Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Notts
Best for original arts and crafts
This contemporary craft hub at Welbeck near Worksop was constructed in 1994 on the ruins of the Welbeck Estate’s gasworks (built to illuminate the fifth Duke of Portland’s crazy maze of underground tunnels). As well as a museum of treasures from the Portland Collection, the site houses two gallery spaces and a terrific shop stocking ceramics, artisan jewellery and fashion accessories, plus children’s books and toys.
There is also a Christmas Market on November 27 and 28, which, now in its 10th year, takes over the Harley Workshops, where East Midlands artists and makers sell their goods. Visitors get the run of more than 40 craft stalls and resident artists’ studios: look out for ceramicist/printmaker Nicola Lidstone, whose speciality is porcelain cows, sheep and llamas; and Stella Corrall, whose homewares are made from translucent recycled plastic. It’s a Christmas shopping idyll, not too hectic, and with quality refreshments.