Yes Hastings Old Town and St Leonards down on the English coast are becoming an independent shopping treat. We don’t really do retail therapy, but we love ‘retail inspiration’ particularly if it includes odd junk shops, family businesses, charity shops and some funny fabric markets and if you are going to hit Hastings with a few shillings jingling in your pocket there are two destinations we recommend.
The first is Norman Road in St Leonards (click here to find a website all about it) a road that styles its self as The Portobello of the South Coast.Thankful it’s not Portobello Road in its current state but maybe how it was in the 60’s? We particularly liked a shop called Shop. My oblique view gives a hint of its stock , retro goods and some lovely kids wear. There was an interesting fabric shop too with slightly dusty rolls (in a good way) of old fabric, galleries, a homebrew shop (file under History next to Fondue Set) and we bought a mechanical wind up chick (as you do) in With Love From…..
Next we walked along the front to George Street and then through to the High Street in the Old Town. We discovered the High Street junk and retro clothes and furniture shops a few years back and as yet there seems to be no sign that they are being pushed out by high rents and gentrification. Excellent, long may that continue! I can better explainthe diversity of the shops in a couple of pictures rather than words but an honourable mention must go to Made in Hastings in the High Street. Wonderful craft designer/maker work, some of which we had seen in Selvedge Magazine and if that isn’t a recommendation of the highest order I don’t know what is, all beautifully displayed. Most of the shops in the Old Town stay the right side of ‘gift shop’ too, so think things you need but beautiful or unusual rather than useless present that goes straight to the charity shop.
So we had a lovely time rooting around and did the usual thing, decided not to purchase something in a junk shop and then spend the week telling ourselves it wasn’t that great/we didn’t want it anyway/it would have been too expensive. I suspect we will be back soon to see if it’s still there.