Advertisement Feature: Stroll around festive treasure trove Freda & Bert

A treasure trove of thoughtfully-curated gifts, Freda & Bert has stores at Burwash Manor Barton and Ben’s Yard Ely. Owner Dawn Hookway invites us to peruse her beautiful wares

We love the unique name of your gift shop in tribute to your beloved grandparents. How did they inspire you?

My Granny Freda and Grandad Bert lived in Devon and were the sweetest grandparents you could ask for. I would spend hours playing shops with them. They had their own newsagent shop in Plymstock (way before I was born) and I would love listening to their stories about it. So, shopkeeping definitely runs in the family and I LOVE that I’m able to say that; I hope they would too!

Dawn's beloved grandparents, Freda and Bert
Dawn's beloved grandparents, Freda and Bert

With Christmas approaching, can you give us a flavour of your gift range?

We have added a selection of new brands, expanding our games range (from Christmas bingo to boxes of mini trivia questions), body and beauty (with new lip balms, bubble baths and salts), plus gorgeous new candles (with wintry scents such as cosy orange and cinnamon). We also have the most beautiful Christmas books for children including traditional Christmas stories, festive activity books, and a letter to Santa writing kit.

We will be offering diaries and calendars, a large selection of Christmas cards, gift bags, wrapping paper and accessories plus seasonal bunting, paperchains, Christmas paper plates and napkins. We will also have Christmas treats, including Santa-shaped biscuits, mini candy canes, marshmallow toasting kits and chocolate baubles.

What three gifts from Freda & Bert are on top of your Santa list this year?

The Moa bath potion, with its refreshing scents of peppermint, calming yarrow and pine, (perfect for this time of year) and pops of sweet birch to ease achy muscles.

The To the Fairest Cecile eau de parfum is definitely one of my favourites as it is such a unique scent with notes of bergamot, mandarin, rose absolute, amber and clove bud.

Thirdly, any of our winter scented candles to light in the evening and fill the house with winter scents!

Dawn at the entrance of one of her beautiful gift boutiques
Dawn at the entrance of one of her beautiful gift boutiques

You are the team behind Manor Florist; what inspired the rebrand and move premises at Burwash?

Yes, I have had the Manor Florist for 16 years now and the gift shop turned five in October. I really enjoy the buying side of running the florist, so when the opportunity came to take over another unit at Burwash I jumped at the chance to open a gift shop! After covid, there was the opportunity to relocate the gift shop next to the florist which seemed a great solution because we could be a team all under one shared roof.

The rebrand came about when I decided to open a shop at Ben’s Yard. It seemed like the perfect opportunity (as I was never that in love with our previous name) and a chance to tell a bit of a story too about my business journey and of course an ode to my wonderful grandparents!

An emporium of exquisite homeware and gifts
An emporium of exquisite homeware and gifts

Talking of Ben’s Yard, can you tell us a little about your offering there?

Our shop at Ben’s Yard is more than twice the size of our unit at Burwash, so we do stock a few different brands there. It is an exciting new rural retail destination with a unique offering of independent retailers, a café and restaurant, a fabulous miniature Ely Cathedral adventure playground and wildflower trails and walks, so has something for everyone.

What do you love most about running Freda & Bert?

I love my amazing team who are so creative and so passionate about the brand; they play a huge part in the business. I love visiting all the trade fairs and finding new suppliers, supporting smaller local businesses, meeting all our wonderful customers and feeling part of a community of small independent business owners. I love carefully curating all the brands together.

Gifts galore
Gifts galore

And, finally, what do you think Freda and Bert would say if they could see you now?

I hope they would be proud of me and see how much they inspired me to start this journey.

Find out more about Freda & Bert at

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