“ Address: The Tea Shop / Unit 6 / Holme Grange Craft Village / Heathlands Road / Wokingham / RG40 3AW / Tel: 01189 795125 „
Holme Grange Craft Village has developed from its rather humble beginnings into a destination which is interesting and enjoyable to visit. Although it comes under the Wokingham post code, it is in fact quite some distance from the town so visitors need transport to get there. Car parking is plentiful though and it's free.
The Craft Village, which is open 7 days a week, is home to 20 units including various retail outlets, workshops and hairdressers as well as a delicatessen and café. When I last visited about a month ago, a couple of the shops were closed and, in fact, one of the units was empty.
Although Holme Grange is called a craft village, and there are several craft-related units there, that isn't all that's available. There's an excellent delicatessen, called Pedro's, selling cooked meats, cheeses, chutneys, and jams, and at one end is a little teashopoffering a good selection of sandwiches, cakes and biscuits as well as hot and cold drinks. The café has some tables inside and also some outside in the courtyard. The prices are reasonable and they make a very good cup of coffee.
Several of the retail units sell handmade craft items ranging from fabric gifts to soft toys and greetings cards. There is also a gallery selling more art-based items, including some really beautiful ceramics.
One of my favourite shops is Silver by Design, which sells some unique pieces of silver jewellery, although they are rather pricey! Silver by Design also run jewellery making courses, although I haven't been on one of these so can't comment further.
One of the things I have done at the craft village is paint pottery. There is a great little shop called Pottery Pals where you can paint your own design on plain white pottery which the shop then glaze and fire in their kiln. You then call back a couple of days later to pick up your piece of art. Obviously, this isn't cheap and some of the pieces cost over £20 and that's before you've paid for your paints or glaze, but there are some cheaper items to paint such as badges, little animals and mugs, and you will have your own unique piece of pottery at the end of the process. If you don't have time to paint your own, the shop has plenty of ceramics already painted for you to buy.
Another must-visit shop is The Little Craft Barn. It's a treasure trove of handmade items and is a great place for unusual gifts.
Details of all the units at the Craft Village, including the ones I've mentioned already, are given on the website www.holmegrangecraftvillage.co.uk as well as directions on how to get there. It is well worth a visit and a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Finally, although this review is about the Craft Village, you may like to know that across the road is Grays Farm which is a pick-your-own farm, so when you've had enough of arts and crafts, you may like to replenish your larder with fruit and veg and if all that wasn't enough, Heathlands Garden Centre is also just a little further down the road.