‘Delicious’ Habitat Cafe, Aberfeldy

Cafe and food shop selling local, ethical and organic produce. No muzac by design and very good food. The apple strudel we bought for our supper was amazing.


Vane Farm Nature Centre

An RSPB reserve with several hides along the shore of Loch Leven and woodland walks on the hill above the centre.

There’s a shop downstairs and a quiet cafe above with telescopes by the windows to look at the wildlife on the shore and the Loch. Good coffee and unusually good cafe food. The chef has removed speakers and has resisted attempts to introduce background music.

A good place to stop off for rest and refreshment on the drive north to Perth and the Highlands.


The Secret Herb Garden

A lovely place to visit just south of Edinburgh. Have coffee and cake in a large greenhouse full of growing things, or in various other corners. It’s a nursery garden for herbs, full of interesting nooks and crannies. They also host weddings and other occasions. See their website secretherbgarden.co.uk

Co-op Supermarket Manningtree

The Co-op has a bad name with Pipedown members but the East of England Co-operative, in whose area I used to live, seems to be completely muzac-free. No muzac; no North Korean style promotional announcements; nix; nada. The shop is pleasant, the staff friendly, and it is reasonably well stocked and not too big!

What else to say? The local Post Office is in there. What is more, as with all co-op shop chains, you can join and vote for any change you want but you won’t have to vote against piped music!

Open 0700 – 2100 Monday to Saturday, 1000 – 1600 Sunday

The Wallingford Bookshop 10c St Martin’s Street, Wallingford Oxon. OX10 0AL

A lovely independent bookshop in a quiet little historic market town on the River Thames; the staff are friendly and cheerful, knowledgeable and able to obtain ordered books much faster than most large chains. Absolutely no piped music, although the staff confess to bursting into the odd refrain when feeling particularly happy.

Independent bookshop.
Normal shop opening hours with a large public carpark at the rear. Little flower-shop and cafe next door.

The Cook Book

This cafe is the place to head for when visiting St. Just in West Cornwall, in the Land’s End Peninsula. It’s clean, quiet, with friendly staff, and it has a good, substantial menu at attractive prices. Also a well presented second hand-bookstore. There is also a polite notice discouraging the use of mobile phones as well, so there is double the reason to go there.

Open 10 – 5 in Summer and 10 – 4 in Winter.
Parking outside in the street, or free car park within 3 minute walk. Bus service half hourly to Penzance, from the bus station in the car park. And in summer open-top bus along the stunning coast road to St.Ives and/or Land’s End. Plus lots of superb walks in the area – and the coast path as well!

Berwick St James Farm Shop

Marilyn runs a small but very friendly farm shop in Wiltshire village selling locally sourced meat, eggs and vegetables plus delicious home-made sausages, pies, cakes, jams and wonderful home-baked bread (available Saturday mornings only). The pigs are reared by her husband so could not be more local. There is also a small café area. Closed Mondays, open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30-5 (approximately.)

Berwick St James Farm Shop, near Salisbury and Stonehenge, just off the A303


JOHN SANDOE A genuine bibliophile’s bookshop.

A real find: a genuine old-fashioned bookshop deep in Chelsea, with over 25,000 titles stocked (on window ledges and stairs when there is no space for them elsewhere), and friendly staff chosen for their knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, books of varying types. It is open civilised hours (i.e. not at midnight but on Sunday.) If you want a particular book, they will scour the earth looking for it.

John Sandoe Books Ltd, 10 Blacklands Terrace, London SW3 2SR 020 7589 9473 www.johnsandoe.com


Good quality home-ware.

No music in the Shop in Shrewsbury but I thinkthe whole chain is music-free.