The Best Independent Shops in Dorset

The Best Independent Shops in Dorset

Ever since I opened Loving by Nature in 2018 I have been trying to open a blog site called ‘Dorset Indies’ which showcases the very best independent shops, eateries and other places to visit in the county, for the purpose of sharing them with the world and promoting the wonderful work that they do in making Dorset a special place to live and visit.  The eventual aim was also going to be to link all these marvellous shop and business owners together at some point, but life has been a never-ending chaotic rollercoaster of busy since becoming a parent and shop owner, and I haven’t been able to get this off the ground in a meaningful way yet*.

However, instead of waiting for things to be perfect and for a big block of time to set up a whole website directory, I thought I had just as well start sharing my finds here within the Loving by Nature blog.

So here I am with my first ten picks of standout independents across the county that I think are worth a little visit.  Some of these I have been to in person, others I have admired from afar and wish to visit – please leave your favourites in the comments too!


  1. Brassica Mercantile, Beaminster 

Delicious food matched with equally delicious homewares, Brassica Mercantile and the sister restaurant and deli in Beaminster are absolutely on my list as a must visit.  Everything that makes me happy in one place, beautifully made food, cook books, enamel ware and bread.  What more could anyone want?


  1. FOLDE Dorset, Shaftesbury

Books are a bit of a theme for me, and FOLDE in Shaftesbury is the dream bookstore.  All books carry a theme of nature and the outdoors, and the staff operate a friendly and welcoming store that sits perched at the top of Gold Hill in beautiful Shaftesbury.  Shaftesbury is worth a visit in its own right, it is absolutely packed with lovely independent stores and eateries, and nestled right in the Dorset countryside too, I will be sharing more Shaftesbury stores in this blog series for sure.


  1. Vinyl Van, Dorchester

This is the kind of shop that you could waste hours in if you are not careful.  If you are a music lover, then be prepared for a feast on your senses on records from across time and genre.  They have a full schedule of events as well, including the ever popular ‘Joy of Decks’ which is a fine opportunity for a night out if you are in the area.


  1. Molesworth & Bird, Lyme Regis

Set in the historic Town Mill area of Lyme Regis you will find the shop/studio space of artists Molesworth & Bird.  Again, this whole area is worth a visit as you will find plenty of other places to shop and eat whilst you are here.  This part of Lyme has a real artisanal and almost continental feel about it, really making you feel like you are on holiday whilst being firmly within the UK.  Within the shop itself you will find the unique, original seaweed prints that Molesworth & Bird are famous for, alongside homewares and prints from other artists.  Opening times may vary so always worth checking ahead of a visit if you want to see inside especially.


  1. Ink & Page, Bridport

Bridport is a town full of quirks and character and Ink & Page is a perfect example of this.  Their shop and bookbindery is open at the bottom of the main road heading towards Symondsbury from Wednesday – Saturday 11-5pm. Inside you will find among other creations, their handbound notebooks and journals that you will find great pleasure in filling with your musings.  You may have noticed I love shops owned and operated by artists as they bring something truly unique to the towns they are in, and there is nothing more special to me than bringing a memento home from a place that has been made with care by a local artisan.


  1. Kooky Bloom, Dorchester

 Kooky Bloom is located on the cobbled alleyway of Antelope Walk in Dorchester, and is an inspiring success story of its owner, Sophie.  Inside you will find her resin jewellery creations that bring a pop of colour with preserved flowers that really can’t fail to bring a little joy to your day.


  1. South West Coast Refills, Weymouth

 South West Coast Refills has become a fixture of the seaside town of Weymouth, helping locals to shop more sustainably and with intention.  From foodstuffs to lunch bags and books, you can find a huge variety of products behind their lovely bay windows.  I think this is a must visit if you are holidaying in one of Weymouth’s many self-serviced holiday lets, allowing you to shop with conscience and care as you stock up on ingredients for a feast in England’s very best seaside town*


*opinion authors own 😉


  1. The Shed, Symondsbury

 For something a bit different, I am highlighting a salon that is based in the picturesque village of Symondsbury.  The owners here go above and beyond to create a pampering experience for you, whilst also keeping sustainability at the forefront of all their operations.  You can disappear for a whole day here if you want to, get a massage, a manicure, a hair treatment, and explore the area with a walk up the famous Colmers Hill and lunch in the neighbouring Symondbury Kitchen Café.


  1. Wild Roots, Poole

The Kingland story is something pretty inspiring, as the people of Poole came together to rejuvenate a dying high street into a buzzing new home for independent business, and it is interesting to see how that continues to develop over time.  Wild Roots is a house plant and interiors shop that looks like a proper treat of greenery, I am sure you wouldn’t be able to resist taking home a new plant pet if you were to step inside the doors and into this green oasis. 


  1. The Cowshed, Lytchett Minster

This is a place I am yet to visit but is high on my list of places to get to, predominantly because of what looks like the most delicious food and drink that can be washed down with a wine in the sunny courtyard of the Craft Centre, which is packed with small shops that you could easily while away a couple of hours browsing. Lytchett Minster is about 4 miles north of Poole so easy enough to visit if you are in the Poole or Dorchester area and fancy something a bit different.



That’s it for now! Hopefully I will find the time again to add another ten to the list as there are so many fantastic places to shop and eat, I am definitely not done yet!

*I did manage to commission the talented Delphine Jones Illustrator to make this fab logo for the blog and Katy Hibberd who is an extraordinary photography talent to take some lush photos for me, which you see here.


 Dorset Indies logo, independent shops in Dorset

1 comment

I confess to only having so far only visited one of these shops, Brassica, but all sound brilliant. One of my fave bookshops is Little Toller Books in Beaminster.


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