09 December 2019 12:49
Absolute Escapes gives you Cumbrian-made gift ideas to delight your loved ones this Christmas.
There’s more to Cumbria than just rolling hills and picturesque lakes. Within the county, you'll find a wealth of independent and artisanal producers with a range of gift ideas ideal for Christmas. Some small enough to fit in a Cumbrian Christmas cracker or stocking, which is what we’re going to present to you here.
Whether you’re buying for someone mad about Cumbria and the Lake District, or a local who’s all about local produce and craft, these gift ideas are sure to be a hit. Not only do you get an out-of-the-ordinary gift for your loved one you also help out a small business in the run-up to Christmas.
Without further ado, here are our picks:
"Bassenthwaite" by Adam is licensed under CC BY2.0
Making a huge splash in the world of drinks, only a stone’s throw away from Bassenthwaite Lake, the Lakes Distillery produces several spirits in addition to its flagship ‘One’ blended whisky. They sell a range of cute, smaller iterations of their products perfect for any stocking/cracker. They even make their own crackers with samples of their spirits inside and glass baubles filled with booze too.
There’s a plethora of small gifts ideal for spirit connoisseurs, from drinks themselves to invaluable paraphernalia.
Whisky stones are a useful, permanent alternative to ice.
A full range of gifts including baubles, crackers and miniatures can be found here.
If you really like the person you’re buying for, you can even buy an Enhanced Distillery Tour With Extra Tastings, that might fit in a stocking or cracker.
"Herdwick Ewe" by Andrew is licensed under CC BY2.0
Iconic and responsible Lake District brand specialising in homeware and gifts. Their image is centred around Herdwick sheep, the hardy, fell-dwelling breed plentiful in the region. The 2010 winner of the BITC (Business in the Community) Small Company of the Year, has various options for small gifts perfect for a stocking or cracker.
The Marra Earrings, depicting a pair of Herdwick ‘marras’ (Cumbrian dialect for friend) make an adorable stocking filler.
Yan Socks offer an endearing twist on the tradition of socks for Christmas time, featuring Herdy’s face on one side and bottom on the other. Available in a range of colours.
There are more items including badges, jewellery and more bearing the adorable face of Herdy the Herdwick sheep can be found here to delight your loved ones this Christmas time.
Probably Kendal’s most famous export. This sugary treat has been produced in Kendal by Romney’s since 1918 and has accompanied the most intrepid of adventurers on treks up Everest, Catbells, and everything in between.
Through their online shop, Romney’s offer multipacks of their famous mint cake, so if you have a few people with a sweet tooth to buy for, you could kill several birds with one stone. In addition to their main product, they also sell modified versions in bar form with added brown sugar, chocolate and more, which you can browse here.
A shining success story for both small startups and Cumbrian businesses, Hawkshead Relish is now stocked all over the UK and even by some retailers across Europe and North America. Founded by family owners of a Lake District cafe, who were already making their own relishes and preserves, Hawkshead Relish began life proper in 2001. In response to dropping tourism in the Lake District because of the Foot and Mouth crisis, they decided to take the Lakes elsewhere and approached garden centres, cafes, and other potential stockists with their products and the rest is history.
The company offers a range of gift packs for sale on its website, perfect for sampling the famous reserves. Available are Savoury Selection, Black Garlic, Sweet Selection, Christmas Selection, Cocktail Selection, and much more.
"Sarah Nelson's Original Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread" by Andrew Bowden is licensed under CC BY2.0
Invented in 1854 by Sarah Nelson in idyllic Grasmere, the village’s eponymous gingerbread is somewhere between a cake and a biscuit, both spicy and sweet.
Today, Grasmere Gingerbread, makes a wide range of ginger-based products, from the gingerbread that started it all to ginger-infused drinks, toiletries, and more.
We recommend the six pieces of Grasmere Gingerbread if you’re wanting to introduce someone to the wonderful world of Grasmere Gingerbread. If the person you’re buying for is already au fait, there’s a number of exciting variations perfect for a stocking or cracker, which can be ordered online.
Buying for someone who loves Cumbria AND chocolate? Then Friar’s is probably the right choice.
Setting up shop in Keswick in 1927, Friar’s is one of Cumbria’s most prominent chocolatiers, now with a store in Ambleside as well as an online shop. They specialise in luxury chocolates, as well as novelty chocolates and gifts, all designed in-house, perfect for many occasions. Every holiday they launch a new range of products, so there’ll always be something for you to come back to.
There’s almost too many to choose from; Friar’s range of stocking fillers can be perused here - including truffles that look like Brussel Sprouts.
Nestled away just outside the Lake District, near Ulverston, Wax Lyrical is the UK’s largest home fragrance manufacturer. Inspired by the rugged, changing Cumbrian landscape Wax Lyrical has crafted candles and fragrances since 1980.
There are scents and designs for everyone, with wintry ‘Baby It's Cold Outside’ range ideal for providing comfort in the cold, dark months surrounding Christmas. The titular ‘Baby It’s Cold’ candle features an endearing penguin illustration and comes with a scent combining jasmine, white sandal, and amber, with hints of saffron and rock rose.
Or as part of their ‘Lakes Collection’, you could give your loved one ‘Fallen Leaves’ tealights, stirring memories of crisp autumn days scented with amber, heliotrope, vanilla, and rich musks.
There are almost too many candles and fragrances to choose from; you can shop the full range here.
Stockist of gifts from different Cumbrian brands, they also make their own covering a wide range. Love The Lakes has stores in Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere aiming to showcase the best consumer products Cumbria and the Lake District has to offer. There’s a focus particularly on ethically-produced items, handcrafted in the Lakes with organic ingredients.
If you’re buying for a loved one who’s environmentally conscious, Loves the Lakes own Earth Savers range has several options including natural shampoo bars and fragranced natural soap.
The full range of Love the Lakes products can be viewed here including prints, mugs, and even gin.
"Lake District - Honister Pass from the Slate Quarry" by Gareth Williams is licensed under CC BY2.0
What about a gift from England’s last working slate mine? Something from deep within a Lake District mountain? This family-run business is located at the top of Honister Pass, one of the UK’s steepest roads. As well as supplying building materials, it stocks unique gifts made from Honister green slate from the mine itself inside Fleetwith Pike.
Honister slate appears on many notable buildings, including Buckingham Palace, New Scotland Yard and other esteemed places across the country.
Small gifts made of Honister slate you can get include these rustic slate hearts, stylish key rings, and these distinctive slate cufflinks.
Of course, all the brands we listed also stock gifts far too big for a stocking or cracker. We’d encourage you to look at those too, if you like the person you’re buying for enough, that is.
Despite being a sparsely-populated county, we found Cumbria to have a wealth of producers, so many in fact we’re bound to have missed some of your favourites.
What would go in your ideal Cumbrian Christmas cracker or stocking? Maybe we’ve missed something glaringly obvious that should be on the Christmas list of every lover of Cumbria. Or maybe there’s a real hidden gem that you think everyone should know about. If so, let us know so we can help spread the word, you can get in touch via our contact form or Facebook.
Perhaps the ultimate Cumbrian Christmas gift, however, would be a stay in the beautiful county. If you're interested in staying in Cumbria or the Lake District during the festive period, why not check the availability of our self-catering Lake District cottages and spend Christmas in a winter wonderland.