A carefully curated souvenir collection is the hallmark of the well-travelled (or boastful). However, not all travel treasures are created equal: for every bespoke hand-woven rug sourced in a remote Berber village, or hand-sealed bottle of wine from a bijou vineyard, there’s a fridge magnet emblazoned with crying eagles or an apron brandishing Michelangelo’s David. To help you sort the neat from the naff, we’ve put together a guide to the souvenirs you should make space for in your suitcase and those you should leave firmly behind, starting with the keepsakes and castaways of St Mawes and Falmouth in Cornwall…
For the knick-knack lover The Cornish Store
Souvenir Poldark pillows. The rugged good looks of Cornish-period-piece star Aiden Turner, as Ross Poldark, will make your sofa (or bedroom, ladies…) seem a touch more windswept and rogue-ish. Comes in brooding or imperious. Swoon.
Souve-no-no Pasty peeps. Look away Pixar – the only kind of heart-warming a Cornish pasty offers is an uncomfortable slow burn after you’ve consumed 10 of them. Giving it a beret or pigtails doesn’t make us want to clasp this greasy meat pastry to our chest, and its sweetly trusting smile and pleading eyes make us feel monstrous for feasting on their brethren.
For the homebody Willow & Stone
Souvenir There’s lots to love in this shop filled with vintage and locally designed wares, but we’re rather taken with this St Mawes’ sky-evoking cloud chart and these potentially life-saving (for the French) signs.
Souve-no-no This unnecessary use for a shoe last – we didn’t think it was possible, but hipsters have ruined toilets for us.
For the connoisseur of cute SeaSalt
Souvenir Falmouth residents like a little coastal chic – Breton-stripes abound, and boats and anchors appear more often on clothing than at sea. This yellow anorak is cute as a toggle, plus practical and stylish, and these graphic tea towels provide domestic drudgery can be dazzling.
Souve-no-no We love chocolate in beautifully designed retro packaging, but after all the fish ‘n’ chips, boat-fresh seafood and fully loaded ice-cream cones, these irresistible chocolate bars are a waistline-hit we just can’t take. (We’ll have 10, please).
For the foodie Deli-Cious
Souvenir A real Cornish pasty. This unassuming little deli is renowned for fresh crab sandwiches and beefy pastys. Packing some of the former will end badly, but the latter travel surprisingly well – as long as your journey’s no more than six hours.
Souve-no-no Chocolate Cornish pasty. This is an affront to Cornish culture and makes us want to cry tears as salty as the Celtic Sea.
For the history buff St Mawes Castle
Souvenir The English summertime is synonymous with fine summer strawberries and drinking, so this potent (14.5 per cent) bottle of refreshing strawberry wine is the quintessential take-home gift. Sip it from this handsome pewter goblet, or perhaps this lidded mediaeval-style tankard if you’re feeling particularly merry.
Souve-no-no Great British knobs – are you an adolescent boy? No? Then, no.
Continue your shopping trip at our stylish collection of boutique hotels in Cornwall.