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Finest of Norfolk

An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets

The Strandline

10 Sea Lane

Old Hunstanton

Norfolk

PE36 6JN

Tel: 07903 362517

Email: [email protected]

 

Handmade unique gifts created from driftwood and shells collected along the Norfolk coastline,

as well as individual jewellery and original home decor that you won’t find duplicated on the high street.

The Strandline - Old Hunstanton

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Old Hunstanton has one of the best beaches in Norfolk, one of the best hotels for location (Le Strange), and a pub and beer garden to die for (The Ancient Mariner). Most people know this. What most people don’t know is that it also has one of the most unique gift shops you’re ever likely to visit. It’s hidden, off the beaten track and overshadowed by the ‘Old Craft Barns’ nearby (also worth a visit). But it really is in a league of its own.

 

How to find The Strandline

The Strandline can be reached (ideally on foot although there is just about room to park) by walking round the corner from the pub and craft barns and taking a narrow path known as Sea Lane. It winds up and round and offers no sign of the secret treasure that awaits, but keep walking and soon your efforts are rewarded.

One glimpse of this haven of intrigue is all it takes to be hooked. Its entrance is a display of random nautical and country cottage items that lure you in. The two window displays feature driftwood and shell creations that are undoubtedly handmade with great care and dedication. Once inside, a cave of individual creativity surrounds you. It’s tiny but every available surface competes for your attention. Packed to the hilt with unique pieces of inspiration; it is pure sensory overload of the most enjoyable kind.

 

What to expect

Its owner and creative genius is Alison Jones, a lover of recycling and a hippy chick at heart. Her obvious love of nature, along with a desire to “make things; make anything” since she was a child, is the driving motivation behind her shop which oozes warmth and homeliness. A self-confessed hoarder, “nothing is waste, only an opportunity to be turned into something special”, Alison spends her days collecting, cutting, sticking, sewing and creating. Money doesn’t spur her on; she’s not overly ambitious. “I’m just in my world, doing what I do. A hobby I turned into a job”. She opened up Strandline and has never looked back though, thankfully for us also never losing sight of her enjoyment for the process of making. Nothing in here is duplicated; Alison only creates one thing at a time and never repeats a design no matter how popular it is. So anything you buy from her is one of a kind.

 

What can you buy here?

Undoubtedly her strongest skill is the ability to turn driftwood, both substantial and minute in size, into works of original and eye catching creativity. Collecting all her own wood and shells from the nearby coastline, her love of Norfolk is a strong feature of her work. From lamps and picture frames to decorations, signs and keyrings, all are carefully formed with a steady hand and reflect her enthusiasm for nature and passion for recycling. She also makes her own jewellery, with vintage buttons and beads being a strong theme at present. But Alison is an artist who never stays still for long; she’s always one step ahead with a mind constantly buzzing for fresh ideas. On my last visit, she pulled out the largest bag of fabric samples I’ve ever seen (I’ve no clue what she’ll use them for but I know it’ll be worth the wait) and couldn’t stop talking about her ideas for new projects, from decoupage hearts to hand stitched hair accessories. Every time you stop by, there’s always something new to marvel at. Alison has a gift for turning the blandest of items into a visual delight.

She’s open all year round, although usually only Friday to Sunday in winter. She takes cash or cheques but no cards. She will take on commissions but prefers a free hand approach.