Shopping and Boutiques

1st February 2020

From hunting out designer bargains to tracking down shabby-chic antiques - you can do it all in Kent.

Ashford Designer Outlet is unmissable, with up to 60% off every brand, every day. Then there's Bluewater, Dartford's pioneering shopping and leisure experience, where 330 shops sit next to 40 cafes, restaurants and bars. After a morning walk along the sandy coast of Broadstairs, head over to Westwood Cross Shopping Centre where you can browse the stores up until 7:30pm and catch the latest movies at the 10-screen cinema.

But Kent is not all modern malls and sleek shopping centres. The history-rich lanes in our towns and cities feature unique independent stores selling everything from the latest labels to burnished antiques. From the bespoke to the unique, the county is full of independent stores and boutique shopping treats.

In Canterbury, the ancient King's Mile is alive with people browsing for top fashion finds, homeware and specialty goods - you can also drop by a designer ceramicist, independent chocolatiere, or a craft brewery. The Pantiles, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, is another oh-so-scenic shopping setting. Here more than 50 antiques businesses fan out from a 17th-century, cafe-packed colonnade, dotted with great cafes and pretty bars.

The independent outlets in Rochester’s Victorian High Street are specialist store heaven - head here for gifts, jewelry, handbags and accessories - and Baggins Book Bazaar; one of the largest second-hand bookshops in England.

Canny shoppers head for Kent's smaller towns and villages too. Highlights include Faversham, with its regular markets and wide range of independent stores, Cranbrook for art, gifts and antiques, picturesque Tenterden, the quirky fishing-port of Whitstable, desperately trendy Deal, and characterful Hythe.