22nd May 2023
North Norfolk has an exciting new shopping destination, so Sarah Hardy is straight there to investigate!
Pretty little Glandford, nestling just inland from Blakeney, has always been famous for a very Norfolk thing – a shell museum (www.shellmuseum.org.uk). And yes, it is as quirky as you’d imagine. It was built in 1915 to house the personal collection of the late Sir Alfred Jodrell of nearby Bayfield Hall.
Now a barn complex, just opposite St Martin’s Church, is developing into quite a hot spot, with art galleries, a deli, an auction house and more all set to attract us retail lovers to somewhere new.
Known as Manor Farm Barns, the centre is part of the gorgeous Bayfield Hall Estate, owned by Roger and Caroline Combe.
The flint buildings have been carefully restored to provide attractive accommodation for a range of businesses, with Mr Combe saying: ‘We have developed the site over the last 20 years and last year built two new units. We have three units remaining and I’d love to see a bakery in one of them.’ Plans are in place for a vegetarian cafe so watch this space!
Specialist auction and valuation firm Bishop & Miller (www.bishopandmillerauctions.co.uk) has over 20 years of experience in the art, antique and auction world. Founded by Oliver Miller in 2015, the firm has since grown to a 21-strong team with expertise across a broad range of specialist areas and last year they opened a very spacious saleroom at Glandford. They hold regular fine art and antique sales, plus specialist auctions for jewellery, sculptures and more. Look out for an ornithological one on 31 May. Fridays are drop-in days for free valuations and the staff are very friendly.
Norfolk printmaker and draftsman Guy Allen (pictured) opened Guy Allen Studio and Gallery (www.guyallenstudio.com) here last September. It’s a light and airy space, where you can see Guy at work. His etchings are of particular note, and the gallery is also home to several others including wildlife photographer John Myers.
CleySpy (www.cleyspy.co.uk) boasts an astonishing collection of telescopes and binoculars, with the opportunity to try them out in their own meadow and pond just out the back of the shop. The staff are awash with expert knowledge and there are plenty of additional goodies on offer such as kit bags, gilets, books, maps and more.
If you’re feeling peckish, then head to Under The Sail, Cley Smokehouse (find them on Facebook). A jam-packed deli counter offers you the chance to buy delicious smoked fish and shellfish, their own fish pie, plus great sausage rolls and other local produce such as Black Shuck Gin and Moon Gazer beer. There are several tables inside the deli, plus lots of outside seating, so you can sit awhile and enjoy a coffee and a slice of cake – there are several gluten-free and dairy-free options on offer.
Well known wildlife art gallery BIRDscapes (www.birdscapes.co.uk) is something of an Aladdin’s Cave, showing bird art in all its forms, including paintings, prints and sculptures, from more than 70 artists. It is run by Liz and Steve Harris who organise thoughtful, changing exhibitions.
Little Leaf Studio (www.littleleafstudio.co.uk) is run by conservator Rachael Milligan. Various workshops take place, including oil painting restoration ones. Artist and writer Antonia Clare, pictured, (www.antonia-clare.com), who also runs workshops and one-to-one tutorials, currently shows her bold and colourful works, including still life, seascapes and abstracts.
Meanwhile, Kelling Designs (www.kellingdesigns.co.uk) will be popping up at Manor Farm Barns until the end of August, offering British-made furniture, lighting, accessories, wallpaper and fabric. This leading Norfolk and London-based interiors brand is also collaborating with other independent businesses such as lifestyle brand and florist Crown Cottage Curated, nursery essentials Willa and The Bear, block printed fashion by Hollyblocks, and jewellery maker Iris & I.
Manor Farm Barns offers free parking, and a three-mile circular wildlife walk starts from near CleySpy and takes you through the surrounding countryside. Be sure to walk to the village ford, just past the church and shell museum. It’s a very attractive spot and a perfect place for dogs (like Bella, pictured) to have a dip! If you have time, visit the antique businesses at the Old Stables (www.bayfieldhallantiques.com) at 18th century Bayfield Hall and the wildlife garden, plant nursery and nature reserve at Natural Surroundings (www.naturalsurroundings.info).