Some of the best of Olney’s places to visit are obvious, others are down some of the hidden alleyways and courtyards that come off the main roads or market place. Here we mention some of our favourite ‘hidden gems.’
The hardware shop CT Wilson is Olney’s longest established family retailer and began as a coal merchants in the 1800’s. It is Olney’s ‘Aladdin’s cave’ and it is the kind of shop where ‘old fashioned’ ideas of customer service are very much in evidence. It is one of the most forward thinking shops in town: the first to introduce card readers and computerised stock keeping. There’s a huge variety of items – from a vast variety of baskets to coal scuttles – and it’s almost impossible to ask the Wilsons hardware related questions they can’t answer!
Olney toy shop, Happy Days, has the latest crazes to traditional wooden toys and jigsaws. It is worth finding this wonderful, independent shop. With space to play and advice on what to buy a child of any age, as well as some lovely books, this is a gem of a place to visit.
And if the young people are allowed a treat, The J&B Sweet Café, opposite the market, has pick and mix that is popular with local children, while the ‘retro’ sweets are popular with the young at heart. It is also a cafe, with a lovely view of the market place.
See a jewellery maker in action at her desk at Boo gallery: crafting wedding rings and her own designs. Visit the shop and watch Louise in action as she designs and crafts her items.
Fountain court offers a range of hidden shops, but one of our favourites is Valeria C, with its mix of jewelry, clothing and accessories and a must for gift items. The assistants are helpful and attentive.