Given that it’s now December and it’s snowing, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to do a quick round-up of the best places for Christmas shopping in West Hampstead.
Since Dizar sadly closed, North West 6 on the corner of West End Lane and Blackburn Road is the only full-on gift shop on the street with a suitable collection of small bits and pieces, including jewellery, mugs, and Secret Santa sort of presents.
West End Lane Books should do a roaring trade this month – and don’t be shy of asking the staff for advice too. The bookshop even has a Christmas Shopping Day on December 9th when everything is 15% off from 9am-9pm and there’s mulled wine and mince pies available in the evening *drool.
The Kitchener is fast becoming something of a local favourite. It is now rammed full of great things – not just basic kitchenware, but festive treats, spices, a good selection of cards and of course everything for the chef in your life. Want Christmas tree-shaped brownies? Get the moulds there.
If your loved ones are more into eating food than making it then you’re in luck. Peppercorns, LoveFood and Gustoso on West End Lane all sell foodie gifts. You can also order your Christmas meat and turkey from The Kitchen Stores on Mill Lane, and pick up chocolate, Christmas puddings and mince pies while you’re there.
For something more alternative and just a smidge further afield, why not go to Ms Marmite Lover’s Underground Farmers’ Market this Sunday afternoon , where there’ll be artisan wrapping paper, home-made liqueurs, cheese, sausages and Christmas puddings. Seriously, what’s not to like? You do have to buy £5 tickets in advance, and that will reveal the location – but it’s not too far away!
Of course the charity shops are a great source of gifts and cards, and heaven knows there are enough of them on West End Lane. Oxfam is probably the best for new (as opposed to second-hand) gifts. There are also Card Aid outlets at the Hampstead community centre and at the Hampstead Theatre in Swiss Cottage when open.
If you like your Christmas just a little bit retro then you have to go along to tea-room extraordinaire bake-a-boo on Sunday from 2pm-6pm for its “Walking in a Vintage Wonderland” event. There’ll be vintage clothing, jewellery, flowers, nostalgic gifts, one off pieces made from vintage fabrics and of course edible gifts.
While you’re on Mill Lane, check out some of the art for sale in Thou Art in Hampstead – it doesn’t just frame pictures, it also sells them.
Thinking about decorating the house? Christmas trees are available from Homebase and the Hampstead Garden Centre on Iverson Road. Any why not pop along to Achillea Flowers on Mill Lane for a winter wreath. Homebase (don’t turn your nose up) does cheap and perfectly decent decorations – that is if you don’t feel the need to go over to Habitat in the O2 centre for this year’s colours.
Local businesses in West Hampstead are also offering various discounts and promotions on the day, including West End Lane Books, Chez Chantal, David’s Deli, Walnut, Insight Opticians, Mill Lane Barbers, Holistic Hair and Beauty, Robert Brennan Fitness, The Alliance, Mill Lane Vets and Hair by Red.
Buying local might be a pound or so more than ordering online but it’s a lot more fun, you know it will arrive on time and you’ll be supporting local businesses at the end of what has been a very difficult year.