Unique gift ideas
Museum, gallery and attraction shops are great places to buy special one-off gifts. Not only do you get to enjoy the attraction itself, you can bring home a unique gift with a special story behind it, tied to one of Britain’s famous institutions. Here are some of our favourites.
V&A Museum, London
Once you’ve admired the handiwork of world cultures in the lofty, elegant halls of the V&A, buy some classy gifts from its equally elegant shop. As you might expect, its wares are inspired by the myriad styles, eras and materials found on show in the museum itself, so you can find some truly beautiful things here. You’ll find designer jewellery inspired by vintage Hollywood icons, Medieval, Renaissance and Modernist-themed treasures, vintage Christmas cards, winter-wear, tea-sets and lots more. Purchases go towards supporting the museum.
If you think you’ve seen cuddly toys – think again. In London Zoo’s main shop the overwhelming variety of possible sizes, species and colours that cuddly toys come in will leave you awe-struck. Whether you fancy monkeys, alligators, wolves, bears, snakes or tigers – you’ll find a beautifully made cuddly version here. You’ll also find a host of other great gifts, from hand-made fairy lights to musical instruments, masks, books and plenty more.
Tate Gallery Shops, London, Liverpool and St Ives
While a Picasso might be a few million over budget for a souvenir for the folks back home, a book on Picasso or a print might suffice. The Tate’s Gallery Shops are renowned for their quality and variety of goods, which range from excellent coffee-table books on artists to art supplies, sketch pads, note books and art-accessories. You’ll also find jewellery, home-ware, and lots of unique gifts designed exclusively for Tate by world-famous artists. Purchases help to support the Tate Modern.
The Royal Academy, London
One of London’s leading art galleries is also home to one of London’s classiest gallery shops. Here you’ll find unique designer pieces made to commemorate each of its major exhibitions, including the permanent display of David Hockney’s works. You’ll find everything from high quality glassware to jewellery, clothing and accessories, Christmas cards and of course, spectacular prints of the gallery’s artworks. All purchases help to support the Royal Academy.
Roald Dahl Museum, Buckinghamshire
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre takes visitors into the writing hut of the legendary children’s book author, and into the fabulous worlds and characters he created there. As you might expect, the shop here is an excellent place for kids’ gifts, not least because you get 30% off all Roald Dahl titles. You’ll also find audio-books, DVDs, clothes, prints and activity sets to keep kids entertained.
Lady Lever art Gallery, Liverpool
One of Liverpool’s grandest museums, the Lady Lever Art Gallery showcases a huge collection of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts – including one of the world’s largest collections of Wedgewood pottery. Shop for books, postcards and prints in its well-stocked shop, as well as jewellery and unique gifts inspired by the gallery’s temporary exhibitions.
British Museum, London
Discover the world’s rich and dramatic history at the British Museum and marvel at the vast collection of world cultures represented in its artefacts. Then take home some finely made gifts from its shop as presents. You’ll find books, sculpture, jewellery and art, with a host of high-quality reproductions of original museum pieces among the shop’s finest wares – you’ll find Burmese Buddhas, Egyptian vases, and solid-silver Roman goblets. There’s an excellent selection of history-themed children’s toys, books and costumes too.
Science Museum Shop, London
The Science Museum is one of London’s foremost attractions thanks to its creative and engaging exhibits, hands-on science activities and spectacular demonstrations. Its shop is also very impressive, and a great place to get your hands on exciting technology, clever toys and all things science. Chemistry sets, radio-controlled helicopters, rainbow projectors, GPS gadgets and night-vision goggles are just a few of its scientifically-minded wares. The museum is free so you can drop in as often as you like.