Cane chair, vintage quilt, Melanie Vinyl Record: Little Raven Antiques. Clothes: Save the Children. Incense: Ian Snow. Card: Reliefprint Press Cards. Helmet: Rag and Bone Shop. Everything else: The Deco Shop. Styling by Rose & Lily Thomas.
What to do in Machynlleth!
I’m not sure how many of you know Machynlleth? Fondly referred to as ‘Mach’, Machynlleth is a small, Welsh town that has been a market town since 1291. Mach has always been a natural meeting place. Situated just by the bridge over the Dyfi River, it is a crossroads for the traveller, trader & tourist which lends a certain vibe to this Welsh country town.
The Wednesday market here is thriving and many locals buy their weekly shop on the market. Along the main streets a myriad of independent businesses have set up shop. Some long-lasting, and some more fleeting.
Machynlleth is not just our home but also has crafters, galleries, the best vintage finds, an art shop, bakery, deli, wholefood shop, greengrocer, haberdashery, florist, ironmonger and an award-winning butcher. The largest shop is Ian Snow which has three floors of everything from clothing and gifts to homeware. We also have some great cafes which are slowly opening again.
Pretty much everything is simple and homemade, unpretentious, and relaxed. Just how I like it.
To celebrate our shops, we have put together a collection of products featured in a series of photographs. Every shop I asked was happy to contribute. Thank you, lovely friendly people! There were loads of great shops which I didn’t even have time to ask.
This is my little guide to what I like in Mach! Always check opening times with the venues. Everyone is still emerging from lockdown and every business has its own quirky hours.
Wellies and shovel: The Store, Leon Book and Vegetable illustrations by Grainne: The Literary Cat, Dressing Gown: Ayurvedic Lifestyle Store, Card: Relief Print Press, Leeks, radishes, Cauliflower, Pea Shoots: Blodyn Tatws, Willow: Living Room Tree Houses. Everything else; The Deco Shop.
First of all, Coffee, Cake, Lunch & Dinner!
I am a coffee fanatic so frequent all the local dealers. Try these cafes:
Caffi Alys – situated in the Owain Glyndwr Building. Great coffee, cake & lunch venue. Lots of vegetarian options and amazing soups, salads, sandwiches and stews. I am addicted to Gail’s Pastéis de Nata and everything else!
Sadly, we are losing The Dyfi Roastery, which has great coffee, but they are continuing in Aberdyfi for the summer. Continue to support them whilst they are in town!
Ty Medi – reopening on the 24th is a vegetarian café with great tea and coffee too. Wonderful salads and vegan/vegetarian food with an ever-changing menu.
Blasau Delicatessen – For Welsh Rarebits: there is no other venue that will do once you have tried Italian chef Sabrinas recipes. Lots of great picnic foods. The deli also has amazing, huge cakes! The school kids flock here at lunch for takeout hash browns smothered in cheese and bacon. Some Saturday nights they do Pizza take-away too.
The Clay Bakery – New this year, is a lovely bakery. Great for filled rolls, coffee etc. The cheese pasties are divine. Everything made on site.
Y Gegin Fach is best for a fry-up but do good coffee and Alwyn’s fab cakes too.
For a classic British breakfast try The White Lion Pub.
No 21 is another small, but perfectly formed restaurant and food venue. Last year I couldn’t get a reservation. So loved locally!
The largest restaurant is the Wynnstay hotel which also has a bar, lounge and serves cocktails!
My favourite guilty pleasure is hands down the Town Kebab House, a secret junk-food lovers’ top takeaway. After the long lockdown with no junk food, I almost died of pleasure eating their burger and fries.
We also frequent the China Garden takeaway. Crispy chilli chicken, Singapore fried rice and vegetables in a ginger and spring onion are my favourites along with anything in a hot-bean sauce.
If you love a chippie, we have two to choose from, Dicks Diner and Hennighan's award-winning ‘Top Shop’.
Bread: The Clay Bakery, Chia Seeds, black rice, Pollination Gin, organic oats, lentils & corn peanuts Dyfi Wholefoods, Print by Printer Johnson, Takeaway coffee: Caffi Alys, Flowers: Tilly Ann Florist. Everything else: The Deco Shop.
