Perched along the River Thames in the county of Buckinghamshire, Marlow is a quintessential English market town from top to toe. Exuding genteel charm, its waterside setting combined with a historic conservation area provide plenty of visual appeal, while its bustling shopping streets are dotted with upscale boutiques, cute cafes and enticing restaurants.
Perhaps Marlow’s greatest achievement is providing all the amenities and high street names that you’d expect from a large town, without losing its distinctive character and quirkiness. If you’re planning a shopping trip in Marlow and would like to get off the beaten track and discover its more unusual and independent retail offerings, here are 10 of the best.
This quirky 17th-century barn is packed to the rafters with vintage, reclaimed and locally-crafted home furnishings and accessories. Whether it’s a rustic dining table, antique cabinet, vintage chest of drawers, quirky office piece or unusual lighting fixture you’re seeking, there’s every chance you’ll find it here. There’s also a neighbouring on-site farm shop and many customers like to tag on a country walk and pub lunch to their visit.
LOCATION Home Barn, Wilton Farm, Little Marlow HOURS Tues-Fri 10.30am-3.30pm Sat 10am-5pm Sun 11am-4pm Closed Mon
Susie Watson Designs
Susie Watson Designs Marlow store is one of ten showrooms across the UK, offering unique handmade collections of furniture, fabrics and accessories for elegant, every-day living. First inspired by the magic of making things, Susie’s designs are underpinned by the belief that beautiful handmade products can bring unexpected pleasure to daily life. While her home collections have expanded over the years to accommodate the requirements of every room in the house, including the garden, Susie’s central ethos has remained the same, maintaining that a home should be warm and inviting yet informal enough to serve the demands of family life. Set in a beautiful three storey Grade II Georgian listed building on the high street, the Marlow store fulfills Susie’s vision to transform a shop into an elegant home.
LOCATION 74 High Street HOURS Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm Closed Sun
The Biggie Best franchise has deliberately set its sights on upscale market towns across the UK, with eight outlets serving the discerning, design-loving types who tend to frequent these places. The brand’s Marlow store features a superb assortment of vintage inspired homewares of amaranthine style that lend home interiors and gardens a unique, distinctive touch. Highlights to be found in their range in recent years have been a range of hand-painted ceramics along with an eye-catching collection of rugs and cushions made in India.
LOCATION 14 Spittal Street HOURS Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm Sun 11am-4pm
Nestled in the heart of Marlow is MKB Designs, the town’s only independent kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and home office supplier, established over three decades ago. In 2018, the company was bought and became a family business headed by Managing Director Simon Clark who had been with the business before its purchase. MKB offer innovative and bespoke design services, high quality products and excellent customer service. With a beautiful showroom over two floors of magnificent kitchen, bathroom and bedroom displays to feed your imagination and inspire your next project, Simon and his experienced team offer a wealth of design knowledge, regular promotional offers and a managed installation service..
LOCATION 6 Liston Court HOURS Mon-Fri 8am-5pm Sat 10am-4pm Closed Sun
Specialising in designer clothing, handbags, sunglasses, shoes and accessories, this luxury women’s wear dress agency buys and sells unwanted, pre-loved goods. The store opened in 2013 and is regularly updated with new pieces, with consignments taking place on a daily basis, including pieces by some of the world’s most prestigious fashion labels such as Chanel, Mulberry, Dior, Burberry and Armani as well as more affordable high street brands.
LOCATION 19 West Street HOURS Mon 12pm-5.30pm Tues-Sat 10am-5.30pm Closed Sun
The brainchild of three passionate local runners, Runners Retreat is an independent local hub providing shoes, clothing and accessories for those who like to pound the streets in pursuit of achieving a healthy body and mind. Kit from premium brands as well as lesser known labels are available, along with support and advice on everything from training, nutrition and injuries from the friendly team of in-store experts.
LOCATION 33 West Street HOURS Mon-Fri 9.30am-1.30pm Closed Sat-Sun
Really Wild Clothing
Billed as bridging the gap between town and country, Really Wild Clothing sells chic, well-tailored, classic women’s garments with a modern twist – all designed by the shop’s founder, Natalie Lake. Bespoke tweeds, high quality leather and hand crafted boots offer a nod to the store’s countryside traditions, which are rooted in its collaboration with the Royal Berkshire Shooting School that precipitated the creation of the retail brand.
LOCATION 105 High Street HOURS Mon-Sat 10am-5pm Closed Sun
The Marlow Bookshop
Owned by acclaimed independent London chain Daunt Books, The Marlow Bookshop is the brand’s second branch to open outside of the capital. Situated in the heart of Marlow, the store opened in 2016 as a long-desired replacement for the town’s last independent bookshop, which closed in 2007. Renowned for its deep range of titles and knowledgeable staff, books are arranged principally by country, whatever the genre or theme – be it fiction or non-fiction, biography, history, guide or novel. The store also runs a diverse community events programme, including author talks, book launches, and school events.
LOCATION 22-24 Spittal Street HOURS Mon-Sat 9am-6pm Closed Sun
An award-winning gift and accessories brand, Craft Coop’s Marlow outpost features a huge selection of unique handcrafted items. The store also prides itself on being a vibrant community hub, and places a strong focus on supporting local talent, with all of its goods locally designed. Adding to the sense of community spirit, a regular programme of workshops, drop-in activities and craft parties also taking place here.
LOCATION 56A High Street HOURS Mon-Sat 10am-5pm Sun 11am-5pm
Mooch in Marlow
One of the town’s most popular independent boutiques, Mooch in Marlow sells a vast and eclectic assortment of women’s apparel and accessories at its High Street store. Whether it’s casual or format items, or home deco and gifts you’re seeking, the small but perfectly formed shop will have you covered, with everything from sequin joggers and lightweight tassel scarves to foil print jumpers, denim jackets and Silver plated necklaces available in-store, all at reasonable prices.
LOCATION 57A High Street HOURS Mon-Sat 10am-5.30pm Sun 11am-4pm