. Not only have we launched an exciting competition to win a Sawday’s stay and a jewellery voucher, we’ve also gone behind the scenes to find out what inspires Claudia’s creativity. She’s a small-scale, sustainable jeweller – specialising in pearls, the oldest gemstone – and she designs wearable collections of elegant jewellery. Not only is the business signed up to 1% for The Planet, a commitment to donate 1% of profits to social and environmental causes, they are also huge supporters of the UK honeybee, and by 2023 they aim to only work with recycled silver. As you can see when you read Claudia’s Christmas Gifting Guide, care and attention is lavished on every handmade item, and each individual and unique freshwater pearl is specially selected, so you can buy an item that will be cherished forever.  

Visit Claudia Bradby’s website >

The Noble Bee, New Forest

Tucked in Hampshire’s southwestern corner, The New Forest National Park’s open heaths and ancient woodlands are sprinkled with hardy wild ponies, bats and the occasional nightjar. Family-owned Furzedown Farm, nestled near pretty Beaulieu, is home to an industrious colony of bees who take their summer holidays amongst the fragrant New Forest heather. Free-range bees, looked after as nature intended, gives their honey a delightful wine-like complexity, and The Noble Bee has won several Great Taste awards. On a trip to the New Forest to research our Slow Guide, we met owner Simon Noble, who has big plans to transform the farm into a host of separate enterprises, from education spaces and workshops to glamping sites and beekeeping. Check out their handy online shop for honey, of course, and other delightful gifts: candles, beeswax wraps, beauty products and hampers.  

Visit The Noble Bee’s online shop >

The Welsh Girl, Hay-on-Wye

A few miles west of the English border, Hay-on-Wye has a quirky, off-beat vibe. Circled by glorious countryside, the breathtakingly beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park awaits, come to walk its vast moorlands, waterfall-splashed valleys and high mountain plateaus. The town is a magnet for book-lovers but it also hosts a plethora of independent shops and businesses and one of our favourites is The Welsh Girl. Returning to her homeland after a career in fashion production in London, Julie Leonard, pursued her passion to work in textiles. Using pure, soft new wool she makes classical Welsh tapestries, woven on traditional looms, in one of the few remaining mills in West Wales. We were dazzled by Julie’s textiles when we met her during our Slow Guide visit to Herefordshire (yes, we did sneak over the border a couple of times!). Browse her beautiful products: cushions, ponchos, tote bags, gift cards if you can’t decide. Everything comes beautifully packaged and every item is unique.  

Visit The Welsh Girl shop >

Chalet at Home, Peak District

Right in the beating heart of England is the Peak District, its hills and dales, wild moors and lakes, are enchantingly beautiful, and hidden in the Peak District National Park is a charming self-catering cottage, Little Bank. Fringed by nature, it has views over the wooded hillside, just calling out to be walked. Inside, interiors are restful and colourful; Swedish cushions, Scandi-style crockery and bright throws make the little place sing. Owner Lou Renfree runs her beautiful by-appointment Chalet at Home shop from the other end of the building and you’ll see many examples of her lovely homeware in the cottage. Taking inspiration from alpine mountains with a Scandi-chic twist, Lou has curated a collection of divine pieces to transport you to the airy mountains, and embellish your home. The perfect gifts for design and home lovers.  

Visit Chalet at Home shop >

Green Puppy, Bristol

When Raquel adopted Rhia, an extremely nervous corgi-chihuahua, she looked for a remedy that didn’t involve chemicals or planet-busting fixes to soothe her. She found a natural, herbal alternative and watched as Rhia slowly transformed into a happy and contented little soul. Green Puppy – a super online shop stocking high-quality, sustainable dog- and planet-friendly products – was developed by Raquel as she learnt more about eco pet care. Pamper your pooch this Christmas with canine coat balm from the natural grooming range, toys and games, pet-friendly vegan candles and baking goodies. Every eco-conscious item is sustainable, planet-friendly and pet-safe. When Raquel’s not flying the flag for healthy dog-friendly products, she’s busy helping other dog-lovers find their perfect holiday at our sister company, Paws & Stay.

Visit the Green Puppy online shop >

The Valley Smokehouse, Somerset

In green and pleasant Somerset, or the land of cheese and cider as we like to call it, not far from the Cheddar reservoir you’ll find The Valley Smokehouse, run by Jonathan Newberry. He opened his smokery at Chapel Allerton over thirty years ago and now supplies top chefs, including Raymond Blanc, as well as selling his fine produce to ordinary folk. Using traditional smoking methods he works with Scottish salmon and even local trout from nearby Blagdon Lake. We met chef Jonathan on our Slow Guide to Somerset trip and were lucky enough to sample his smoked fish, charcuterie and cheeses. If you’re putting together a Christmas hamper for the foodie in your life, you can find delicious smoked products in Jonathan’s thriving farm shop. 

Visit The Valley Smokehouse farm shop >

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Ruth Richardson

Sawday's Expert

Ruth loves a good story. Following a decade living in London and working in publishing, her ears are always pricked for a spicy plot twist or unforgettable character. She delights in meeting hosts and discovering the history that brought saffron to her spaghetti, the hiking detours that will lead to temple ruins, and why someone cares so passionately about their special corner of the world. She loves that as a marketer for Sawday’s she can share these stories with others too.
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