Glorious Cornwall and heavenly Devon are packed with independents to champion. These are a few of our favourites.

Britain is awash with beautiful, inventive and idiosyncratic small businesses to sing about – and never have we wanted to celebrate them more. As part of a new series we will be showcasing the best each region in the British Isles has to offer, from foodie brands to indie businesses to places to stay to shops to browse. We will keep updating each guide; if you have a business you’d like to nominate, tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #GWGbestof.

Food and Drink


Brixham crab, Devon Red beef, Exe mussels, clotted cream: the south-west is renowned as the larder of England, growing, rearing and developing some of the UK’s very best artisan food and drink brands. Here are just a handful of our favourites, from cookery schools to producers.

Trewithen Dairy




Using milk from herds farmed by local families across the Glynn Valley in Cornwall, Trewithen Dairy creates beautiful farm produce with a modern Cornish feel. Missing your summer hols? Order a hamper for delivery anywhere in the UK and get a hit of scones, pasties and, of course, lashings of clotted cream.

Salcombe Gin




Blended with spring water from Dartmoor in one of the world’s only distilleries accessed directly by boat, award-winning Salcombe Gin creates a beautiful range of gins, as well as delicious rum and zero alcohol spirits too.

Baboo




Strictly speaking a Dorset brand, Baboo is nonetheless stocked extensively throughout Devon. Look out for the signature purple sign for an award-winning scoop of the freshest gelato in all the classic flavours, which are packed with home-grown fruit from founder Annie’s own smallholding. Look out for seasonal specialities including pear and plum sorbets.

Ashburton Cookery School




If you want to improve your cookery skills or take a foodie break in the south-west, Ashburton Cookery School has been running since 1992, offering day and weekend courses in a range of disciplines from chocolate making to sushi.

Pipers Farm




Founded in 1989 with a passion for sustainable, nature-friendly farming before it became trendy, online butchery Pipers Farm celebrates the provenance and artisan husbandry that is alive and well in the south- west. It connects consumers with ethical producers rearing native breeds via its meat boxes and pantry staples.

Pebblebed Wine




Close to the historic riverside town of Topsham, Pebblebed Wine produces sparkling and still wines to much acclaim, taking full advantage of the terroir and climate in its sunny corner of Devon. You can order online or, when restrictions allow, pop in for a full tour of the winery and possibly the best view from a vineyard we’ve seen.

Quicke’s Cheese




Making cheese for fourteen generations in its idyllic corner of Devon, Quicke’s clothbound cheddar is a work of art that has been honed over 500 years. Handmade, slow-matured and available to buy online in its curated ‘cheese boxes’, this is the perfect foodie gift by post.

Salcombe Dairy




Salcombe Dairy started out making ice cream in 1979, where the quality of the ingredients is key, with the principal ingredient coming from a local farm. Since then, the dairy has diversified and now produces bean to bar chocolate. In the 19th Century, Salcombe harbour was a port of call for ships carrying fruit, cacao, sugar and rum: all the perfect ingredients to pop in a bar of chocolate. This award winning chocolate, true to the dairy's name, is made in Salcombe and is available online. There are bars, hampers, tasting boxes, the latter of which is a great introduction to the brand.

Waterhouse Fayre




Waterhouse Fayre makes award winning handmade jams, preserves, chutneys and marmalades in the heart of Devon. They are handmade in small batches using the very best local produce. The company has won numerous awards, including the recent Taste of the West Awards 2020. You can shop the full range online.

Check out www.foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk for more brilliant food and drink brands in the south-west.

Hotels


Whether you want to retreat to the wilds of Dartmoor or the coves of Cornwall, quietly luxurious boltholes abound in the south-west. With honeymoon hideaways, family friendly stays and everything in between, there’s something for anyone looking for sea air and escapism, all close to home.

Gara Rock



Perched atop the cliffs in south Devon, Gara Rock makes the very most of its the wild coastline setting, which is perfect for bracing walks. Inside expect beautiful wood-clad interiors to retreat to, all of which make the most of that view. Add a cinema, a spa and local-sourced food for the perfect recipe to an unforgettable Devon getaway.

The Scarlett Hotel




This adults-only, eco-hotel in Mawgan Porth offers luxury, modern Cornish hospitality at its best. Laid back, with a Scandi vibe and a focus on slowing down, the glass-fronted pool and wood-fired hot tub are the perfect places from which to drink in views of the sandy bay below.

Hotel Endsleigh



Hotel Endsleigh is 100 acres of pure fairytale Devonian countryside, filled with grottos, follies and magical gardens as the river Tamar runs through its heart. It’s no surprise that the Duke of Bedford, who once owned half of Devon, chose it as his hunting and fishing lodge; these days its nineteen rooms, designed and owned by interior design doyenne, Olga Polizzi, make the dream getaway,

Salcombe Harbour Hotel




The buzz of Salcombe in the summer cannot be beaten. Stay at the heart of it all in the Salcombe Harbour Hotel. Perched on the shores of the estuary, the 50-room boutique hotel and spa has unrivalled views from the water’s edge.

