Shopping tips are not generally my forte here on Virtual Tourist but It is really rather easy on Lundy as you have a simple choice. you can eother go to THE shop or go without! Like so much else on the island, there is only one although in fairness it is rather good. If any of you have ever seen the old British TV sitcom "Open All Hours" starring the late Ronnie Barker and David Jason you will get the idea, although Lundy Shop is bigger and carries a far wider selection. You can literally buy just about anything here from food and drink (there seems to be plenty of drink), hardware, souvenirs and, of course, Lundy postage stamps to put on your Lundy postcards also available here (see seperate tip on postcards).
The place is run by Nigel, a charming bloke who is always willing to pass the time of day and will even ex[plain the protocol of the Lundy "puffin" stamps to you. If you are visiting the island for more than a daytrip, you can pre-order supplies from the shop and they will make up your order and even deliver it to your place of temporary residence. fortunately, I can eat and drink just about anything but if you have any dietary needs, for whatever reason, I am told that the shop can source just about anything for you from the mainland if given enough notice. Please do give them a bit of notice as obviously everything has to be shipped to the island either by boat or helicopter and the logistics do take time.
As you might imagine, there is a good selection of local produce here and I can tell you that the local produce is very good as well as being all the thing foodies love like organic, free-range, low food mileage and so on. Even if you are only daytripping, why not take home some local foodstuffs as well as the more traditional souvenirs?
Incidentally, I am told that the sign pictured is the only directional sign on the whole island although it is pretty irrelevant as you will not miss the shop, believe me.
What to buy: For a relatively small place in such an isolated location, you will be able to buy just about anything you need within reason, there is an excellent stock.
What to pay: Not overpriced considering it's monopoly position.
I've been cooking professionally for a long time, too long a time to contemplate, and I know a good egg when I meet one. I've met eggs from all over the world - American eggs with their spotless white shells, Bulgarian eggs still warm from their layer, battery-farmed ones, the freshest of fresh free-range from local farms here in Devon but I can honestly say I've never tasted a better egg than those we have here on my Island.
We actually buy ex-battery chickens from the mainland- ones that are deemed past their best and good only as boiling fowl. We give them a new home and a yard to run around in. They get fed a mix of organic feed and vegetable trimmings from my kitchen and with a bit of TLC, combined with the revitalising sea air, they soon start laying again.
Being older birds they tend to lay a bit sporadically and so we don't always have enough to go round but when they are available I always grab a dozen or so from the shop. Simply poached, served on slightly burnt wholemeal toast, lathered with butter, and then seasoned just with sea salt and a crack of black pepper these transcend the word DELISH - another Lundy AWESOME!
What to pay: I don't know and I don't care - they are priceless!
My Island only has one shop but what a shop it is. Whether you need basic household necessities such as wine and beer (and even corkscrews) or more exotic stuff such as bread and milk you'll find it here. The saggingly-laden shelves don't hold a lot of anything, merely a bit of everything (and there's plenty more stock upstairs).
You can get Island souvenirs such as pewter beer mugs or Marisco Tavern T-shirts - "Lundy Pub Of The Year...Every Year Since 1868", wooden jigsaw puzzles, ornamental puffins, guidebooks and recipe books (yep there is a recipe book based on the shop's stock items), postcards and stamps (we issue our own "Puffin Stamps") and much, much more.
All the basic food items are here from cornflakes to crackers as well as a host of exotics such as basmati rice and naan breads, reggae reggae jerk sauce and coconut milk, Chinese noodles and soy sauce...the list is almost endless.
Fresh and frozen produce included my Island's own eggs, sausages and lamb plus localishly-sourced fresh vegetables and cheeses (some of the latter come from as far away as Somerset!) and yesterday saw the arrival of the first of the new potatoes from Cornwall.
Practical items include wind-up torches for when the lights go out, pens, pencils and stationery, soaps, shampoos and suntan lotion, kindling and furnacite for your stove (along with matches and lighters), Lundy-branded outdoor gear - guaranteed water and wind-proof...
Then there's my favourite corner with a decent selection of mineral waters from all over the globe and passed personally by Nigel, the slightly-eccentric (slightly?? HA!) shop manager who is ably assisted by the charming Patrizia and Reg the amiable Postmaster.
What to buy: If its not in stock and you're staying a while then Nigel will be more than happy to source it for you with one exception - shoelaces!! "Too many different types to hold in stock and I have to buy them in bulk." He explains, "But we do have string!"
Such is life - at least he holds a plentiful supply of Banrock Station Shiraz Matero and some bloody good coffee.
What to pay: Whatever you want and you don't even need cash - you simply put everything on a tab and swim to the mainland when you leave.
The island shop is the other hub of Lundy, selling groceries to residents and souvenirs to visitors. Souvenirs to look out for include Lundy stamps and coins, postcards and t-shirts. another popular thing to buy is a "letterboxing" pack...letterboxing is a unique Lundy activity mainly aimed at children, which involves hunting down a few dozen boxes hidden around the island with the help of a set of clues and a compass. You also buy a rubber stamp and an inkpad, so when you find the boxes, you can leave your mark in the logbook, as well as stamp your sheet with the box's special stamp. It sounds like a good way to see more of the island, as this gets you well off the main paths.
For those staying on the island, the grocery aisle is fairly small, but it is fairly well stocked with all the basics as well as a few more unusual items like Thai green curry paste and hummus that you wouldn't expect to necessarily find in a tiny shop on a tiny island. Once you've booked to stay on Lundy, you'll be sent an order form from the shop so they can arrange for whatever you want to be shipped in (within reason!)...it would be helpful if they also provided a list of what they do stock to give you an idea, but you can still bank on being able to buy enough for three meals a day by just turning up.
Look out for notices in the window about boat trips, guided walks, snorkel safaris and wildlife talks.
Shop opening hours change from day to day. It tends to stay open while daytrippers are here, but on other days, it will only open for a couple of hours in the morning, as well as an hour on a Saturday evening when new guests arrive.
What to pay: Prices are more expensive than on the mainland, because of course everything has to be shipped in and carried up the hill, but amazingly prices weren't ridiculous. In fact, the wine selection was better and cheaper than my local supermarket, with bottles from £4. You'll probably want to still go for a shop on the mainland before setting sail...there's a big Tesco in Ilfracombe, and a Safeway in Bideford...but don't get carried away, as luggage allowance is limited!
If you're staying on Lundy, you can set up a tab to avoid having to use cash on the island, paying by credit/debit card at the end of your stay. This is a separate tab to the one at the Marisco Tavern...don't forget that, or you'll have a nasty shock when you end up with two huge bills to pay instead of just one!
There is only one small shop on the island. As the aisles are narrow, you are asked to leave your backpacks outside. The shop is open all the time the the Oldenburg is docked at Lundy, so that you can stock up with whatever you may need.
What to buy: Post cards and stamps
Souvenirs including puffins, thimbles etc.
Lundy Island liquers - don't bother, it is gross.
Sun tan lotion
Food and drink
Lots of other necessities.
What to pay: Slightly above mainland prices, but what do you expect!