Ever since we opened the doors to Respectacle Company in 2016, we’ve very much enjoyed being part of Market Harborough’s independent retailers’ scene. We love this beautiful market town so much, and feel very lucky that so many fabulous small businesses and shops call it home too.
So we’ve decided to shine the spotlight on small businesses in Market Harborough, which will include some of our favourite cafes, restaurants and shops. It’s our guide to shopping local. Read on to find out which fellow small businesses are slaying it in the independent retail game.
Best for gifts
In Heaven at Home
Market Harborough has a growing number of small independent retailers offering unique and often handmade gifts. Located on the town’s main High Street, In Heaven at Home is the place to go if you’re shopping for a special gift. Inside this lovely store you will find a wide range of home accessories and gifts for family and friends, ranging from gorgeous cushions and throws to candles, clocks, wall art and homewares. In Heaven at Home also stocks beautiful greeting cards and wrapping paper.
We also like popping into Lavender Blue on Church Street. This fabulous shop sells a wide range of pretty and practical homewares. They also have their own flower shop too, on the same street directly opposite. So if you’re looking for a beautiful bouquet of flowers, look no further.
Best for coffee and cake
Now this is a tough category! Harborough has a bustling coffee shop scene. Sometimes it feels like a new café opens up every other week. Okay, slight exaggeration but you know what we mean. There’s no shortage of places to go for a cup of coffee (or tea) and a yummy slice of cake in good old Harbs. Which is great, because we’re rather partial to coffee and cake.
Blend Coffee and Cakes
We much prefer visiting an independent café as opposed to the high street giants. We’re mere yards away from one of our favourites, Blend Coffee and Cakes on Manor Walk. These guys tempt us daily with a delicious array of homemade cakes and tray bakes. Their brownies are especially delicious. So whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or a pit stop for a cuppa and cake, they get our recommendation.
We can’t talk about Market Harborough’s flourishing café scene without mentioning Aldwinckles Coffee House and The Garage Bakehouse. Aldwinckles is in a world of its own, a hidden gem, located up a tiny alley way off Church Street. Here you’ll find the friendliest staff serving tasty food including toasted ciabattas, jacket potatoes and homemade cakes and bakes. In a former life The Garage Bakehouse on Roman Way was an old garage, and has now been repurposed into a funky little café. Perfect for early risers (they open from 7.30!) it’s a fab place for coffee, as well as delicious homemade artisan bread.
Last but not least, there’s The Settling Rooms. Located in Sainsbury’s car park, it’s one of the market town’s newest coffee shops and well worth a visit because we think they serve one of, if not the best, lattes in Harborough. Yes, really. They only opened in May but have already created quite a buzz, thanks no doubt in part to the welcoming décor, casual cosy vibe and friendly staff. Oh, and they serve wine and cocktails too.
Best for homewares
On Church Square is where you’ll find Bagel & Griff. It’s a gorgeous lifestyle store stocking textiles, home accessories, furniture, tableware and lighting. Bagel & Griff have been doing their thing for 15 years now, so they’re obviously doing something right! If you’re a lover of all things stationary, you’ll be in your element if you head upstairs. Note books, planners, journals… everything a stationary addict needs to keep you and yours organised in style.
Bagel & Griff
If you’re looking for something a bit retro or vintage, then Keals is the store for you. Situated in Printers Yard, Gower Street, they sell one-off pieces, unusual bespoke products made from reclaimed materials that you just cannot find anywhere else. Think quirky, unique and handmade. We love Keals so much that we even have a bespoke piece of theirs in our store. So if you like your homewares to be handmade, ethical and ecofriendly, get yourself along to Keals.
Don’t forget to check out In Heaven at Home and Lavender Blue too. They both have an excellent range of homewares.
Best for fashion
Celebrating ten years this year, No34 Boutique is a women’s clothing and accessories boutique. Positioned towards the top end of High Street, this lovely little store stocks everything a fashion conscious female could want. You’ll be spoilt for choice with their collection of jumpers, dresses, skirts, tops, shoes, bags and scarfs.
Being the bustling market town that it is, Harborough has a variety of boutiques catering for women. The Attic Dress Agency on Adam & Eve Street is a purveyor of preloved women’s fashion, offering an excellent collection of clothes from high-fashion to the high-street.
Jacks for Women on Church Street features handpicked garments for women. Whether you’re looking for something for the everyday or something for a special occasion, in store you’ll find the finest in womenswear brands from across Europe.
Other options for fashion conscious shoppers include our Manor Walk neighbour Sapphire, bebooted and Doyles, both of whom have shops on Church Street. Doyles was named one of the best boutiques outside of London by Vogue and stocks under-the-radar labels as well as high-end brands like Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Moncler. For lovers of vintage fashion, there’s Amy’s Vintage which specialises in fashions from the 1940’s and 50’s.
Although most of Market Harborough’s independent boutiques and clothing stores set their sights on the women’s market, Josiah’s is an established menswear store on the High Street. From Hugo Boss and Armani to Ralph Lauren and Paul Smith, this family run business stocks a good selection of designer labels.
Best for a cheeky tipple
We’re rather partial to a glass of wine or a cocktail every now and again. Did you know that Harborough is home to an award-winning wine merchant? Adam & Eve Street is where you’ll find Duncan Murray Wines, a fabulous independent shop and wine bar. Duncan and his team are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their carefully selected wines, spirits and beers. Better still, everything in the shop has been tasted and approved. These guys really know their alcoholic beverages.
If a cheeky cocktail is more your thing, The Settling Rooms on Springfield Retail Park is hard to beat. Stand out cocktails include their Porn Star Martini, Rhubarb and Apple and Tommy’s Margarita. This relaxed café during the day and bar by night is fast becoming a local favourite.
The Settling Rooms
Another popular local establishment for a drink or two is Louisa’s Place in the old post office building on St Mary’s Road. Since opening in 2013 it’s been the place to go to for an evening drink and a catch up with friends. Staff are knowledgeable, friendly and they have a great range of cocktails.
And so ends part one of our guide to shopping local. We’ll be publishing part two next month. In the meantime, we hope you’ll all make a conscious effort to shop local and support your fabulous independent retailers this Christmas. In the run up to the festive season, you can enjoy some late night shopping in the town on November 22nd. It coincides with the switching on of the Christmas lights.
Blog written by Respectacle Company, Market Harborough’s boutique optician and eyewear specialist. Visit our Manor Walk store for stylish and unique glasses and sunglasses. Images belong to individual businesses featured in this blog.