Whitstable is famous for its quirky, slightly bohemian charm, and rightly so – the High Street features a higher percentage of independent retailers than anywhere else in the country.
From vintage clothing to Kentish artwork, artisanal coffee and a wealth of traditional butchers, bakers and greengrocers, Whitstable’s High Street perfectly encapsulates the town’s unique spirit.
As the famous Banksy-style graffiti welcoming visitors to town says: ‘Shop Local’. Here’s our Top Five rundown of the town’s independent retailers – Happy shopping!
5.) Gatefield Sounds/Rock Bottom Records
Yes we’re cheating right out of the gate.
But Whitstable is incredibly lucky to benefit from two independent record stores so full of history, character and, well records.
Despite a renewed interest in vinyl over the last few years, record stores across the country are still closing at an alarming rate, which means it’s more important than ever to support your local retailers.
Rock Bottom records is a bargain-hunter’s dream, with racks upon racks of second-hand vinyl and an ever-changing window display.
By contrast, Gatefield Sounds specialises in newly-pressed records, stocking both new hits and old favourites.
4.) Flory and Black
A stylish gift and homeware specialist, Flory and Black offer a wide array of chic and unique items, including an extensive range of floor lamps and ceiling lights.
Flory and Black also carries a selection of wedding gift ideas, as well as fun and quirky accessories.
3.) Oxford Street Books
Oxford Street Books is a quaint, charming book shop buying and selling a vast number of rare and historic books.
The store offers 2nd hand books at competitive prices, and boasts a knowledgeable staff and a great atmosphere.
2.) Clothes Horse
A boutique store specialising in Women’s clothing, The Clothes Horse places a special emphasis on ethical clothing, jewellery, accessories and gifts by designers from across England and Europe, including Noa Noa, Bohemia, Cream and Lime Bay.
Whitstable may not be awash with menswear specialists, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality with Ruskin – a stylish independent store with a wide range of clothing and buckets of seaside charm.
The store’s flagship project is their Ruskin Man initiative – a collaboration with local shop owner and photographer James Marsh that highlights the work and contributions of the town’s business owners, artists and creatives: highlighting the town’s fierce independent spirit.