For an autmn walk with a magical twist, try the well marked Doon Hill and Fairy Knowe walk at Aberfoyle. From the car park in the centre, you can walk into the nearby forest, climb the Knowe and enchant the kids with the fairy shrine clearing at the top. Continue the walk with the kids talking of all things fairy, through forest open countryside and along the Forth river. An easy circular walk.
Aberfoyle (Trossachs), Scotland
Google map: bit.ly/bFhJN6
Ever enjoyed the poem 'the road not taken' by Robert Frost? This walk allows you to make that life choice in wonderful Worcestershire countryside. This is a great walk for the less agile who enjoy a gentler challenge. Take the road from Malvern south and west to Eastnor Castle. Pass by the Eastnor estate until you come to Hollybush Hill, one of the gentler hills in the Malvern range as they die back into the fields and woods at the southern end. This walk takes you up Ragged Stone Hill, on the other side of the road to Hollybush. Park in the Hollybush car park and cross or park on the other side in the layby before the path leaves the road.
The path gently climbs through a wooded belt - look out for the fly agaric and other fungi under the trees. You will come to a clear split in the 'road' - left will take you up to the top of the hill for lovely views of countryside ravishing in its colour and form at this time of the year. Carry straight on under oak and chestnut until you arrive at the small picturesque hamlet of Broad-leaved Oak: scattered cottages and houses hidden in the heart of the Malvern Hills. Walk a hundred yards to the left and then take another path to the left that skirts the bottom of the hill until you meet the original road. Take the left back to your car at the layby or the carpark at the foot of Hollybush. Paths radiate away if you want a longer ramble - go to the Gullet Quarry, Golden valley or back to the Eastnor estate to view the 19thC castle, deer park and obelisk monument that dominates thew western slopes of the hills. It's all good and never more so than in October.
The A438 from Eastnor to Tewkesbury - before the hamlet of Hollybush.
Google map: bit.ly/bqQtLR
A family favourite woodland walk is from Dane Bridge in north Staffordshire, starting from just below The Ship Inn in Wincle - everything a country pub should be and where there is some road parking. Follow the Dane Valley Way towards Gradbach, along the river which is an excellent bathing spot in the summer and through pleasant woodland of Silver Birch. The route takes you through fields and in to Back Forest; a darker woodland of beech and oak high above the river. We always stop at Castle Rocks for a scramble and take time to enjoy the view, before carrying on to where Black Brook joins the Dane. Here the Dane Valley Way continues to Gradbach, but you would be missing a treat if you didn't climb steeply up through the tall trees to Lud's Church, easily overlooked, if you don't know its there. This deep gash in the Millstone Grit is a place of stories: pagan worship and secret Christian sects. After exploring the depths of the moss covered chasm, continue over the moors, looking back for views of The Roaches to Hangingstone Farm and back down to Dane Bridge. After this delightful six kms walk, a visit to The Ship Inn will be well deserved.
Dane Bridge is at Grid Reference 965651, on the A54 Congleton to Buxton Road, turn on to the B road for Wincle at The Fourways Motel. Dane Bridge is at the bottom of the hill, just passed The Ship Inn.
The Ship Inn: Wincle, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 0QE
01260 227 217
Google map: bit.ly/bDEej7
Pristine oak woodlands on the side of a mountain with views past Portmeirion to the sea. Wild goats, buzzards and even a howling wolf (living willow). Was the last wolf in Wales slain here? Did Lord Haw-Haw stay here before the war? Catch a steam train from Tan y Bwlch (free parking and cafe) for a 2Km ride up the line to the only railway loop in Britain then it's (mainly) downhill all the way.
This is fantastic stall/portacabin at the largest antiques centre in Essex. They always have a great range of vintage clothing, period handbags and some amazing jewellery, all with an evocative crackly soundtrack in the background as you browse! The antiques dealer next door also has ex.MOD clothing so you can pick up an incredible military hat or uniform too.
Bath has some real gems for vintage clothes. On the weekend there is a stall at the Cattle Market selling a variety of uniforms, fur and other pieces.
Venture further up Walcot Street (towards the London Road) and you will arrive at Jack and Danny's - a vast collection of clothes
from all eras. Ask the staff if you have something in mind and they will
rummage around to find the perfect thing, and they will often hire out pieces for the weekend. Hidden in an alleyway off Milson Street is Vintage
to Vogue which has a very good collection of men's and women's clothing and last time I was
there, some one-off vintage road cycling jerseys.
Vintage to Vogue: 28 Milsom Street, Bath
Google map: bit.ly/9tH9ql
Jack and Danny's: 3 London St
Bath BA1 5BU
Google map: bit.ly/dreYDg
House of Liza specializes in vintage designer clothing. The collection contains a handpicked selection from avant-garde fashion from the 50s to the 90s. Designers include Kansai Yamamoto, André Courrèges, JC de Castelbajac, Stephen Sprouse, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, Claude Montana, Thierry Mugler and JP Gaultier.
Strut is a dress agency and vintage store for men and women which opened almost two years ago. Word has spread among stylists and lovers of highly original and designer items about this cornucopia of once-owned designer pieces and sourced perfectly preserved flapper silks, thirties tea dresses, fifties frocks and iconic designers of later decades. On my last visit I saw an Alexander McQueen jacket at under £200, an Alice Temperley dress, vintage Ossie Clarke and boxed new Jimmy Choos ranged alongside Gucci loafers and Vivienne Westwood shirts and blouses. Exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly staff make for a great shopping experience.