Mach is a great place to be if you are vegan/vegetarian. Every venue offers veggie options, if not always Vegan. There is a wholefood shop, Dyfi Wholefoods, which has everything you need for green / vegan cooking, cleaning and living. It is an institution that has to be visited if you are in Machynlleth. They also sell our very local Gin from the Dyfi distillery. Some say it is the best!
The fair-trade Ethiopian coffee, ground in shop, is my absolute favourite. You can also get hold of anything from Nori to black rice and vitamins to essential oils.
The Wednesday market has abundant vegetable stalls but we do have our very own organic green grocer, Siop Blodyn Tatws. Tasty, wholesome greenery beautifully presented. Mair often sells local florist Grace Crabbs wonderful flowers as well.
William Lloyd Williams butcher is also a local legend. If you are at all concerned with where your meat has come from and how it has been raised, this is the place to buy from. With a lifetime of experience, the selection is wonderful, and you can pre-order if you have a particular menu in mind. The chicken is twice as tasty as any supermarket purchase. The smoked bacon is divine. The lamb and beef are the best.
When I first moved to Mach, the bread offerings where quite limited, but now we are sometimes spoilt for choice. Rye & Roses make an amazing selection of bread and have a stall on the Wednesday market as well as opening their bakery shop on a Friday afternoon. They also make wonderful buns. The Mach sourdough is my personal favourite. Last year they started working with our local grain growers and sell some bread made from locally produced flour when it is available.
The Clay Bakery also offers great, homemade bread and the Deli sells a selection of cheese, biscuits and pates as well as offering a range of tasty, unusual loaves.
On the Wednesday market there is also a fish monger and a few food stalls. If I can get hold of one, I always opt for one of Shirley’s Kati Rolls.
If you move to Machynlleth I thoroughly recommend joining our organic veg box scheme. Great selection of seasonal produce and locally produced food products as well as an option to have fresh flowers with your weekly delivery.
For everything else we have our Co-op at the east end of town or a handy Spar on the high street.
Takeaway coffee: Caffi Alys, Bread: The Clay Bakery. Lentils and corn peanuts: Dyfi Wholefoods.. Portmeirion Plate: Little Raven Antiques.
Machynlleth is a centre for vintage shopping. We have a lot of great charity shops and vintage/ antique shops. Friends from elsewhere rave about the selection available and love to come and browse all the many offerings.
Save the Children is situated mid high street in a wonderful old shop. It is always beautifully presented, and they have a great selection of clothing and fun vintage items. Often many high-end brands!
The Dog Shop is linked to an animal sanctuary and is a local institution. You never know what you will find. People bring such random things. Sometimes it feels like you just have to wish for it, and it magically appears in the Dog Shop.
Little Raven Antiques is a large shop that sells vintage and antique items. A great place to browse. The Deco Shop @ No 1 is just opposite so I often peruse this shop on my lunch break. Just bought a fabulous cane chair ready to transform. They also have a fab vinyl selection and a vintage hi-fi section.
** On the high-street you will often find a group of sun loving coffee drinkers chatting away outside The Rag and Bone Shop. This lends Mach a wonderful café society vibe that I adore. The Rag and Bone Shop mainly sells furniture and other antiques and I have bought many a beautiful cupboard from this shop with great service.
The Literary Cat book shop sells both vintage and new books and is another wonderful place to browse. It has a surprising selection and is a great resource for the town. For book lovers there is also the Penrallt Gallery Bookshop, Dyfi Valley Books and the hunting, nature book shop Coch-Y-Bonddu Books.
Pre lockdown the Penrallt Gallery featured exhibitions related to literary works and held many wonderful evenings of book talks. Let’s hope they can pick up their programming soon again. Next door they have opened a photographic gallery that is worth a visit. Check opening times with the venues!
Mach has several other charity shops too. The Hospice Shop is situated just behind the clock tower and is where my friends’ kids get their best clothing finds along with Save the Children.
Other antique and vintage shops worth a visit are Dyfi Valley Antiques mainly specialising in furniture and the Emporium which has a great selection of everything from jewellery to taxidermy. There is also Willis antiques which is a great browse too!
There is more… come and peruse!
Vintage books: The Literary Cat. Everything else: The Original Deco Shop.
Home & Garden
We are so blessed to have most things within easy reach. For home and garden there are so many great resources.
