Connect with us


Revealed: Britain’s best village shops of 2024



Revealed: Britain’s best village shops of 2024

Most people in Britain, in cities and large towns especially, frequent their corner shops for little more than a pint of milk or packet of bacon. But some in rural pockets across the country call on their local vendors for much, much more than this.

Across the country there are very special shops that provide a lifeline to locals and visitors alike. They act as hubs for their communities, with staff that go well above and beyond the remit of any ordinary shopkeeper. 

At a time when rural communities and even large villages are losing their banks, post offices, pubs, shops and bus routes – of which there was a loss of 20 per cent last year – such local shops often become crucial to small communities that would struggle to get their needs met if they weren’t there. 

There can be no better example of this than the finalists of this year’s Countryside Alliance Village Shop awards, sometimes called the “rural Oscars”, which is sponsored by The Telegraph.

Each of the shops below has been voted a regional winner and is now in competition for the national title, to be announced at the House of Lords on June 25. Here they explain what they do for their local communities and just what it is that makes their businesses so special. 

Garboldisham Village Store and PO

Ten years ago Robbie Starling, 57, and his wife Kelly were set to relocate from London to Botswana for their jobs with diamond companies. “But one day she just woke up and said, let’s sell the house, get out of the rat race and buy a small business,” Robbie says.

That’s how the couple and their two children ended up relocating to the Norfolk village of Garboldisham, in January 2014. The previous owners of the Garboldisham Village Store had been slightly lacking in their approach to its management so on the family’s first day of trading “it was heaving,” Robbie says. “Everyone was keen to come in and see who this couple from the diamond world in London were.” 

Continue Reading