Yesterday I was lucky enough to enjoy a day off on an unseasonably warm March Monday so my wife and I took a drive down to Whitstable, a historic fishing town on the north Kent coast. After a picnic on the beach, we discovered that this bijou place is home to a thriving independent retail community.
Whitstable is famous for locally harvested seafood especially oysters which are available in abundance but the town has also built up a bohemian and artistic feel which accounts for the proliferation of galleries and workshops.
The high street has the usual assortment of chain stores such as Boots and Budgens with the average smattering of charity shops but we were delighted by Harbour Street which aside from a branch of The White Company was awash with independent stores selling all manner of items from children’s clothes to home furnishings. There were also shops with Superdry concessions as well as one stocking Troop bags which it proudly boasted were featured in the Harry Potter series of films.
Now of course, Whitstable has a number of added draws to drive footfall, namely its coastal location, history and attractiveness in warm weather but nevertheless there was no sign of the death of the high street in this town and we will certainly be returning again over the summer, hopefully for an ice cream or two with a distinctly independent flavour!
Blog by Tom Jones