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Published May 3rd 2017
The Ultimate Rural Shopping Experience In Lovely Surrounding
Fed up of plodding around those huge, crowded, out of town shopping centres, with the likelihood of traffic queues to get in and out, and faced with driving around car parks looking for somewhere to park? Well, why not combine an enjoyable shopping experience with a welcome slice of rural life.
Such things are possible if you take a trip to the Heart of the Country Shopping Village, which can be found right on the main A38 at Swinfen, near Lichfield in the heart of rural Staffordshire. Heart of the Country promises visitors the experience of an original rural lifestyle village, and I was certainly very pleasantly surprised when I called in recently.
Heart of the Country started life as a single country store in 1985 but has grown considerably since then without losing any of the gentle, rustic charm that many country villages provide. The shopping village now comprises an eclectic collection of converted 19th century farm buildings which together house a number of interesting and varied independent local businesses.
First time visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the number and range of businesses who have set up shop at Heart of the Country, such as individual shops selling everything from furniture to jewellery and paintings, and boutiques offering a range of clothing. There is even an estate agents, while visitors can also enjoy a beauty treatment during their shopping.
The Idle Pig BBQ restaurant for tea and bacon butties
There is also a welcome choice of eateries, consisting of The Barn Restaurant, The Pear Tree Creperie, and the Idle Pig BBQ which provided my wife and I with welcome bacon butties and a pot of tea. Each of the restaurants have their own outside seating areas, but a particular attraction of the Heart of the Country Village is the delightful open courtyard areas where you can also sit and relax, particularly when the sun shines.
Children don't usually enjoy going shopping with their parents, unless it's to a toy shop of course, but Heart of the Country have come up with a possible solution in the form of a Green Fairy woodland trail which starts adjacent to the main car park. And, for an extra treat, the small trail includes the shopping village's two resident pigs who enjoy the use of a large enclosure, although they were happily chilling out when we visited.
Heart of the Country is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, between 10am and 5pm. It is normally closed on Mondays but is open during Bank Holiday weekends. For more information, call the village on 01543 481612, email email@example.com, or find them on Facebook @heartofthecountryvillage