Lympstone Manor



Extensively renovated and opened by Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines as a ‘country manor house for the 21st-century’, the handsome Georgian mansion sits atop rolling gardens and vineyards that meet the estuary. Of course, the food is second-to-none, but it is the sense of calm tranquility that makes Lympstone the perfect antidote to current times.

Pig at Combe


The Pig group has injected its own brand of eccentric fun into this Elizabethan estate, nestled in the ancient Otter Valley. The honey-stoned manor is filled with quirks and personality, while much of the ’25-mile menu’ comes from within the three walled kitchen gardens. Child-friendly and perfectly positioned to explore the market towns of Honiton and Axminster as well as the seaside towns of Sidmouth and Exmouth, do make sure you visit the artfully dishevelled folly for wood-fired pizzas to die for.

Artist Residence Cornwall



The Artist Residence outpost in Penzance has filled a historic inn with twenty-two eclectic, art-filled rooms, plus a cosy cottage with room for all the family (including the dog). Take in the views from the beach of the fairytale St Michael’s Mount, or have a dip in the listed Art Deco Lido.

Tresanton



Formerly a yacht club, the Tresanton (also from the Polizzi Collection) occupies a charming white-washed, harbour front setting in smart St. Mawes. Watch the sailing boats drift by and sink deep into the impeccably appointed interiors – artfully, effortlessly chic and filled with homely charm.

Discover more luxury breaks in Cornwall at Luxury Cornwall and quirky luxe self-catering pads in Devon at i-escape.

Shopping


What have Jack Wills, Crew Clothing, Seasalt Cornwall and Finisterre all got in common? They are all fashion brands that emerged from Devon, and some have never left. If you’re looking to buy a little slice of that laidback feel of life in the south-west, here are ten of our favourite independent brands and boutiques, from artisan homewares to ethical fashion and surf chic.

Cornishware




We defy anyone not think of Cornwall when they see one of these blue and white striped mugs, dreadnought jugs or jars: memories of summer holidays past. Cornishware was first produced in 1924 and its designs have barely changed - apart from offering crockery and kitchenware in a rainbow of colours. We particularly like the new espresso mugs, available in blue or red. Cornishware doesn't have its own store, but worry not, as it's stocked in a number of shops across the UK and ordering online is very easy.


Nkuku



Based in Devon, but with a heart in India, Nkuku stocks and celebrates artisan-made homewares, from metalwork to hand-blown glass, woven and carved furniture and lighting.

Finisterre



The epitome of a modern, sustainable outdoor living brand, Finisterre has been ‘sustainable as standard’ since 2003. First launched in Cornwall to meet the needs of hardy British surfers with high-tech yet eco-fabrics, the range continues to feature comfy, cool clothing with a minimal, outdoorsy vibe – still designed and based in its cliff-top St. Agnes HQ.

Hawksfield



A destination hub of independent Cornish businesses, Hawksfield in Wadebridge is home to interiors and lifestyle brand, Jo & Co Home, Zero-Waste Store, Replenish plus artist studios and foodie brands. Stop off for a mooch and refuel, whilst supporting local, innovative businesses.


Wow Sancho



Exeter-based Wow Sancho is leading the city’s sustainable, ethical movement – one conscious purchase at a time. Owned and run by Kalkidan Legesse, the shop not only stocks and supports Independent and black-owned brands, but walks the talk with a transparent pricing model too. An inspiring example of compassionate retail at its best.


Collate Interiors




No one champions or curates south-west makers and artists quite like independent shopkeeper, Naomi Eden. Her treasure trove of a shop in the market town of Axminster is as quirky and characterful as the owner, who sources vintage curios to sit alongside her range of hand-thrown pottery, hand-crafted beauty, candles, books and modern slow living ephemera.


Frugi



Based in Helston Cornwall but beloved by babies and stylish parents across the globe, Frugi has a colourful collection of comfy, organic cotton baby, kids and maternity clothes. Made ethically and designed to last.


Jam Industries



Jam Industries was inspired by not just the sport of surfing – but the lifestyle, culture and community too. Set up by a mother and her two sons in Devon, there are now have four stores stocking its laidback look of modern lifestyle loungewear and clothing – designed for those seeking a slice of ‘vitamin sea’, wherever they live.


Chambers & Beau



Set up in 2008 by jewellery designer Amy Elson after a decade of creating for major commercial brands, the handmade pieces are all crafted in her Devon studio and are full of rustic charm and simple elegance. She can create bespoke pieces for special occasions, or why not choose from her signature range of mixed metal designs.


Seek out more independent businesses in the south-west on Instagram using the hashtags #cornishbusiness and #devonbusiness

By Lydia Mansi
February 2021

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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