We didn’t mean to go to Whitstable but decided on the day, after purchasing a Stagecoach Explorer Kent Dayrider ticket, because we didn’t have a car. Sounds terribly geeky I know, but for a tenner, two of us could hop on and off all day, with lovely little old ladies. Plus everyone knows there are great vintage and charity shops to be discovered out of London, so I was more than happy to hit the road with a pair of magpie eyes and a pocket full of money.
Starting in St. Margaret’s Bay, with a bus full of OAPs, or ‘senior citizens’ as they like to call them around there, we popped to Deal for a coffee and some second-hand book shopping; I struck it lucky with Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.
Onwards to Sandwich where we got off the bus and saw the little antiques shop, Vintage Curiosities (pictured above) sitting invitingly opposite the bus stop, and a big Age Concern charity shop on the other side – how convenient.
I took home a couple of pieces of old, engraved cutlery but had to tear myself away from an amazing, old turquoise typewriter which had an unbelievable price tag of £18. Frustratingly it was just too heavy to carry. Can you courier to London? No. Meep!
Back on the bus after a portion of chips in the sun, and onwards to Whitstable. Only 20 mins from Canterbury this little seaside town has an endless string of charity, second hand, vintage and antique shops. I couldn’t actually believe how many there were – in all my years of hunting down charity shops in the nooks and crannies of towns and villages, I’ve never seen such an overwhelming concentration of them all in one place. I quite simply was in second-hand heaven!
Surprisingly I was very constrained, and kept purchasing power to a minimum. We found a lovely little vintage store called Anchors Aweigh Vintage which had a well-sourced, almost curated collection of every vintage item you might want in your life – from clothes and purses to fabrics, tins and glass ware.
I found a cream, 1960s house coat in a feather-light quilted material, a bit like a dressing gown, in immaculate condition.
With the perfect A-line fit, so reminiscent of that era, it has little three quarter sleeves and beautiful embroidery on the collars and across the pockets – it really was too cute to leave behind.
The only downside is its dangerously cream colour: I’m a messy pup at the best of times and I’d probably only have to look at it to get it dirty but I would love to wear it when it’s warmer – I just need somewhere where I only need to stand still, not eat, drink or travel on public transport. How likely an event is that? Exactly! For now, it can join the rest of my collection.
As well as a bulging charity, vintage and second hand scene, Whitstable also boasts lots of art galleries and artists. We stopped by a friend of my friend’s pop up gallery and bought a little piece of bee art on a mount, which will look lovely in a little glass clip frame or even against a window to let the light shine through it.
There are also gazillions of seafood restaurants and fish and chip shops – a bit useless for two veggie/vegans unfortunately.
I could have gone second hand shopping crazy in Kent especially for old ladies’ clothes and vintage crockery but it was a day of selective choices – quality not quantity.
I’m also currently in the process of setting up my own online vintage store on Etsy.com so I’m conscious of having limited space for more stuff – but once I launch and start selling, I’ll definitely be pencilling in another visit to Whitstable. Next time I’ll add Canterbury to the trip too as I spotted a row of second-hand and antique furniture shops which were desperately calling my name. Suddenly that family explorer bus ticket doesn’t sound so silly. xx