Thanet provides excellent shopping opportunities. From Ramsgate’s bustling market to Margate’s trendy boutiques and the department stores of nearby Westwood Cross, there’s something to suit all tastes.
Nestled in between Ramsgate Harbour’s pastel-coloured buildings you’ll find the red-brick Custom’s House. As well as a café and tourist information centre, the Custom’s House is home to Nice Things. This delightful store sells, well, plenty of nice things. It’s a showcase for East Kent’s creative talents and you could pick up anything from cards and ceramics to paintings and photographs, supporting local artists in the process. If you’re after a memento of your time in Ramsgate then this is the place to come.
Ramsgate is also home to a number of antiques stores. In Nice Bits on Hadres Street, bargain hunters can rummage through plenty of antiques and bric-a-brac.
Each Friday and Saturday between 9am – 4pm there’s a market in the town centre. There’s lots to browse through – fish, meat, vegetables, flowers, jewellery and clothes. But even if you end up empty-handed it’s a pleasure simply soaking up this bustling atmosphere.
Margate is just a 10-minute drive from your apartment. As you’d expect from the home of the new Turner Contemporary art gallery, it is a creative hub. Margate Old Town is full of boutiques and galleries, and it’s a great way to while away an afternoon… and whittle away some money.
Pop in to Etcetera in the Old Town and you’ll find wonderfully quirky homeware, generally dating from the period between 1950 and 1980. American dial telephones, 1970s wall clocks, even illuminating Danish globes can’t fail to liven up your home. And all the merchandise has been lovingly restored by its team, so it’s in great condition.
Enter the doors of Margate’s Junk Deluxe and you step back to a bygone era. Surrounded on all sides by retro British homeware, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back to the rock ’n’ roll days of the Fifties.
While you’re here, you could pick up some super-cool vintage clothing from Junk Deluxe’s sister company, the amusingly-named Twentieth Century Frocks.
STUNNING ORIENTAL DESIGN
From far out to the Far East, you could continue your shopping at the elegant Qing.
Qing specialises in contemporary Oriental furniture. Their items, crafted by Japanese and Chinese artisans, are rich in colour and full of decorative touches. Selling soft furnishings, beautifully-crafted furniture, silk throws and much more, you’re sure to find something that’ll make your home unique.
The cobbled streets of nearby Sandwich are home to a number of diverse stores.
One such shop is Smoke on the Water. Within its beautiful interior you’ll find elegant French furniture: mirrors, dressers, cabinets and many more.
All Our Yesterdays, on the other hand, is full of bric-a-brac. You’re as likely to stumble upon an old fashioned gramophone as a telescope dating from the First World War. And for art lovers, the Market Street Gallery sells 19th and 20th-century oil paintings and watercolours.
In keeping with the nature of this sleepy town, shops are often closed over lunchtime and shut early on Wednesdays. No bad thing, as there are plenty of charming country pubs here to occupy your time…
WESTWOOD CROSS SHOPPING CENTRE
For shopping on an altogether larger scale, head for Westwood Cross Shopping Centre. All the big names are here – Next, Marks and Spencer’s, Debenhams and TK Maxx to name a few.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from too, as well as a casino and a Vue cinema, so you can really make a day of it.
It’s only a five-minute journey from Ramsgate. But if you’re afraid you won’t get all that new gear in the boot of your car, buses leave regularly from the Harbour.