Any suggestions for a classically British baby gift?
The royal baby may well see its face on a coin sometime in the future, but it’s not just the offspring of kings and queens that can have the honor of a special coin in their name. Commemorate a baby’s birth with a gift from The Royal Mint; the prestigious UK coin manufacturer offers a special baby and christening selection. Bring baby lifelong luck with a Lucky Silver Sixpence or go for gold with either the UK Britannia Gold Proof Ten-Ounce coin or the Sovereign Baby Gift. The latter contains one of The Royal Mint’s most historically renowned coins: the 22 carat British Gold Sovereign.
A special keepsake is always a welcome and with Britain internationally recognized for its high-quality pottery and ceramics – Wedgwood and Royal Doulton are just two well-known names – china, crystal or silver gift sets for babies have long been a popular choice. Wedgwood collections include chinaware featuring Beatrix Potter's original drawings of much-loved characters such as Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck. The well-stocked shop at the Wedgwood Museum, in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, is an ideal place to browse for gifts and visitors can tie in a trip to the Wedgwood Visitor Centre to enjoy special factory tours.
The royal baby’s grandfather, HRH Prince Charles, may well buy his first grandchild a blanket made of the softest Welsh wool. As Patron of the Campaign for Wool, he recently visited the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre, Carmarthenshire, west Wales to highlight the campaign and the wool trade. This is an area well-known for its commercialization of wool and many small businesses use local wool to create lusciously soft baby blankets.
Sheepskin booties, mittens, stroller liners or rugs will keep baby cosy and snug. From the Scottish Borders, up to the Highlands and the Scottish islands, you will find independent manufacturers and suppliers of hand-made sheepskin products that make a great baby gift, especially in chilly winter months. See Visit Scotland’s website to find out more about shopping for traditional goods.
The royal baby will enjoy a luxurious lifestyle – where can I find a luxury baby gift?
From the elegant Regent Street and Bond Street in London and Multrees Walk in Edinburgh to the stylish Victoria Quarter in Leeds and the chic Selfridges Manchester Exchange, luxury brands are ubiquitous across Britain’s cities. Baby can be the best dressed in town as iconic stores Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols stock British born-and-bred designs, all tailor-made for baby – including Paul Smith, Burberry and Barbour – as well as internationally renowned designer items ranging from Christian Dior to Armani and Versace. Just make sure baby is wearing a bib when wearing these smart clothes.
You might see the Duchess of Cambridge taking her baby out for a walk in a Silver Cross stroller – all of the Queen’s children and Princess Diana were wheeled around in the legendary brand and the strollers’ contemporary designs are popular across the world. The Silver Cross stroller was invented by William Wilson from Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1877, and they are still being manufactured in Yorkshire today.
What if I’m searching for a gift that’s quirky with a contemporary twist – I’d like it to stand out from the crowd?
Fun clothes are a good place to start; if the baby’s parents support a British soccer team, why not purchase a football kit for baby? If you’re off to watch one of the big Premier League soccer teams play – Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal – tie in a trip to their stores where a whole range of logoed baby paraphernalia can be found from clothes to teddy bears, rattles to mini soccer balls.
For memories of a trip to London, give baby a London Underground-themed sleepsuit from the VisitBritain shop.
It’s worth remembering that many museums have fantastic gift shops with unusual toy ideas. Start their education from an early age with soft toy dinosaurs from the Natural History Museum and Shakespeare or Roman soldier toy ducks from the British Museum.
I think I’d like to give something a little more traditional.
Why not try a personalized, silver feeding set containing a silver cup, spoon and fork? Opinion is divided on its origins. There are reports that the giving of the set goes as far back as the Tudor royal court, while elsewhere, that it began in the 1700s when it was deemed healthier to feed a baby with a silver spoon. Whatever its roots, a silver feeding set is a lovely tradition and a charming keepsake. Silver manufacturing has a long, rich history in the UK, one which can still be explored in surviving historic factories today, such as J.W. Evans Silver Factory in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, just 90 minutes from London.
Every baby needs a teddy bear and the definitive toy emporium Hamleys, on London’s Regent Street, is a one-stop-shop of delightful gifts for baby and children of all ages. The world’s largest toy shop stocks classic British brands such as The Great British Teddy Bear Company, which creates teddy bears dressed in iconic British costumes.
Toys of much-loved childhood characters also make classic gifts. Fans of Winnie-the-Pooh, created by British author A A Milne, can visit the Pooh Corner Shop– in Hartfield, East Sussex, just over an hour from London. It sells a huge selection of Pooh-related gifts, as well as running Piglet’s Tea Room and is a one-stop-shop of information on real Pooh country.
Elsewhere, a Paddington Bear gift – the marmalade-loving bear from Darkest Peru, created by Michael Bond – can be found just about anywhere and Paddington Bear is often popping up at exhibitions throughout Britain. He’s been touring bookshops, railway stations and even Harrods. Next year sees him continue with the V&A Museum of Childhood’s touring exhibition: Teddy Bear Story, (visiting the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, in Sunderland, North East England), before he stars in the animated movie of his life, Paddington Bear, due out for release from 2014 onwards.
See VisitBritain Shop for baby gift ideas, including London Underground themed baby outfits! www.visitbritainshop.com
Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire is under 3 hours from London www.visitstoke.co.uk
The nearest airport to Carmarthenshire is Cardiff Airport, around 50 miles away.
Hartfield, East Sussex, is just over an hour from London www.visitsussex.org
More on Yorkshire can be found at www.yorkshire.com
More on Birmingham can be found at www.visitbirmingham.com
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com