Having previously extolled the virtues of Bartholomew Street, I slipped round the corner into Inch’s Yard to explore even more delights.
For those not familiar with Inch’s Yard, if you are heading along Bartholomew Street past the Kennet Centre multi-storey car park and turn the corner into Market Street, Inch’s Yard is the small but beautifully formed collection of shops and offices on your right.
There is an eclectic mix here: Jones Robinson Estate Agents has a fine position on the corner and much to view in the window, though the husband and I are well settled so no thoughts of moving for us. Most noticeable in Inch’s Yard is the petite and unusually shaped building that is home to Coffee +. They have a small number of tables inside and out if you want to take a break (and as you know, I’m always ready for a coffee), but their takeaway service is clearly immensely popular and offers all things good for lunch or a filling snack – such as salad boxes, baguettes and jacket potatoes.
Tucked behind here is the lovely Rainbows craft and gift shop, a treasure trove of goodies – including buttons, embroidery threads, fabric remnants and much, much more – for everyone who enjoys crafting. If you’re looking for a small gift for someone they are certainly worth a look, too – I have my eye on some very pretty earrings.
One of their neighbours is Ryan’s Newbury Antiques and Collectables. If like me you enjoy some of the antique programmes on TV (don’t you just love ‘Antiques Road Trip’?) you will thoroughly enjoy visiting this shop for its well-presented, clearly displayed array of fascinating artefacts from a small handful of dealers. I love the fact that you can browse here at leisure, with no pressure to buy. But there is so much here to catch the eye – pictures, furniture, ceramics, stamps, jewellery, records, books, glass, silver, militaria and curios – it would be pretty hard to resist, and the items are not over-priced. Nostalgia definitely rules here and I would defy anyone of a certain age to visit and not say, ‘I remember my granny/parents/great uncle Ernest having one of those!’
Then there is Studio Thai restaurant and bar, whose name speaks for itself. They have an extensive menu, and a tempting range of cocktails ... so tempting that I shall be dropping heavy hints to the husband about a visit very soon.
Family-run Fires N’Grates truly are ‘the fireplace people’ (wish I’d known about them when I was hunting for a new fireplace a couple of years ago). They have a great (or should that be grate?) selection of fires (gas, electric and solid fuel), fire surrounds and fireplace accessories. Definitely worth a visit when you are next updating this focal point of your home for their expert advice on choosing the right piece for you.
If you are thinking about taking the plunge and trying a new hairstyle, independent Julian’s Hair Salon, for men and women, is well worth considering. Their fresh, bright, modern premises are in an imposing position in Inch’s Yard and both new and existing customers are offered a free 15-minute consultation (even for bird’s nests like mine) when they are thinking of updating their look. Julian’s has been established for nearly 30 years and is much involved with the local community, with fund raising activities taking place throughout the year – and it sounds as if there is much fun to be had in the process.
Gosh – Inch’s Yard may be small but they certainly pack a punch with all they have to offer! Do pop along and see them soon – and tell them Biddy sent you!