Shops in Whitstable, Kent have changed over the years as the nature of the town has evolved, as Whitstable’s popularity has grown with those seeking a break in this picturesque English seaside location.
More and more, shops are springing up designed to cater for the many tourists the town attracts, and their look and feel is quite different to the establishments that have served the town in the past. The design of the newer shops is instantly noticeable, and a general ’boutique’ feel seems to be the way the new breed of proprietors are attracting the tourist pound. Some of them really are very beautifully laid out, with attention to detail, and ‘design concepts’ galore.
Whitstable’s only a very small town, so visitors don’t have to plan their stay in the same way as you might to a larger location. There’s no ‘East Whitstable’ or ‘Latin Quarter’ here, so the way most people explore the town is simply to wander around, taking in the sights and amenities as they happen to chance upon them. It’s because of this that Whitstable’s new boutique-style establishments have sprung up, eager to lure customers with their pretty shop fronts and well-managed lighting, and it seems to be working, as more and more appear all the time.
The most famous street for this boutique style shop is Harbour Street, which forms part of the one way system towards the harbour end of the High Street. It’s very pretty, and the delicate little shops sell nick-knacks, nautically themed wares, art, and independently-labeled clothes, and high end flower arranging. They’re all very pretty, and there’s a very feminine touch apparent in the shops fronts.
The influence of Harbour Street has started to spread up the high street, and now the whole town seems to be shifting towards a greater awareness of aesthetics as a very definite ‘feel’ seems to be incorporated into all manner of new businesses. Many of the old brick buildings are being restored and once again used for commerce, and the result is a very interesting, and charming selection of individual shops, which visitors often pause to point at or take photos of.
The rate at which shops change hands is still a little alarming, but some are staying and finding their niche amongst this increasingly thriving market place, and the whole feel of Whitstable’s retail landscape is settling into a new groove, where name recognition and word of mouth are attracting still more visitors to sample the charms of one of Kent’s most prized little towns.