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Shop local this Christmas on Argyll's Secret Coast

Shop local this Christmas on Argyll's Secret Coast
For a completely different shopping experience this Christmas, why not head to Argyll’s Secret Coast? There are lots of opportunities to shop locally and you’ll find interesting galleries and shops selling hand-crafted items and other goodies. What’s more, you can avoid the crowds and enjoy stunning winter scenery as you explore the area. Combine your visit with a coastal ramble, a hearty lunch and a festive drink by the fire in one of our hotels.

Tighnabruaich Gallery is a fabulous place to pick up something special. As well as a stunning selection of contemporary art (check out the current ‘Where Beauty Sleeps’ exhibition), there’s jewellery, glass, ceramics, textiles and more. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday throughout December and there’s festive late-night shopping on Thursdays until 7pm. And to make your Christmas shopping as easy as possible, Robbie’s offering £20, £50 and £100 Christmas gift bundles featuring a selection of the gallery’s favourite makers. We love the rustic tableware by local maker Tom Butcher.

Your next stop is the Royal An Lochan. It’s a top spot for coffee or lunch, but it’s also home to the Harbour Gallery at The Royal. There’s work by local artists Stuart Herd and Anne Hewitt, both of whom are inspired by the Argyll landscape. The Royal also sells seaglass jewellery by Jane Ross of Seaglass From Scotland. Each piece is made from materials found on Scottish beaches and shorelines, some from the beach at Tighnabruaich right in front of the Royal an Lochan.

Duncan’s Village Store, just up the road in the village of Kames, is well worth a visit to stock up on some fine food and drink for the festive season. This traditional grocer stocks meat from the award-winning butcher Richard H McIntyre of Bute and game stalked by Winston Churchill on the outskirts of Dunoon, as well as a selection of specialty cheeses from all over Scotland, including Arran Cheddars and the famous Highland Black Crowdie. There’s also a great selection of wines, ales (including Fyne Ales) and whisky.

Follow the road around the coast to Carry Point until you reach Carry Farm with its unmistakable red roof. The Dairy at Carry is home to textiles made by Fiona McPhail from her Hebridean sheep. The sustainable Hebridean yarn is cared for, designed and handmade on site into textiles for the home. There is also functional and decorative earthenware ceramics made by Karen McPhail. The Dairy is closed during the winter, but if you call Fiona on 01700 811 717 she can arrange to open up.

Your next stop is The Shop at Portavadie, which is jam-packed with gifts for all ages and tastes. It’s a treasure-trove of coastal-inspired clothing, accessories, gifts and more. There’s iconic clothing brands such as Dubarry, Animal, Joules, O’Neill, Oakley and Quba & Co, a hand-picked selection of fine Scottish soaps, locally made goodies such as shortbread, nautical trinkets, creative games and toys, Scottish books, unique jewellery and gadgets galore. Plus there’s a brilliant selection of children’s toys, clothes and stocking fillers.

If you fancy striking out further afield, you can hop on the ferry at Portavadie to Tarbert, where you’ll find some cracking wee shops and galleries clustered around the harbour. It’s just a 30-minute ferry crossing and a 10-minute walk from the ferry to the shop. Don’t forget to pick up your fresh seafood from Prentice Seafoods on the way back.

Now that’s what we call Christmas shopping, Secret Coast style!
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