Choose a warm day, jump in the car and spend the day pottering about the antique shops and galleries of Banff, Cullen, Drybridge and Deskford. There may be time for a few stops for nibbles en route… and who knows what treasures you may uncover?
Heading out of town on the A947 towards Banff the first stop is Brian Cheyne’s Collecting the World in Newmachar, four rooms packed with an ever changing array of interesting pieces. If the shop’s not open, Brian has more stock at Norvite Farm and Country, about three miles further north.
Cullen is picture-postcard pretty, with a lovely beach and lots of cute little shops, galleries and cafes lining the main street and tucked away down lanes. Start your explorations at Cullen’s oldest antiques shop, Bits and Bobs. There’s a small room for furniture and another filled with vintage clothing and accessories, as well as books and collectibles.
Head across the road to The Wee Gallery, which features local artists, wood turners and jewellery makers. It’s strong on wildlife art and coastal landscapes, with regularly changing exhibitions.
Further up the hill, neither ABRA antiques nor the antiquarian book shop was open for the season when we visited. We also missed the rather intriguing Rainbow Zen Shaman, Cullen’s ‘Majikal Apothecary and Cosmical Emporium’. Here, you can learn the art of divination by casting animal bones, a practice which would probably unnerve your work colleagues.
Pop into Cullen Salvage Yard for architectural antiques, with huge gargoyles, chimney pots, fireplaces, and even a purple pool table on show. Upstairs is Oriel Manni’s delightful shop packed with her own colourful and quirky designs, gifts, scarves, accessories and silver jewellery from resident silversmith Peter Roy.
Next door, the Cullen Antiques Centre is home over forty dealers and it’s possible to buy just about anything here. Upstairs, there’s a furniture section in the steeply banked former gallery of the church, with some spectacular stained glass for sale. Downstairs is teeming with books, paintings, and everything from stamp collections to militaria and old comics. There’s even a selection of surprisingly rude birthday cards, samurai armour and even a full sized dalek lurkinG amongst the cases. You’ll also find Forsyth’s, a popular little café just as you enter the ground floor sales area.
Head back towards the square and pop into Rockpool for lunch or a snack. Don’t miss the excellent Cullen Skink and superb home-made cakes and bakes. Alternatively, the Cullen Ice Cream Shop is worth a visit as you head downhill to Cullen Collectables and another little antique shop before heading for a stroll on the beach to work off those calories.
Back in the car, head towards Buckie, taking the turning on the left to Drybridge, home of the Old Smiddy Antiques, where Skye the Collie will give you a warm welcome. You’ll find plenty of restored pine furniture and the owner, Alan dotting about in his workshop.
Back on the road head for Deskford where Deskford Garden Galleries combines three acres of delightful gardens, a tea room, and plenty of art and antiques for sale. At the foot of the same turning, pop into South Lissens Pottery and Silk Works, with a delightful selection of glazed cookware, bowls, jugs and pots, all thrown on site, as well unusual pictures, cards and gifts crafted from silk.
Now that you’re all shopped out and caked up, it’s time to head for home.