Cheese is always a great addition to the festive season – and the shops that sell it are a pleasure.

Whether you wish to give cheese as a gift or to use it as part of your catering plan this Christmas, take the time to buy it from a specialist shop and you will be richly rewarded.

Here, we’ve sniffed out the best cheese shops in the land.

La Fromagerie, London

With shops in London’s most salubrious enclaves – Highbury, Marylebone and Islington – La Fromagerie deserves all the praise that it gets. Its story begins on a skiing holiday over 30 years ago in the French mountains, where founder Patricia Michelsen fell in love with cheese. She brought back to London a wheel of Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage, which she sold from her garden shed. Then she graduated to a stall at Camden Market. Now, her three stores and wholesale business win awards at every turn. Shop the selection here.

The Cheese Shed At Nettlebed Creamery, Oxfordshire

Rose Grimond founded the Nettlebed Creamery on her family’s farm in Oxfordshire in 2015. She and her team have been churning out – and winning awards for – artisan cheese, milk, kefir, cultured butter and ice cream ever since. Alongside this feat of production, they run the charming Cheese Shed, where you can buy their cheeses and exquisite toasties made from the offcuts. Trust us: this is a Christmas outing worth travelling for. Shop the selection here.

Paxton & Whitfield, London

With its two royal warrants, this sure is the posh choice for cheese. Winston Churchill famously said: ‘A gentleman buys his hats at Locks, his shoes at Lobbs, his shirts at Harvie and Hudson, his suits at Huntsman and his cheese at Paxton & Whitfield.’ It opened in Jermyn Street in 1797 and is the sort of glorious shop, with its helpful staff and old-fashioned vibe, that feels Christmassy even in the summer. But it is innovative, too. Check out, for instance, Paxton & Whitfield’s Christmas Cheese Cake and their Artisan Cheese Advent Calendar. Shop the selection here.

The Fine Cheese Co., Bath

Ann-Marie Dyas launched the Fine Cheese Co. in Bath in 1990. Her mission was “to seek out the best, and, when it’s been found, to keep looking”. Today, they continue to sell (in their two stores, in various outlets and online) the finest artisan British cheeses as well as crackers, chutneys and pickles. As strong supporters of independent retail, The Fine Cheese Co. promises that none of its products will ever be sold in a supermarket. According to Somerset Live: ‘The shop in Bath is a delight. At Christmas, this correspondent queued for nearly two hours, an annual ritual, for the Christmas cheese. Expert cheese makers are on hand to advise you and give you tastes, they will even pair wines to go with your cheese. It is a real treat.’ Shop the selection here.

I.J. Mellis, Edinburgh

Established in Edinburgh 1993, I.J. Mellis sells the very best Scottish cheese. Founder Iain Mellis was keen to create ‘a traditional, old-fashioned sense of service and style whilst using modern technology to maintain and enhance the unique characteristics of artisan cheese’. He did so very well. In 1995, he opened a second shop in Glasgow and followed that with expansion into St. Andrews and Aberdeen. Iain’s son Rory joined the business in 2018 and all that they have done together since will tickle your tastebuds. Shop the selection here.

Oxford Cheese Co., Oxford

One of the first specialist cheese shops in the UK, The Oxford Cheese Co. launched in Oxford’s Covered Market in 1983. Their emphasis is on artisanal cheeses, particularly from the Alpine region and Ewes milk and Goats milk from the French regions. Their market shop is abuzz at Christmas but they also, enchantingly, offer on their website a same-day delivery service, by bike, to the whole of Oxford within the ring road. Shop the selection here.

Jericho Cheese Company

If, after picking up some delicious artisanal cheese at Oxford’s Covered Market, you find yourself hooked on the good stuff, do wander over to The Jericho Cheese Company, which began life in 2016, delighting the noses and taste buds of the good denizens of Little Clarendon Street in this fashionable enclave of the city. Now it’s expanded to open a second branch on Ship Street in the centre of town, too. We love its excellent selection, as well as its fantastic bread offering from Sourdough Revolution. Shop the selection here.

Neal’s Yard Dairy, London

Way back in 1979, Randolph Hodgson set up a small but visionary shop in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, selling yoghurt, crème fraiche and a couple of cheeses. Soon, it began to attract food lovers and farmhouse cheesemakers. Before he knew it, Hodgson was providing customers with access to exquisite cheese and British artisan cheesemakers with a way to sell their wares. He won the lifetime achievement prize at the BBC Food and Farming Awards in 2015. Neal’s Yard Dairy now has four shops, each of which aim to ‘sell the best possible cheese with the best possible service’. Shop the selection here.

The Courtyard Dairy

Andy and Cathy Swinscoe run their award-winning cheese shop, café, museum and cheese production room out of a beautiful barn in the Yorkshire Dales. Their knowledgeable team proudly serves as specialist cheesemonger to locals, tourists and the best restaurants in the north of England. Follow your nose and find them next time you are up there – you won’t regret it. Shop the selection here.

By Becky Ladenburg
December 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.