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Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

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Chicago, Illinois
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Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

Hello,

I would like to bring back few presents for my family and my best friend. I am interested only in things made in England, but not clothes (not sure how easy or how hard is to find them; in US it is very hard, not to say impossible sometimes, to find items made in the USA - there is nothing wrong with things made in other parts of the world, but I would prefer to bring back souvenirs made in England).

Things I know they will treasure and enjoy are: small enamel boxes with London scenery, tea tins with elegant appearance filled with tea flavors hard to find in US, mugs with London scenery. Is there a store/area where I can find them at affordable prices? I would like to keep souvenirs shopping under 100 GBP (not sure if it is doable or not since I do not have a good idea on the price points in England). I hope to get ideas on a store or stores close to each other where I can shop for these items without taking too much of my time.

Do you have any recommendations on such stores? Some of my coworkers mentioned a store called Reject China Shop where one can buy tea cups and coffe mugs made in Englad at affordable prices. Is the store worth a trip or not?

Thank you,

Monica

london
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1. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

We really don't make much in this country I'm afraid.

Maybe some biscuits (cookies to you).

If you like that kind of thing, check out Fortnum & Masons, on Piccadilly, they've a hall of tins of cookies, tea, etc., prices are around £8-£20 for an item

Typical products:

fortnumandmason.com/p-5343-explorers-biscuit…

fortnumandmason.com/p-5400-whisky-dundee-cak…

In terms of mugs etc. made in the UK, they do exist but you are looking at around £25 for a piece. Beware many brands such as 'Royal Doulton', 'Royal Worcester' etc. make some or all of their output in China. Check packaging labelling very carefully. Unless it says 'Made in England', it's almost certainly not.

Fortnum & Mason sell some such products. The other obvious place to buy them is Harrods. Harrods is a very large department store and not close to Fortnum & Masons and quite time consuming to visit - best IMO to just shop at Fortnums.

Reject China Shop has apparently closed down.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

The Reject China Shop is entertaining to many people - if you hate china and shops it might not work for you - but in trying to confirm the location I begin to suspect it has closed.

Hmm.

The V and A (VIctoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington) website allows you to "shop" by the theme Made in Britain, which may give you some inspiration. The museum is terrific and may well be on your itinerary already.

I don't know where you're staying or going, but you might look in John Lewis or Marks and Spencer, and just keep looking for the Made in... signs on the merchandise.

You could look in Marks and Spencer or any decent supermarket for small packets of biscuits (English biscuits are very good) or candy or tea.

The souvenir shops all sell a brand Ahmad or Ahmed (never seen them in anyone's house) various teabags in small tins as low as one pound. I think we all know tea is not actually grown in England.

I have also brought back dishtowels with maps (or anything really) printed on them. (This was how Laura Ashley got started in business.) I have to admit the last lot I bought were printed in Pakistan but you ever know.

PS Warning:

don't do too much looking online and definitely not on Amazon or you will be pained to realize how easy international shopping without international travel is.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

Thank you both for the suggestions. I will get cookies and chocolates for sure. As for the other items, I will keep doing what I do when shopping here: check labels :)

When going on vacation, I would rather spend the time sightseeing than shopping. 2 or 3 hours checking out the stores and buying souvenirs is the maximum time I am allocating to shopping when I go on vacation for a week or 10 days. It took me years to "train" myself and stick to this rule, but now it comes easily to me....

Oh, and yes, I know I can get a lot of things from amazon.com, but I still want to bring back a little something for my brother, his wife and my best friend :)

Monica

U.S. expats
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4. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

I don't know if this is your cup of tea, but two things I bought that are definitely "made in England" were a pair of oil and vinegar cruets. The artist's name was Richard Blamire, and I bought my first set at the Bath Christmas market.

I bought the second one for a friend's birthday, and was shocked when I called the number on the card to realize that I was actually talking to the man himself! Makes beautiful things *and* answers his own phone.

http://www.oliveoildecanters.com/

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5. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

One of the other gift type thing I love to buy that's "English" is Christmas tree ornaments. You can get them at Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, St. Paul's etc.

They are lovely cloth embroidered ornaments, depicting Big Ben, Queen Elizabeth I, Lord Nelson, Bobbies, Horse Guards, King Henry VIII, St. Paul's, etc.

I don't know if they are made in England, but they will remind you of no where else!

London, United...
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6. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

In the centre of Covent Garden Pazza you will find market stalls with hand made goods, sometimes there are smaller inexpensive items.

Oxfordshire
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7. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

Your request is completely unrealistic.

Self-evidently, tea and coffee aren't grown in Britain - and often not even packed here. The overwhelming majority of mass-market chocolates are made on the Continent (even if carrying "British" brand names like Cadbury's and Rowntree's). Though most upmarket chocolates sold under posher retailers' own brands are finished off in Britain, most (including for example Fortnum and Mason's) are made from chocolate milled on the Continent. There is a list of British bean-to-bar makers at …wikipedia.org/wiki/… though that doesn't mean they're actually any good. Thornton's chocs are horrible: being milled in Britain is about cost, not quality.

British law on labelling is of little use to you. Generally, there's no requirement for origin marking (indeed under many circumstances, labelling a product "made in Britain" is actually illegal) and when there is it's unhelpful. Go to the V&A site recommended by McVisor, for example, and obviously the first thing you see (the Little Black Dress) will have been sewn together here - but from fabric almost certainly imported from Italy, Turkey or China. As a general rule, any unmarked manufactured product will be made in a lower-wage country. Certainly most flags, miniature London buses and the like will be imported, though the "My mum went to London and all I got..." slogan might have been printed here - onto a Turkish or Bangladeshi-made t-shirt, of course. The cotton will be American, though.

There's little point complaining about this. We live in an interconnected world, Britain's economy is based on international trade, not export of low-cost commodities, and we're part of an economic union that actively discourages nationalistic marking or promotion.. It's also almost always substantially kinder to the environment, and emits substantially less carbon, to make goods where manufacture is most efficient and ship them to Britain.

Rather than expend energy on some kind of Nationalistic Correctness, I'd look for products that reflect those aspects of Britain you want to take home with you and don't get entangled in the complexities of country marking and Rules of Origin . F&M's chocolate cherries, made of Belgian chocolate, are far more delicious than Thornton's British-made muck (the F&M cherries themselves are English), and you really wouldn't want to take tea grown here home anyway.

london
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8. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

I agree M&S biscuits are as nice as Harrods and at least as British, and far cheaper of course. Museums shops are a good idea too. Nigella Lawson says she always buys tea towels ( drying up cloths) wherever she goes as they have local themes and are light to carry, plus you use them daily so are frequently reminded.

Delighted to find someone else who thinks Thorntons chocs disgusting. Charbonnel et Walker are expensive but delicious and I believe the brand dates back to 18th century.

Bingley, United...
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9. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

< Delighted to find someone else who thinks Thorntons chocs disgusting. >

Get the toffee

London, United...
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10. Re: Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England

Have to agree M&S do some very nice cookies. If you spot a Whittards shop, pop in and have a look around, they may have something that catches your eye - there's one in Covent Garden and in The Strand - www.whittard.co.uk/locations

We do grow tea in England, in Cornwall, although some may say that isn't part of England but that's another tale, see http://tregothnan.co.uk/ Haven't tried it so can't comment on it.