The countdown to Christmas is truly upon us, and with it the pressure that comes with finding the perfect gift for your loved one.
To help ease the festive stress, we’ve pulled together a guide to the top eight independent shops in the county and the types of gifts you can find in each.
The best part is, you don’t even need to worry about defrosting the car and filling the tank, as they’re all easy to get to with Stagecoach buses.
Bus service: 505. 516. 555, 599
Bus stops: Ambleside town centre
Ambleside Cowhides & Sheepskins offers luxury products, not just for your home but also to keep you and your loved ones cosy in even the coldest of winters.
From thick-lined slippers to coats and gloves, there’s bound to be a gift to make your loved one feel truly special this Christmas.
Bus service: multiple services
Ashbridge & Brown is a family-owned gift shop based right in the heart of Carlisle’s historic quarter, and offers that special something for everyone in your family.
From festive-themed gifts to beautiful homeware, cosy hot water bottles and throws, to brands including Herdy, Emma Bridgewater and Pure Lakes, even the shopping experience feels indulgent.
Another delightful treasure found hidden in the city is The Emporium, based at Atlas Works.
Not only can you dig out the perfect eclectic gift for friends and family, even your treasured pet is catered for among their shelves.
Browse gifts from a range of local makers, creatives and artists to ensure your present is truly unique.
Bus service: 555, 599,
Whatever your budget, you can treat that special someone to the uniquely delightful taste of Grasmere gingerbread.
Pop into The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop and you’ll find yourself not only learning more about Sarah Nelson’s famous spicy-sweet treat, but also spoiled for choice with the gift packages on offer.
It also means you have an excuse to buy some for yourself.
While wandering the village, the Grasmere Chocolate Cottage also offers the chance to indulge in beautiful – and tasty – chocolate and fudge.
However visitors warn that making your mind up might be the trickiest part.
Bus service: X4, X5, 78, 554, 555
Bus stops: Keswick Bus Station
If you’re planning a trip to Ye Olde Friars, then ensure you leave yourself time, as you explore one of the market town’s most iconic old premises.
Spread across four shopfronts, you will discover something new on every visit – and repeat customers insist it has some sort of gravitational field, pulling you in.
From sweets and preserves to one-of-a-kind gifts, you’ll struggle not to find a gift for all the family here.
Bus service: X4, X5, 104, 508
Bus stops: Penrith bus station
The town is filled with independent shops, but here are just a few…
The Unicorn is described by visitors as simply “charming”, with an array of children’s toys, stunning prints, gifts and homeware on offer.
It is manned by friendly staff who are happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for – and those items you didn’t know you wanted.
If you are looking to share the magic of Cumbria, then look no further than The Lion Gallery.
From original artwork to Moorland pottery, every item epitomises that special something that our county boasts – and promises no recipient will be disappointed on Christmas morning.
Rheged might be just outside the town, but it offers the perfect outing if you’re looking to browse more than one shop.
Priding themselves on quality and beauty, the Westmorland family have ensured that the shops within the centre live up to that ethos.
Niche British makers, ethical brands and items you’re unlikely to find elsewhere are all nestled under one roof.
Bus service: 508
Bus stops: The Crown Hotel
Chestnut House has been described as everything from a ‘Cornucopia of delights’, to a ‘Tardis shop’ filled with an eclectic mix of wines, beers, spirits, food and drink.
Its owners are always on hand to offer advice – and samples – and with about 400 gins, 150 different whiskies, 100 different rums and a wide variety of local ales, their expertise is likely to be needed!
Bus service: Multiple services
Bus stops: Workington bus station
It may be called Strange and Beautiful, but there is nothing strange about this little gem.
Described by visitors as a “jewel of a shop”, you are guaranteed service with a smile – and a vast amount of knowledge.
Pop in to find your perfect present, but be prepared you may leave with more than you bargained for thanks to its irresistible offerings.
Bus service: Multiple services
Bus stops: Whitehaven Town Centre
From llama backpacks to rainbow lunch bags and candles, the range of gifts on offer at Little Whims will delight and astound.
Perhaps most delightful in this little shop is its pride in offering local gifts, created by artists and makers from the area.
Whoever you’re buying for, they won’t be disappointed.
Don’t forget to use the Stagecoach bus journey planner to find the best bus routes to get you there.
All you need to do is pop a few details into the Stagecoach bus route planner to find routes, times and up-to-date service announcements – https://www.stagecoachbus.com/plan-a-journey