Friends who are local to Hertfordshire may remember the old saddlery just outside St Albans, called Coleman Croft. I remember dragging my parents over there every birthday in the hope of a new pair of riding boots. It was a quaint little place, set in an old stable yard surrounded by horses. Happy memories.
Some 30 years later, after finally moving out of London, back to Hertfordshire and buying my own horse, I drove over to Coleman Croft to pick up some bits and pieces and take a trip down memory lane. I was pretty surprised to discover that (despite all the lovely old signage still being there), it now houses a very pretty shop and cafe selling leather bags, accessories and homeware by English leather brand Osprey.
It still has all its charm, just a bit more stylish than I remember! Theres also the Osprey outlet shop (which is slightly bizarre being in the middle of nowhere) and a gorgeous cafe fittingly called The Saddlery. It has a beautiful little courtyard garden which is lovely in the summer months.
On my latest visit I discovered that one of the old saddlery buildings is now a vintage emporium, where over 30 dealers sell their goods. Its full of clothes, furniture, records, all sorts of interesting bits and pieces to rummage through.
Osprey started in 1980 as a belt company (by designer Graeme Ellisdon who still owns the company today) and today has a two storey flagship store in Regents Street and various outlet stores around the country.
I popped into The Saddlery Cafe for some Rosehip & Hibiscus tea with a slice of the most delicious orange and rosemary cake.The food is seriously good and served in very pretty crockery. Plus its all wheat and gluten free!
Its a lovely place and well worth the visit. I picked up some gorgeous soft grey leather gloves for £24.95 (RRP £45). The detail on them is incredible, beautiful stitching and a lovely soft fleece lining.
I love the colour palette used for the bags – top of my wish list is this beautiful grey tassled rucksuck. The bags are really well made and I love the structured styles. I’ve listed my top picks from the Osprey website below. The bags are not cheap but not as pricey as other english brands like Mulberry and they’re made to last, using traditional saddlery techniques (hover over the image for price and link to website):
The main shop features some of the stylish and beautifully made vintage inspired bags from Osprey’s collection, plus jewellery, home and lifestyle goods, including some delicious fragrances.
The outlet shop has a good selection – I spotted bags, purses, wallets, briefcases, umbrellas, gloves, christmas decorations and even sunglasses. So if you happen to be in the vicinity of St Albans, stop off and take a wander round, its worth a visit.
Osprey St Albans
Hatfield, St Albans
Herts AL4 9HJ
Open Monday to Sunday, hours are here