An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Big Blue Sky
Tel: 01328 712023
A bright and bubbly blend of all things creative in a quirky and colourful store; if it’s made in Norfolk and a quality product, you’ll find it here – a joy to browse!
Where to find it
Big Blue Sky is a large warehouse style shop a little out of town but easy enough to spot with its colourful frontage, flags and decked out 4x4 in the drive. From the outset this place emanates cheer and happy days. A peep through the window will delight your senses as a wash of colour, texture and raw talent greets you. Step inside and let the experience begin.
What to expect
If you love Norfolk, you’ll love this shop because it encapsulates all that the county is. As their slogan says, it’s all about “mud between your toes, sand in your shoes and a pebble in your pocket”. It’s coastal and fresh, light and airy, with happy colours, laughter and imagination running wild. It’s local talent of the highest quality and widest variety. It’s simply a joy to browse; a sensory overload of welcome treasures.
After 10 years in business Catherine’s vision remains strong: made in Norfolk, not on the high street, quirky, original and bright. To pin her down more than that is to squash her creative mind for I sense an instinct within her to spot what’s right for her emporium of joy. Quality and presentation are clearly of paramount importance and her eclectic selection of goods is all made to the highest order. It’s apparent how much she loves her store and this drive enables a constant re-invention of fresh products so it’s somewhere to visit again and again. She only sells things she passionately loves and lucky for us she has fine taste.
What can you buy here?
It’s perhaps easier to mention what you can’t purchase here for as Catherine states, “you’ll find no pictures of boats on mud or postcards of churches with poppies – you can get that elsewhere”. Things for your home, your garden, your life; everything is unique and often one of a kind. Pottery, lamps and sculptures, embroidered purses, baby clothes and vintage bags; the list is diverse and endless. I was taken by the old apple boxes restored with fabrics tops for storage seats; the driftwood accessories with an ingenious coastal twist. Pet gifts, Norfolk themed souvenirs and local books adorn the shelves and display stands. There’s a large mix of foodie items too ranging from Drove Orchards cordials to Jubberwacky honey and Yare Valley dressings, all made in small batches for freshness and taste. Jewellery ranges from quirky pieces starting at £20 up to expensive craftsmanship for £200 – all budgets catered for.
Artist exhibitions and the Sweet Raspberry range
On any visit you’ll find at least five or six exhibiting artists covering a mix of styles and mediums. Photography, paintings and print making; watercolours, oils and acrylics - all original works. The artists are changed over every few weeks and always cover a mixture of tastes.
You’ll also find a separate shop within the store, Sweet Raspberry. Irish in orientation (so not Norfolk made), a blend of unusual gifts and precious things with a vintage feel. Blankets, slippers and coats, as well as cookie cutters, decorative bottles and other items for your home.
In short, Big Blue Sky is a shopping experience like no other I’ve come across. Spend half an hour in this world of happy randomness and I’m sure it will brighten your day.
Closed all January and shut Tuesdays and Wednesdays in winter, its usual opening hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays 11am to 4pm. An online store should be opening soon but they are always happy to post anything out, just give them a ring. Evening events are sometimes held such as late night Christmas shopping and book launches.