South Hams District Council is supporting the District's Town Councils in a campaign to encourage visitors to safely return to the high street this Christmas-time. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on everyone and hard hit retail businesses are fighting for survival.
Buying Christmas presents is always a challenge, especially if on a budget, but there are a wide range of prices and gifts on offer to meet even the most discerning shopper's needs.
Don't forget the wealth of expert knowledge from local shopkeepers, who are on hand to help shoppers find those difficult-to-buy-for presents. So, head to the high streets, filled with festive lights, Christmas trees and a wonderful atmosphere, which you just can't find when buying online.
Are you searching for a different type of gift, perhaps something that is fair trade? Then pop into the lively town of Totnes and visit the fantastic variety of retailers and unique shops. This lovely market town has an enviable range of shops selling ethical products and delicious wholefoods. Talented stallholders have wonderful products on sale at the weekly markets, from jewellery, clothes to delicious food for the table or on the go.
Dart to beautiful Dartmouth with a wide selection of diverse, boutique and well-known shops, all within a historic setting. Wander the streets and you will soon tick off items on your Christmas shopping lists, whether clothing, shoes, pamper or bespoke gifts, it can all be found. Don't forget you can also find things for the sailing enthusiast or some incredible art from the many galleries within the town.
Just off the moors, Ivybridge is a great place to stock up for Christmas for those festive table goodies with free weekend parking in December. From delicious butcher or freshly baked food, to the local wines and ales, it can be found here. Make your home cosy and beautiful with stunning tableware, soft furnishings and interior design touches from a selection of stores. Wrap up warm from the clothes shops, or grab a stylish gift for the family and perhaps a little outfit for yourself at the same time. Or visit the weekend market selling a wide range of local goods and produce. While you are at it, book yourself in for a haircut and manicure too. Go on, you know you deserve it!
Locally made products, vintage items and beautiful antiques can all be found in Kingsbridge. A great place to explore with fantastic shops, where you can also find gifts aplenty for the DIY enthusiast, Great British Bake-off wannabees and quality toys for the children. If that is not enough, there are some great gift shops with individual products that you've been hunting for and even some you weren't.
Boutique, sailing and gift shops galore are on the shopping list for Salcombe. If you are searching for sailing paraphernalia, books, cards and gifts, or perhaps elegant boutiques and well-established high street clothes for young and old, then this is where you need to be. The quaint streets also offer art galleries, delicious food and drink for giving as well as eating now, and an abundance of choice
Cllr Judy Pearce, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: "It's been a hugely challenging time for local businesses since this pandemic began and we all need to play our part to support them at a time which is usually one of their busiest.
"We know residents are very nervous, but remember we have one of the lowest rates of infection in the South Hams in England, despite us being in Tier 2.
"We are asking if communities can stay local and shop local and support our businesses whatever they offer. We've given a snapshot of what is on offer to buy for gifts in the South Hams but remember as well as our shops, there are also the food and drink outlets, salons on offer which would usually benefit from Christmas pampering who are also losing out this year, so do what you can to help.
"We are continuing to support the high streets with support and financial aid and we are completely committed to doing what we can to help secure the towns' economic stability for the future."
Remember when out on the high street to stop for food, because a shopping trip would not be complete without stopping in one of the local cafés, pubs or restaurants for a delicious meal or afternoon tea. Don't forget a lot of our towns have wonderful markets with fresh produce and homemade wares which can make the perfect gifts.
In the run up to Christmas, all towns, along with the smaller ones of South Brent and Modbury, all have so much to offer and are a delight to visit. This year, more than ever, they need your support to help them to survive.
The COVID pandemic has taken its toll and shoppers may be nervous to go back to the high street, however strict measures are in place with hand sanitisers in shops, one-way systems in place, social distancing and the wearing of masks, (where possible) all in place to ensure your safety. South Hams District Council has been working closely with businesses to help keep you safe so you can shop with confidence.
To find out more about what is offer in the South Hams, go to: www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk/places/south-hams or contact the local Town Council for more information.
Alternatively, just pop along to any of the towns and be delighted at all on offer.