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5 unique shopping experiences you can find in The Cotswolds

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Beyond the honey-hued cottages and rolling Wolds, The Cotswolds’ heritage is tied to its artisans that thrive and utilise the area. Some of their skills have slowly dissipated throughout the decades with the rise of industry but in a place where time sometimes stands still, like The Cotswolds, these skills continue to flourish.

Today you can visit special shops in The Cotswolds where skills in everything from perfumery to wool weaving live on. Discover a few of our favourite shopping experiences that are completely unique to The Cotswolds below.

Cotswold Woollen Weavers

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The history of the Cotswolds is embedded in sheep’s wool and limestone. For 500 years the sheep forged the rolling Cotswold landscape, and money from the wool enabled the building of the classic limestone churches, manor houses and Cotswold cottages we know and love today. Generations of shepherds, wool merchants and weavers have all made their mark on The Cotswolds, and in the little village of Filkins, Cotswold Woollen Weavers continues in this ancient tradition.

Lying between Burford and Lechlade, you can find a collection of old barns and mills, aptly repurposed as the home to Cotswold Woollen Weavers. It’s a wonderful, eccentric celebration of The Cotswolds’ wool craft combining the shop and workshop with a museum where you can explore how the the craft has evolved with rooms dedicated to old looms and the area’s textile history.

If a drop-in to the village of Filkins isn’t on your agenda but you’d love to see some of their amazing crafts, the company has also opened a branch in Witney called – The Witney Blanket Hall.

Find out more over on the Cotswold Woollen Weavers website.

The Cotswold Perfumery

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Established in 1966, the Cotswold Perfumery specialises in creating fine fragrances from their magnificent 300-year-old Grade II Listed shop in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water. Lead by chief perfumer, John Stephen, Cotswold Perfumery has been blending perfumes for over 50 years and is the manufacturer behind some of the most famous perfume houses in the world.

Cotswold Perfumery began when John’s mother bought a small shop just 25 yards from their location today on the Bourton-on-the-Water riverfront for £6,000 (can you believe it?!). There, the family began creating perfumes using quality, raw materials. Being animal lovers, they decided not to use any animal ingredients, or to test on animals – a decision well ahead of its time, and one that remains core to the business to this day.

Today, the Cotswold Perfumery produces 116 fine English products and John is one of only six independent perfumers in the UK. His fragrances are worn by perfume enthusiasts around the world – even Her Majesty The Queen.

Discover the Cotswold Perfumery fragrances and plan a visit over on their website.

Robert Welch Designs

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When Robert Welch left the Royal College of Art in 1955, he set up his drawing board and camp bed in a little rented room in a disused 18th century silk mill at Chipping Campden in The Cotswolds’ hills. Little did he know that his heritage in Chipping Campden would live on, his designs would earn him an MBE and he’d become a Royal Designer for Industry.

Passionately driven to design highly functional, affordable products with a timeless elegant beauty, he pioneered the introduction of stainless steel cutlery to the UK and steadily gained a reputation for excellence.

Robert brought his children Alice and Rupert into the business in later years and today the siblings manage Robert Welch Designs. Working with a small team of in-house designers from the same disused silk mill where it all began, they continue to produce a growing collection of award-winning products.

You can step inside this studio and shop today and immerse yourself in over 60 years of British design with an awesome collection of Robert Welch Designs in store. The friendly staff will even set the table for a hands-on Robert Welch dining experience!

Find out more about Robert Welch Designs and peruse their collections of dining, kitchen and living wares here.

Cotswold Lavender

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Cotswold Lavender is a third generation family farm, set in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold hills overlooking Broadway and the Vale of Evesham. The Cotswolds are known around the world as a classic view of the English countryside. Their long association with the farming community has given the Cotswolds their name, 'cot' meaning sheep enclosure and 'wold' meaning hill.

The lavender started growing in 1999 with just a few plants and the free draining limestone soils make it the best growing conditions for top quality English lavender essential oils. The lavender has thrived here ever since and they have over 40 different varieties, 140 miles of lavender rows and over 500,000 plants in total.

At the peak of summer the lavender's harvested and distilled by traditional methods and aged for a year before it’s used to make anything from skincare and essential oils to tea, sugar and much more! In summer you can frolic among the rows of lavender and take some beautiful pictures as well as shop the wares mades from the previous year’s harvest.

Find out more over on the Cotswold Lavender website.

Teddy Bears of Witney

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For lovers of Paddington, vintage toys and collectable teddy bears, you’ll definitely want to stop by the Teddy Bears of Witney. Established in 1985, Teddy Bears of Witney was the first shop in the UK to specialise in selling new and old teddy bears.

Nearly all 1000 teddy bears in stock are limited edition and they have two of the world’s most famous bears on permanent display – Aloysius (from Brideshead Revisited) and Theodore, Peter Bull’s pocket companion.

Their home was formerly an antiques shop, and the double-fronted, sixteenth century Cotswold stone building provides a natural home for the bears. Besides exploring this rich collection of teddy bears, each one with its own story, a visit to this shop is such a heartwarming experience due to the passionate team that bring this collection to life.

Each member is a bear lover and their enthusiasm will definitely make you fall in love with their display of bears too!

Browse their collection of teddy bears online and plan a visit!

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