Do you know what time it is? Vintage Roadtrip Time! This time I took an adventure down to the Scottish Borders to see what fun treats and treasures I could find. Dumfries and Galloway, Moffat, Carlisle, Wigtown, Newton Stewart and Whithorn are all on my hit list for places worth visiting if you’re hunting for retro, quirky, unique and FUN things to do when you’re in that part of the world. Don’t believe me? Well check out all the amazing places I discovered!
Moffat is not only home to the insanely sweet and delicious Moffat Toffee (…and naturally the Moffat Toffee Shop) but it also has one of my favourite museums. Theres a great little antiques store brimming with trinkets and treasures and plenty of jewellery called Lothlorien Emporium. BUT, if you wander upstairs, you will find the coolest Toy Collection in Scotland! Bubblegum cards, robots, star trek, comics and a million things in between, this place is heaven for a gal like me. They even have a homage to JFK and the moon landing – be still my heart! Theres a similar one of these in Callandar which is also 100% worth the visit, so if you’re on the road and get the chance, it’s a must. Opening times vary, so google in advance. PS, the Moffat one is just around the corner from the adorable Caroles Milkbar which was sadly closed when I was in town, but it’s top of my list for a sugar injection before going back on the road.
Thistle Vintage can be found in Castle Douglas next to The Schoolhouse, a cute little cafe that’s got great parking and lots of cake. I got a little bit confused trying to find this place so called up the store and got very helpful directions and a very warm welcome. This place is a wee roadside wonder, packed to the celling with vintage goodies from all eras. I picked up a couple of adorable items in here including a vintage seashell ice caddy which is so delicate and pretty I doubt it’s ever been used! The owner offered to do a discount as it was more than one item which is incredibly generous and kind, not to mention greatly appreciated. Knowing these items are going to a loving home makes a big difference to vintage sellers; a lot of items can be very hard to part with remember! FYI, she also gets some stunning vintage clothing in occasionally, so if you’re looking for something specific you can drop her an email via the website or even visit her ebay store to snag a bargain.
If you’re a bookworm like me, you’d love to get lost in Scotland’s biggest second hand bookshop for a few hours. Home to some of the greatest love stories and an excellent collection of Elvis books (apologies, I did buy quite a few so the quantity has dropped a little!), The Bookshop has unsurprisingly become my favourite book store in Scotland. Wigtown is actually Scotland’s National Book Town – who knew?! And it certainly lives up to expectation; there are quite a few book shops there, plus a couple of cute cafes for good measure. If you’re visiting late September you’re in for a treat as it’s the Book Festival too, so if you’re an avid reader, plan accordingly!
I’m going to be totally honest here, when I visited Dolly Daydream’s Vintage Clothing shop in Newton Stewart, I didn’t just fall in love with the shop. I fell in love with Dolly herself too! Home to a cracking selection of genuine vintage and vintage reproduction brands such as Collectif, Lindy Bop, Tatyana and Pin Up Couture, there was no way in hell I wasn’t leaving without a whole new look. I tried on almost half the shop – bags, shoes, the whole sh-bang, and found it very hard to leave behind some real gems. Don’t panic, I did come home with some beautiful rockabilly style high waisted trousers and a Micheline Pitt dress, but I know exactly what I want next. Dolly is really sweet and friendly and even invited me to a lindy bop dance at the end of the week – I was so gutted to be gone before then! If you’re in the market for 40-60s outfits both old and new, this is the best place in the borders to go… and I’m hard pushed to think of a similar shop in central Scotland that could match it’s selection. You can tell that every piece in there has been selected from a sincere passion and you could easily talk for hours over outfit choices for an occasion. Make sure to check opening hours as the store is closed a few days of the week, but if you call in advance you can arrange an appointment so you don’t miss out.
Creeping out a little further, I couldn’t resist a visit to Carlisle after a little birdie gave me a tip about this last place… And by gosh, I’m glad she did! There is so many things I loved about Warwick Bazarr when I first walked in, but it’s hard to know where to start explaining. Situated in the centre of Carlisle, this is a true Aladin’s Cave of wonders as it has several stories of joy in the building. It just goes on and on! From vintage record rooms to twee vintage rooms, jewellery, instruments, antiques and collectables, this place is JUMPING. One of my favourite sellers from various vintage markets, Goodbye Norma Jean is also based here, so you know you’re going to be in for a treat before you’ve even entered her space. You could literally spend hours browsing and a fortune buying in here, there is such a vast variety. Although each room is a different seller, you can wander round the whole place picking out what you want and pay for it at the main cash desk. Just remember where they live if you’re going to put stuff back, it’s a bit of a maze! I left with a beautiful blue Marilyn Monroe scarf and a vintage kitty cat Avon bottle. Defo worth the detour!
There’s also another vintage shop down the road in a beautiful old church; Carlisle Antique Centre, but it’s more furniture and collectables, though there is clothing upstairs. I found it a bit too modern for me (and the guy in there was kinda rude, so I doubt I’d go back) but for those in the area I would say pop in because you never know what to expect. Please note these pictures are all of Warwick Bazarr, so enjoy the surprise when you get in the antiques centre!
Last, but by no means least, I have the ultimate place to stay if you’re a fan of extreme vintage. The Pend is a beautiful medieval cottage which played home to me for the few days of my adventure. Built in the 1700s and restored to the Georgian period, it’s possibly the most unique building I’ve ever stayed in. With a real fire, four poster bed and -don’t panic- wifi and all mod cons, it’s like living in a dreamland! Sadly for me, there were no ghosts when I was home. Paranormal-phobics, you will have a good nights sleep and a super chilled out stay 🙂
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a secret getaway, a vintage adventure or a book bonanza, I totally recommend visiting the Scottish Borders, which is something even I did not see happening…
Planning a road trip in Scotland? Read my earlier review on the best vintage shops in Aberdeen