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My Top 10 Independents when Shopping in St Albans

By Emma McNamee – 22nd February 2020

Spoilt for choice by fabulous independent businesses

Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, a birthday or just because… there are plenty of places to go gift shopping in St Albans.   Even in lockdown, many resilient and independent small business owners are making their goods available online or via various social media channels, with delivery or click and collect options available.  So just because their doors may not be open, it doesn’t mean you can’t explore their offerings online, call to discuss your requirements and indulge in some virtual shopping.


So here below are my personal top ten favourite indie businesses when shopping in St Albans, whether it’s for myself or for a gift.

Books on the Hill

A charming and inviting, old-fashioned bookshop with plenty of ideas and events for the reading enthusiast.   From rare First Editions in their Curiosity Cabinet to new fiction, local authors to vintage Penguin publications, you could lose yourself in there for hours!  Who doesn’t love a good read?!

Mother’s Day gift idea: Books are very personal, but I bought my Mum a signed edition of David Bailey’s autobiography ‘Look Again’ here for Christmas



Cellar Door Wines

Walking off the Verulam Industrial Estate car park in to Cellar Door Wines you are transported in to a wine lover’s paradise, complete with tasting area, barrels and grapes.  Wines are organised by style rather than country or region, so it encourages you to explore new wines according to your taste buds.  Good advice is also on hand and with same day local delivery for orders placed before 2pm, you will never go without!  They have a wine club subscription, and now hold regular virtual wine tasting evenings.

Mother’s Day gift idea: WorldClass Women in Wine 2 bottle gift set (£68)



The Dressing Room

There’s no surprise that this independent fashion retailer has won countless awards.  Not only have they got it just right inside their womens’ clothes store with trained stylists on hand and excellent customer service, but they’ve also made their shop and wares accessible globally via their website and social media channels.  The owner personally sources all their goods from multiple premium brands around the world, bringing the latest trends and fashion to the forefront.  It’s always an enjoyable experience visiting The Dressing Room when shopping in St Albans and there’s plenty of gift ideas too from jewellery to scarves, bags to fragrances.

Mother’s Day gift idea: Emu Mayberry Crossover Sheepskin Slipper Slides (£49)



Chloe James Lifestyle

Another firm fixture when shopping in St Albans, this independent lifestyle fashion shop on the High Street has been inspiring women with affordable style since 2010.  Small and cosy inside but with carefully sourced clothes and fashion accessories to add some glamour to your wardrobe or gift a friend.

Mother’s Day gift idea: Leopard Stripe Scarf, as featured on ITV’s Lorraine (£20)



Raindrops on Roses

A gift shop with a difference and greater cause behind it, as it’s run by an enthusiastic team of volunteers with all profits donated to Action Against Cancer.   Many of their products are from local businesses and suppliers, supporting the local community too.  What better place to buy a gift?  From prints and frames to scarves and pamper gifts, jewellery and mugs to vases and books there’s no shortage of gift ideas.

Mother’s Day gift idea: Mum Power book – Kick-Ass Quotes for Mighty Mums (£6.99)




With a slogan ‘for inspired living’ you know you’re going to be in for some beautiful homewares, interiors & gifts when you’re shopping in St Albans and checking out their offerings.   From wall art to mirrors, candles to coasters, furniture to chinaware and ornaments to soft furnishings, there is something for everyone, and some really unique ,quirky gift ideas within that too.  Cositas now have 2 shops in St. Albans – one focused on their home interiors and one specialised in gifts.  They also hold workshops from furniture painting to acrylic pour art, which can make a great gift for someone as we all love to get our creative on.  They are also stockists of furniture paint and painting accessories and have a wealth of experience in this area to share with you.

Mother’s Day gift idea: Christian Lacroix Playing Cards (£36)

I bought my Mum these very special double deck of playing cards for her last birthday as she regularly plays cards with friends, and she loved them!



Flower Box

This local florist recently moved to larger premises on George Street and as a result were able to further expand their offering beyond flowers and plants to include some stunning home interior products such as vases, home fragrances, lighting and furniture.  They also run a flower school, with workshops taught by professionals so you can learn to create beautiful floral arrangements too.

Mother’s Day gift idea: A flower arranging workshop would be the perfect gift, but as that’s not possible now, aside from ordering one of their Signature Hat Boxes of flowers for delivery, I’d also highly recommend their range of Ashleigh & Burwood Wild Thing diffusers



If you’re looking for jewellery you will be spoilt for choice and design here as Galio has one of the widest collections of both contemporary and fine jewellery in the country as well as being authorised sellers for many fine watch brands.  Owners Sarah & David have extensive experience in the jewellery trade and it’s all about personalised service and matching the customer or requirements to the perfect piece.

Mother’s Day gift idea: Sif Jakobs Ellera Piccolo earrings (£49)



Fleetville Larder

If you’re a cheese lover or looking to buy a gift for a cheese lover then why not have a gift hamper made up from this independent delicatessen and coffee shop?  You can make it bespoke to your requirements adding in anything from the Larder’s shelves of tasty goodies, from biscuits to chutneys, chocolates to wines.

Mother’s Day gift idea: a hamper full of cheese and savoury goodies, with a bottle of red to wash it down!



Tomoka Spirits

This independent fine spirits and champagne boutique is cute and cosy but packed with a fabulous selection of bottles when you’re shopping in St Albans.  It’s been my go-to shop for picking up whisky or gin for my husband over the years as they know their stuff, so I can get good advice and pick him up something new that he’s not tried before, but to his taste preferences.  They won IWSC International Spirits Retailer of the Year 2018 and hold many tasting events which are currently taking place online.

Mother’s Day gift idea: Gin Hamper – costs subject to selection



Emma xoxo


These are Girl About recommendations. This means that nothing was gifted in return for a review.  We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

Emma McNamee
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