Shopping: Hastings and St Leonards

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.

About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. Sue

    Another piece of news from Hastings is that it’s holding it’s annual Jack of the green festival this weekend and the town will be invaded by Morris men and women (plus I think this bank holiday Monday thousands of bikers too). See Come to Hastings and get daubed by the green man!

    • Thanks for this Sue and your comment. Daubed by the green man…..sounds like an offer one can’t sensibly refuse! Our atavar is Green Lion based on the green man with his own leafy mane and he is holding a hedgerow bag too!

  2. Reblogged this on WrAnTz and commented:
    Thought I’d reblog this so that my sisters may catch it too.

  3. So good to read this.My wife and I were there, in George Street, less than a month ago. We were visiting my sisters, one of whom lives in Hastings. The other lives in St. Leonards . We all used to live in Westfield, just north of Hastings, where my dad was the village bobby before moving to Battle. So you can see this is local turf to me.

    • Hi, thanks for the comment, Bob. Good place Hastings, and getting better all the time….
      When villiages had a local bobby (Policeman, for our international readers) to keep an eye on things and know the local community, now those were the days!

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