Last weekend it was Father's Day and P decided that he'd like us to go for a stroll and a cup of tea in Frome, a town not too far away which is one of our favourite places to shop and pootle around in. We haven't been for a while and the afternoon was warm and sunny, so it was perfect for a bit of leisurely wandering.
Frome (pronounced froom) is a pretty Somerset town on the river Frome founded by the Romans, then the Saxons and mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has a rich history and has a high concentration of listed buildings, originally based around the wool and cloth industry. Most of its terraced cottages are weavers' cottages and are three stories high with the top floor originally a work space housing the weavers' looms. After falling a little into decline in recent years it has been rejuvenated and is now a thriving centre for arts and culture with a distinctly bohemian flavour, with an annual festival as well as regular artisan markets and vintage fairs.
We headed to St Catherine's Hill, a cobbled, steeply winding street which runs up and out of the centre and is the artisan quarter of Frome.
It's full of little independent shops of the vintage, craft, recycled and antiques variety, and is a fascinating place to while away an hour or so. Most of these shops are only open from Wednesday to Saturday, so as we were there on a Sunday they were closed, which is probably a good thing from my purse's point of view. As we wandered down I took photos of the shop fronts which we passed. There are reflections on some of them as it was such a sunny day it was hard to find angles to take my photos from.
Are you ready for a wander? Right, off we go ...
Here's my favourite yarn shop. The owners are very imaginative with their window displays and are always friendly and helpful.
Their window displays are usually seasonally-themed and I love to look at the crocheted blankets and knitted bunting and tea cosies.
This is a pretty shop full of lovely homewares and woolly sheep.
Next is my favourite bead shop.
I loved these colourful baskets in the window of another shop.
There are some gorgeous vintage clothes shops too.
As we walked down the hill, views of winding alleys and high pavements appeared around corners.
Here's a gorgeous sewing shop which sells the most wonderfully colourful collection of fabrics and pretty trimmings.
And now a shop selling soaps and toiletries made with herbs and natural ingredients. When it's open the scent wafting down the hill is very fragrant.
It was quite quiet on the hill with not many people around, which made photography much easier.
Some of the shops are quite quirky with some interesting objects like this old sign.
The vintage clothes shops are very appealing with pretty floral dresses in the windows.
Another quirky and creative little shop.
And this one which is an artists' collective - the felt masks were amazing.
Finally a lovely homewares shop which I've bought presents from many times, as well as things for our home.
After our stroll up and down the hill it was time for a coffee and a cake here, at one of our favourite cafes. There is a little courtyard garden at the back which was full on this sunny day, so we headed for the new 'next door' section where we all enjoyed a cake and hot drink.
It's a delicious-smelling vegetarian cafe which is also a wholefood shop. We have always enjoyed a snack here, and definitely approved of the new extension to the cafe. One day I'll show you the garden with its herbs, pots, water feature and quince tree. Here's the cosy interior.
Back at the bottom of the hill, it was time to head for home. I hope you enjoyed our little wander around this very old and pretty little town. Next time we visit I'll show you around a bit more x