Sudbury does not hold back at Christmas, the festive hospitality of our small but mighty Town is just the tonic for grey, cold days as winter sets in. The moment those lights go on, that’s it, pour me an eggnog, resistance is futile.
I’d challenge even the Scroogiest of Christmas resisters to not fill with Christmas cheer at the sight of the Dickensian magic of Angelo Smith’s festive window filled with sparkling skaters and jewel encrusted creatures. It comes as no surprise that Angelo Smith, one of Sudbury’s oldest independent businesses, was the deserving winner of last year’s Christmas window display competition.
Images L-R: Angelo Smith, Lipstick & Locks, Perfect Presents, Juniper Flowers, all on North Street.
For many years now Sudbury has celebrated the creativity of our retailers with a Christmas Window display competition, it’s a fantastic opportunity for Sudbury’s shops to show off their business and attract new loyal customers. It’s been a record year with over 60 shops, businesses + cafés taking part with a whopping 870 of you taking the time to vote for your favourite shop display – thank you!
As Sudbury Town Council’s newly appointed Town Centre Manager (hello!) I was invited to join a panel of judges to decide our favourite window display – so the judges’ votes and public votes will decide this year’s overall winner to be announced on Monday 23rd December. So, on Thursday 19th December, as Sudbury’s shops, cafes and businesses are donning their finest festive garb, I hit the streets of Sudbury Town with Penny Wilby (thebestof Sudbury) who is at the reins of year’s window display competition, Robert Spivey (The Mayor of Sudbury) and Richard Upton (Partner and Deputy branch Manager at Waitrose Sudbury – supplying this years prize hamper for one lucky voter ). This year’s competition is also being supported by The Suffolk Free Press who will be featuring the winners in their Christmas edition.
Images L-R: Number 72, White Nettle, Mr Barbers, Rafi's Spicebox, Barnado's and Jamie's Meat Inn all North Street and North St Parade.
With just a few shopping days before Christmas, and with the market in full swing, it was a joy to see Sudbury’s streets bustling and shop windows looking heart-warmingly full of festive cheer. As we strolled up North Street, meandered around Market Hill, sauntered down Station Road and enjoyed the postcard perfection of Gainsborough Street and Friars Street, we were blown away by the inventiveness and personality of each display.
Images L-R: We were greeted by this guy as we admired Blushington Beauty's creation, Ree's Cafe, Asters, The Barbershop and Fanboo along Kings St., East St. and Borhamgate.
From the beautiful hand crafted paper cut snowflakes at Rafi’s Spicebox, the pertinent message of a green, clean and plastic-free Christmas at Health Foods For You, the lovely new vegan art café White Nettle has pulled it out the bag with a fantastically crafty arrangement and on point message to boot (welcome to Sudbury White Nettle), the brilliantly playful and upcycled display at Mandy’s Jewellery deserves a mention, as does the collaborative spirit of Ree’s Café’s window, featuring snowmen created by their mini customers! We had to double take at Number 72 on North Street as their brilliant Dickensian display stretches from the window right into their cosy café and the animal lovers among you will love Amor Interiors’ menagerie of Christmas creatures climbing all over their stunning sofas, tables and rugs. There are a multitude of artful displays around town, it really is worth taking the time to appreciate these festive artworks to ease any last minute Christmas panics!
Images L-R: Winch & Blatch, The Codfather, Market Hill Photography, Lydia Turkish Kitchen, Fatface and Wardale Williams on Market Hill and Gainsborough Street.
No one can deny it’s a challenging time for highstreets across the UK, a grossly outdated Business rates system (although there may be some long overdue respite on the horizon), inflating rents and go on, lets blame the internet again. With these challenges in mind, paired with the relentless energy and creativity of Sudbury’s businesses shouldn’t we all play our part by doing at least some of our Christmas shopping in town this year? You might just discover your new favourite shop or hang out…
Images L-R: St Nicholas Hospice Shop, Oxfam, Rainbow House, Bazaar on Gainsborughs Street and Friars Street.
Online shopping serves a purpose but you can’t rummage through second hand books, find that perfect pre-loved coat, put together a bespoke bouquet of flowers to say thank you, join a craft group, get those roots done before a date, people watch, catch up with friends over a pint, choose the perfect punnet of strawberries and essentially be a vital part of the community and local economy.
Images L-R: AMOR Interiors, Shear Genius, The Jewellery Studio, The Strawberry Teapot Tearoom and Alvita Boutique on Friars Street
I love Sudbury, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my job! I’ve been visiting, shopping and socialising in Sudbury ever since I moved to the area 5 years ago. I love the walks, the fascinating history, the beer in The Brewery Tap, the scampi in The Codfather, the full English Breakfasts in Huffers, delving into Sudbury's history in The Heritage Centre, finding pre-loved and vintage bargains in St Nicholas Hospice Shop, Oxfam et al (Sudbury has the best chazza shops in Britain, trust me, I’ve done the research…), the art supplies and friendly framing advice in Goslings, the treasure trove that is Winch & Blatch… I could go on.
Images L-R: We had a giggle at Coversure's mini pop up Sudbury, Mandy's, Javelin, Sunflowers Florist and Goslings all on Station Road
So, whether you’ve lived in Sudbury a while or are planning to come visit for the first time, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. We’ll also be laying on extra markets on Mon (23rd) and Christmas Eve so you can grab your Christmas dinner sprouts, spuds, and the all important Boxing Day fromage.
If you’re looking to get to know Sudbury in the new year our Tourist Info Centre based in the jaw-droppingly beautiful library is a great place to start. The TIC staff have boundless local knowledge and will be happy to help you discover Sudbury and surrounds this festive season and beyond.
Voting is now closed for Sudbury’s Christmas Window Display Competition 2019 but the Town is very much open. Many shops are open up until and on Christmas eve, many with their winter sales underway. Most of our pubs and restaurants are open throughout the festive season. Don’t forget you can also come and grab your Christmas fresh produce at our extra Christmas eve market!
The winning shop and runners up will be announced on Monday 23rd December, and the prize draw will take place to announce which of our public voters will win the Waitrose Hamper!
Watch this space! Click here for more on this year’s competition on thebestof Sudbury and we hope to see more businesses taking part next year!
Rachel Price, Town Centre Manager, Sudbury Town Council
To get in touch you can e-mail me on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01787 372331.
For more information on a pitch on Sudbury's market on Thursdays and Saturdays > https://www.sudburytowncouncil.co.uk/the-market