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Culture

9 Designers Reveal the Greatest Spots in Great Britain

May 13, 2020

Even if we’re not doing much actual travel right now, we always crave a good armchair adventure. So we asked nine U.K.-based Schumacher collaborators to get hyper-local and divulge their best-kept secrets and insider scoops in their neighborhoods. From their favorite strolls and spots for a pint of Guinness to their ultimate haunts for inspiration, here’s where they’ve got us wishing we could click our heels to next.

Veere Grenney: Stoke-by-Nayland

Favorite place to wander: My country retreat, The Temple, is located in this small village, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty in the east of England. The private park surrounding my home there is the ideal place for a walk

The Temple, Veere Grenney’s country home in Stoke-by-Nayland, as seen in this 2014 article by Ben Pentreath.Courtesy of Ben Pentreath

Go-to spot to grab a bite: The Crown

Neighborhood shop: The Village Shop, which sells everything from newspapers and alcohol to delicious organic vegetables and toothpaste. It’s got everything you could possibly need!

The charming Village Shop in Stoke-by-Nayland.

Best kept secretThe private walks through all the surrounding woods, which are only known to locals.

Where to head for a pint (or a cup of tea!): All the country pubs in the Dedham Vale. 

Ultimate escape, farther afield: The islands on the west coast of Scotland.

What the Brits do better than anyone else: Don’t panic and carry on!

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Molly Mahon: Forest Row

Favorite place to wander: I am so lucky to be able to walk out of my front door straight on to the Royal Ashdown Forest in Sussex.

Go-to spot to grab a bite: Snuggled in Sussex’s South Downs with views to the sea, I often walk with my family and friends to The Sussex Ox, a brilliant pub where we eat delicious organic food, play backgammon by the fire and have a jolly sing along by the piano. 

Neighborhood shop: A short distance from our home is one of my greatest inspirations, the Charleston Farmhouse. The gift shop there is a collaborative, unique space celebrating the Bloomsbury Group in a carefully curated way.

Best kept secret: Tucked away in nearby Lewes is the most magical pop of color: Marchand Son. This shop of handmade paints is like entering a sweets shop of old, with glass jars of pigment lining the shelves and a wall of painted clogs showing the multitude of colors available. I love any excuse to visit.  

Where to head for a pint (or a cup of tea!): I love sipping organic coffee from the horse trailer-turned-cafe at Plawhatch Farm while wrapped in blankets and sitting amongst bespoke Molly Mahon cushions!  

Ultimate escape, farther afield: I love the solitude of the Isle of Mull in Scotland. I gain such inspiration from the surrounding colors of the island and the humbling magnitude of the mountains.

A charming waterside street on Scotland’s Isle of Mull, featured in a 2016 WestJet magazine article by Julia Williams. See the story at westjetmagazine.com.E55EVU/iStock

What the Brits do better than anyone else: Preserving and celebrating English heritage! From the mighty oak to the quintessential country farmhouse, we are very good at celebrating our countryside.

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Dimonah and Mehmet Iksel: London

Favorite place to wander: The lovely Onslow Gardens opposite our flat in South Kensington.

The lush and verdant Onslow Gardens are surrounded by a square of Victorian-era homes.Courtesy of Plum Guide

Go-to spot for a bite: , a great Vietnamese joint.

Neighborhood shop: Andreas of Chelsea Green.

Best kept secretOxfam on Shawfeild Street.

Where to head for a pint (or a cup of tea!): Aux Merveilleux does great croissants and cakes, and there’s always a fun buzz at the Anglesea Arms, a very busy pub filled with stockbrokers. 

Ultimate escape, farther afield: The Lake District is exceptionally pretty. 

Boating on Ullswater, the second largest body of water in the Lake District.Dave Willis

What the Brits do better than anyone else: Being eccentric and, of course, royal pomp and ceremony!

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David Oliver: London

Favorite place to wander: Along Thames Pathway between the Tower Bridge and Lambeth Palace, taking in Borough Food Market, Clink Street, Tate Modern, Millennium Bridge, South Bank Centre and Hayward Gallery. 

Casse Croute’s warm, Old World interiors recall classic spots across the Channel.Courtesy of On the Grid

Go-to spot for a bite: Casse Croutea bistro serving authentic French classics.

Neighborhood shop: Gordon Watson, which specializes in exquisite 20th-century objects and design. 

