Church Gate – a plethora of craft shops

Loughborough is a large town in the East Midlands. It has an excellent university (HQ for Team GB during London 2012), several fantastic markets, lots of Victorian terraces, many Art Deco buildings in the town centre, a small medieval area, one of the few working bell foundries in the UK and a double-track steam railway. Very quietly, over the last few years, several small independent craft shops have been opening along Church Gate, a short pedestrian street between the market place and the medieval area.

Let’s go for a walk! Start at the market place and cross over High Street and walk a few metres along Biggin Street until you see the iron arch indicating the start of Church Gate. Pass under the arch and take a short detour along Churchgate Mews and you will find Teddy Bear Hollow, which is full of bears and their friends. Be brave, go inside and upstairs and you will find That’s Really Crafty, a mecca for card making and other papercrafts.

Teddy Bear Hollow, 2 Churchgate Mews

Return to Church Gate, walk a short distance and on your left, you will find Superchoice, another shop in disguise. Walk past the cards and you will find more papercraft materials, as well as all sorts of art materials. It is amazing how much is in this shop! Note: Superchoice has recently closed.

Superchoice, 15 Church Gate

Next door is Creations, a pottery shop, where you can buy pottery or paint your own. Lots of fun to be had here! Note: Creations has recently closed.

Creations, 16 Church Gate

Next to this is Jackdaw Bygones. This isn’t a craft shop but sells vintage textiles and pots, and I suspect that most of us who like crafts will like this shop as well. Note: Jackdaw has recently closed.

Jackdaw Bygones, 17 Church Gate

One along is Quorn Country Crafts, the longest established craft shop on this street. They sell materials for patchwork, quilting, sewing and knitting, and run workshops for these crafts. Note: Quorn Country Crafts has moved to East Leake.

Quorn Country Crafts, 18 Church Gate

Next door (yes they are all in a row) is Gallery 18, an art gallery that also offers bespoke framing, Giclee digital printing, as well as more workshops.

Gallery 18, 18a Church Gate

In your excitement about all these interesting shops, you may have missed the other side of the street. Turn around and you will see Bojangle Beads, who will entice you in with some of the best window displays in town. And they run workshops as well. Note: Bojangle Beads has closed.

Bojangle Beads, 50 Church Gate

What? You need to recover! Or at least think about what to buy and which workshop to do. Conveniently there are several good independent coffee shops in town and the nearest is next door to the bead shop