The Broads Gift Guide

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Nothing says ‘I didn’t really try that hard’ like a box of mass produced chocolates and a pair of novelty socks… so don’t be that person this Christmas… get inspired by the wealth of talent right on your doorstep! All of these crafters and more can be found working like Christmas elves in the Broads National Park. Just follow our easy guide to discover a fraction of the amazing personal gifts which you could purchase for any one of these friends:

For the arty one:

Art: Vanessa Lubach (colourful lino prints with an eye for detail), Jan Dingle (a mixture of Broads- inspired lino prints and paintings), Kate Gabriel (animal portraiture and local scenes as well as some fun potato prints), Dee Nickerson (evocative seasonal scenes with human life at the centre), Tricia Newell (Suffolk-based artist specialising in printmaking)

Jewellery: Ann Lamb (nature-inspired jewellery using a variety of techniques including enamelling and Keum Boo), Hazel Davidson (weaves silver to create a chainmail-effect, which lends itself to bangles), Catherine Downes (contemporary silver pieces often featuring leaves)

Ceramics: Michelle Daniels (a mixture of hand-thrown stoneware and raku styles), Kate Vogler (smoke-fired organic-shaped pottery), Kim Turner (pod-like pots which are often burnished and smoke-fired)

Riverside © Gerry Balding
Riverside © Gerry Balding (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For the gourmet:

Food: St. Jude Cheese (locally produced in Suffolk from a herd of French Montbéliarde cows), The Norfolk Truffle Company (handmade local truffles), Lillypuds (homemade healthier Christmas pudding, with gluten-free option), Pudd’Eng (create traditional English puddings, using the finest ingredients and all of which are vegetarian), Yare Valley Oils (leads the way in forward-thinking farming by boycotting neonicotinoids and creating some of the most luxurious oils in the country)

Drink: Winbirri Wines (winners of the 2017 Platinum Decanter Award ‘best in show’), Bullards Gin of Norwich (voted the best London Dry Gin by the World Gin Awards 2017), The English Whisky Company (England’s only whisky distillery), Woodforde’s Brewery (locally produced ales with names such as ‘Once Bittern’ and ‘Norfolk Nog’)

For the culture vulture:

Theatres: Madder Market Theatre (a hidden away local theatre at the heart of Norwich), Sewell Barn Theatre (a barn once owned by the authoress Ann Sewell’s family, turned into a local theatre), Fisher Theatre (the local theatre of Bungay, in an old Georgian building which hosts an array of artistic offerings)

Historical: Museum of Norwich (see Norwich anew after a visit to the Museum of Norwich), Norwich Castle (a historic building in its own right filled with curiosities from natural history to art), Strangers’ Hall (a 14th- century house that has been home to Norwich’s leading citizens for centuries and now can be explored by you), Elizabethan House (the house of a merchant from Great Yarmouth, now owned by the National Trust), Tolhouse Gaol (learn all about the gruesome goings-ons of the Great Yarmouth gaol)

Getting involved: Norfolk Museum Pass (If one museum pass doesn’t seem like enough then buy them access to10), Pat Southward ceramic-throwing courses (give them the gift of pottery throwing with a local potter), photography days out (the chance to photograph the iconic windmills of the Broads), Norwich Writers’ Centre writing courses (lessons from the UNESCO City of Literature)

Snow in the Broads National Park © Julian Claxton

For the adventurer:

D.I.Y. swashbuckling: Hunter’s Yard (sailing boat lessons from beginners to advanced), Whitlingham Adventure (a selection of outdoors activities to suit all age groups), Pine Lodge School of Classical Equitation (classical dressage riding lessons on trained Lusitanos), Bungay and  Waveney Valley Golf Course (for anyone keen to swing a club)

For the animal lover:

Charity donations: F.A.I.T.H. (Hickling-based animal charity, with a selection of species from cats to dogs to pigs), Yarmouth Greyhound Homefinders (re-homing greyhounds from Great Yarmouth), Hillside Animal Sanctuary (home to over 3000 animals! Equine and agricultural), Meadow Green Dog Rescue Centre (local dog rescue), The Norfolk Greyhound Rescue (local greyhound rescue), Redwings Horse Sanctuary (the country’s largest horse-rescue home)

Hands on: Azsu Pure Alpacas (enjoy an alpaca workshop), Pakefield Riding School (treat them to a ride on the beach!), Suffolk Punch Trust (a day out with one of the rarest horses on the planet), Norfolk Smallholders Training Group (join them up to a local smallholders group)

View from Norwich Castle © Fernando Butcher (CC BY 2.0)

These are just a fraction of the local businesses which you could support and whose presents would delight your nearest and dearest. So step away from the supermarket shelves and put down that gift voucher. It’s time show people you care about them… and the Broads National Park!