Strut has recently opened a sister shop, Stroll, just down the road at 111 Church street, where more modest tastes can be indulged. Operating as a dress agency for the local fashion cognoscenti you will find high-end high street and designer bargains. On the day I visited £30 would have bought me a brand new pair of John Rocha brogues or a Betty Jackson jacket.
182 Church Street, Stoke Newington, London N16 OJL
Google map: bit.ly/b200bb
+44(0)207 254 4387
A vintage clothing store set in a warehouse in Digbeth, Birmingham (though a new shop has opened on Corporation Street).
You can get anything you want here if you have the patience to rummage through the rails.
An eclectic selection of vintage shops specialising in different decades can be found between Albert Road and the Palmerston precinct. Start with Tango Tea and their flapper and Art Deco collection then onto Style in the City and the One-Eyed Jockey with clothes from the Seventies, or for a real Fifties and Sixties experience step into Dead Man's Glory and bop away to skiffle music playing on the turntables whilst riffling through the rails.
The House of Avalon is a vintage clothing store full of quirky little surprises in York. After picking through a stunning array of vintage gear - from gorgeous tea dresses to sparkling handbags and headgear - you can enjoy a cup of tea and a cupcake or large slice of victoria sponge in the Avalon's cafe. While you browse or eat, enjoy the classic films which are projected onto a screen in the cafe. To add to Avalon's many charms, you can also get your hair styled into a retro do by a talented stylist before you leave. The shop is a project of the Avalon Group aimed at providing work opportunities to people with different abilities. A delightful shop with a social conscience. You will leave smiling.
After travelling to both Milan and Rome, two of the most influential cities of Europe fashion-wise and finding nothing but street after street of generic designer boutiques, I was ecstatic to find Edinburgh riddled with vintage clothes boutiques. Not only does South Bridge and Nicolson Street play host to several charity shops, often home to the most wonderfully unique pieces, but W. Armstrong & Son (founded in 1840) is the true heart of Edinburgh vintage. Found on The Grassmarket, room after room is filled with genuine World War II jackets and 1940's fancy dress; complete with trunk full’s of top hats, wigs and Venetian masks. Although W. Armstrong & Son is the crème de la crème of retro fashion, other vintage gems can also be found along Teviot Place and on Frederick Street.
If you're a vintage addict the Northern Quarter is where to head for your daily dose. Always the creative heart of the city, the number of vintage shops has blossomed in recent years catering for all tastes. For girly, try Retro Rehab, bargain basement- Ryan Vintage, altruistic- Oxfam Originals or full on, whacked out craziness- American Graffiti. Not to mention many more hidden backstreet gems. Failing that head straight to Afflecks Palace possibly the world's only punk/goth/vintage/alternative department store.
Retro Rehab: Oldham St 0161 839 2050
Ryan Vintage: 46 Oldham street, M4 1LE,
0161 228 1495 Google map: bit.ly/9QThm8
Oxfam Originals: 51 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR
0161 839 3160 Google map: bit.ly/cZ2NBy
American Graffiti: 10-14 Hilton St, M11JF
0161 228 3677 Google map: bit.ly/bFLjIj
Afflecks Palace: Northern Quarter
52 Church Street, M4 1PW www.afflecks.com
0161 839 0718 Google map: bit.ly/9TmKTn
The Vintage Warehouse is a big vintage emporium that has loads of cool clothes inside. As with any old clothes shop, it is fairly jumble sale like and requires a good trawl, however I've acquired some great finds from it. Plus, they have a one pound bargain pit, and, although the style of the clothes in there isn't exactly fashionable, there are some nice materials if you rummage for long enough. Best of all, even if you don't buy anything it's a fascinating place to wonder around.
82-84 Lower Parliament Street, (main entrance on Cranbrook Street) NG1 1EH
Google map: bit.ly/9KA40c
A fantastic vintage shop selling all sorts of quirky, cool and often mad wares from days gone by. Also, has an excellent accessories and home section. Located in Digbeth's old Bird's Custard Factory, now a thriving centre for artists, designers and creators of all genres.
Tucked away at the end of the kitsch McCoy's Arcade is the even more kitsch 'The Real McCoy'. With its baby pink colour scheme and 50s cafe (exact in every detail) to entice you in, the shop is what the term 'Aladdin's Cave' was invented for. Gorgeous replica clothes, real vintage gems of coats, waistcoats, pyschedelic 60s dresses and evening wear on the ground floor, and on the second you'll find leather jackets, jeans, fancy dress, even famous band t-shirts. Teenagers love it for prom wear. I love it for the hot chocolate in the cafe after a spending spree!
They take original vintage garments, rescue, re-work and update them to create unique one-off garments. And they source and sell gorgeous, wearable vintage, everything from 1940s garments to 1970s leathers and retro items.
A classy jam packed vintage store in the heart of Durham City. Many vintage designer pieces and friendly staff.
45 The Gates, Durham City. 15 minutes walk from Durham train station.
07887 536 409
Google map: bit.ly/cvYv4e
Unicorn is a vintage boutique simply like no other: upon entering, you will find yourself standing in roughly three square feet of floor space, surrounded by piles upon piles of what can only be described as untamed clothing that extends as far as the eye can see. After the initial amazement, you will soon be greeted by the lady who, on requesting an item, will dive- quite literally- deep into the realms of clothes and nearly always return (although sometimes a considerable time later) brandishing the said item, be it bodices or brogues. This quirky shop's capacity of three makes it all the more worth the visit when in Oxford.
5 Ship Street, Oxford, OX1 3DE
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