Wheelers Fabrics has a huge range of fabrics on the roll and to order along with a range of buttons, thread, ribbons etc. It is a proper haberdashery that has been a fixture in our town for decades. Many fabrics are end of line or seconds and you can pick up some real bargains. Wheelers also specializes in an amazing range of organic cottons.
If you were looking for William Morris, Sanderson or Romo fabrics and Farrow & Ball paints the Original Deco Shop sells these from a medieval high street building that was once Laura Ashley’s first shop. This is our shop, and we offer help with design and colour choice if you need someone to bounce ideas off.
Downstairs we also have a small, but full, Art Shop for your creative projects. Lots of choice of paper and paints along with print making equipment, air drying clay, kids’ activity books and stationery.
Even with all the inspiration found on the internet there is still something wonderful about reading a magazine. You find things that the search engines won’t direct you to. Mr News behind the clock tower sells a great range of newspapers and magazines as well as cards and stationery, chocolates and drinks.
The Store is our town ironmonger. Situated in the old school, just around the corner from the Spar, it is large with an ever-expanding gardening area. You can get anything from hoover bags to hammers, clothes pegs to compost, paint and electrical here. This is where you get seeds in spring and fairy lights at Christmas.
In the same building Claire runs a made to measure service for curtains, cushions and foam covers, Claire’s Soft Furnishings and we have our very own carpet shop, the Floor Covering Centre.
Mach also has it's own furniture shop London House Furnishers. Aaron provides an excellent service. They also do made to order roller blinds and install them!
Up on the industrial estate we also have Travis Perkins building merchant for sheet material, timber and tools.
If you like homeware that is natural, relaxed and interesting come to our other shop, The Deco Shop @ No 1. Right on the corner of the high street facing the clock tower. Full of tableware, furnishings and room décor from great Scandinavian and British brands. The building used to be a bank and the ceiling is 5 meters high. With the cracked old marble flooring and replica plaster cornicing the shop has plenty of character.
Ian Snow is also a great resource for homeware, table-ware and soft furnishings. It is another town institution. Most long-time visitors have fond memories of browsing Ian Snows for hours on end. There is no better place for Christmas shopping. They do a range of clothing, gifts, toys, jewellery, pampering products and the list goes on!
Oriel Seren is a local arts and craft gallery featuring local artisans. Well worth supporting. It is sadly closing on the high street, but will continue online.
For cookware visit Miscellannea across the road from us, behind the clock tower. Ann not only sells a range of kitchenware, but also helps with framing, floristry and crafting.
Cariad is another charity shop that sells baskets, cards, embroidery and much more.
Original Shandals Sandals: Ruth Emily Davies. Leather bag: Elin Angharad from the new Tir a Mor collection. All else: The Deco Shop
Clothing, accessories and Footwear
In addition to the second-hand shops and Ian Snow we do have a few other wonderful shops that sell clothing and shoes.
For handmade shoes, sandals & boots visit RED (Ruth Emily Davey) shop on the high street. Home to the original Shandals and the most beautiful shop in town. This is like a candy shop for shoe lovers. Specializing in comfortable leather shoes in every colour. RED offers some models of the rack, but their main trade is made to measure shoes that will fit your feet beautifully. People come from miles to this unique shop. They also have a repair studio for leather goods.
Another local leather worker is Elin Angharad. A genius with leather handbags and accessories, Elin has a studio in town and produces hand made leather goods to your specifications as well as her own collection.
A relative newcomer is The Ayurveydic Lifestyle shop, with ayurvedic remedies, bedding, sleepwear and lots more.
Lloyd Jones Shoe shop sells a range of well-known shoe brands along with boots and slippers and a range of clothing.
Sandals: Ruth Emily Davies. Lentils, washing up liquid, chia seeds: Dyfi Wholefoods. Vegetables: Blodyn Tatws. Incense: Ian Snow, Chard Card: The Literary Cat.
More to do
There is a Museum of Modern art, several festivals, loads and loads of outdoor pursuits as well as a plethora of pubs and interesting places to stay. We also have hairdressers a tattooist, a florist and more. Mach is a wonderful place to visit!
This is my little guide to Mach. I hope you come and see for yourself!
** Very sadly the owner of the Rag and Bone shop, James, passed away the same day I published this article. I have decided to keep the information about the Rag and Bone shop in the blog in memory of James who made me smile many times a day with his funny banter and interesting discussions. He will be sorely missed as a keystone of our community, a person who helped so many get through the day, every day.