Gordon Watson’s shopfront is brimming with stunning treasures waiting to be snapped up.Craig/Hibbert

Best kept secret: The Breakfast Club, a cool-kid diner on Artillery Lane that harbors an awesome, dimly lit cocktail bar that you access through a Smeg fridge—and, if your name is Garfield, you receive free drinks all night.

Where to head for a pint (or a cup of tea!): The Watch House is in a 19th-century graveyard and serves single-origin coffee and snacks. 

Ultimate escape, farther afield: The wild and wooded coastline beaches between Clay-on-Sea and Holkham Hall in North Norfolk. 

What the Brits do better than anyone else: Men’s tailoring. Huntsman & Sons has a great history, service and, of course, gentlemanly attire. 

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Caroline Lindsell and Dylan O'Shea of A Rum Fellow: London

Favorite place to wander: The Hampstead Heath for muddy winter walks in the woods and summer swimming in the ponds and views across the city. 

Go-to spot for a bite: Trullo in Highbury—the best pasta outside of Italy. 

Neighborhood shop: A visit to W.A. Green is always a feast for the eyes— they have the most creative and wonderful home accessories. We want everything! 

Best kept secretThat would be telling!

Where to head for a pint (or a cup of tea!): The Palm is our local pub of dreams—great beer, great food and great people. What more can you ask for?! 

Ultimate escape, farther afield: The Peak District is our happy place. It has the most beautiful countryside with lush rolling hills that are crisscrossed with dry stone walls and stunning views all around. It’s heaven.

The dam at Ladybower in Peak District National Park.

What the Brits do better than anyone else: It has to be our sense of style. Whether in the interiors world or the styles worn on the streets, there is a real energy and eclecticism that make British style so unique and exciting. And moaning about the weather, we’re very good at that, too! 

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Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro of Clements Ribeiro: London

Favorite place to wander: We live by the Thames river in the Hammersmith neighborhood, so we are very lucky to have a beautiful river path right at our doorsteps. My favorite route involves crossing the Hammersmith Bridge and walking up the river’s bank towards Barnes, then crossing the Barnes Bridge and walking back the other side through Chiswick Park. Nothing beats it on a sunny day!

Go-to spot for a bite: There are plenty of lovely local restaurants including the incredible River Cafe (which is just a 10-minute walk from our home), but our favorite is The Carpenter’s Arms for an al fresco lunch on a sunny afternoon—delicious food in what feels like the perfect English back garden.

Neighborhood shop: The colorful local Turkish supermarket. We cook very Middle Eastern at home (thank you, Ottolenghi!), so it’s amazing to have such great produce (lots of it organic) at our fingertips.

Best kept secretHammersmith is a very underrated area, which makes it great for exploration, with plenty of gems still to be discovered by most Londoners. Our pick however is the quirky Hammersmith Club. A private club of working class stock, it has that amazing atmosphere that only the most authentic places offer, in stark contrast to the many posh private clubs that abound in London’s West End. 

A view of the River Thames from the the Dove’s sunny terrace.Courtesy of The Dove

Where to head for a pint (or a cup of tea!): The Dove is our favorite watering hole. A very old pub indeed (it dates back to the 1700s) it is tucked away in a narrow alleyway on the river’s edge. All original features, it has a lovely terrace overlooking the river and Hammersmith Bridge, and it boasts the smallest bar in London – you’d struggle to fit three people in its cupboard-like dimensions to the right of the main entrance! Great local beers, and the Sunday Roast is not at all bad!

A red-roofed cottage overlooks Laich Shieldaig in the Wester Ross region of the Scottish Highlands.Courtesy of North Coast 500

Ultimate escape, farther afield: We have a huge soft spot for Scotland, whose landscape casts a long spell on us. We have explored it extensively in many road trips over the years. We love the northern stretch from Argyle to the Highlands, with it’s wonderful open Lochs and Islands, as well as the mountains and valleys everywhere, everything peppered with ruined castles, Angus cattle and moss. Our favorite beauty spot is Wester Ross from Achnasheen to Gairloch and Ullapool and everything in between.

What the Brits do better than anyone else: More than anything, we really appreciate Brits’ ability to laugh at ourselves. It is a blessing not to have to take oneself too seriously. We laugh our differences off with wit and banter—and rounds of beer.

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