By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Find your favourite big-name brands on bustling high streets and get happily lost among designer stores in modern shopping centres. If you love to shop till you drop, Kent is calling your name.
Shopaholics flock to Canterbury and the award-winning Whitefriars district. More than 70 of the country’s top fashion and lifestyle retailers stretch across a pedestrianised area in the heart of the city. Hop from Zara to Swarovski and Artique Galleries with plenty of restaurants in between to replenish your energy levels.
For fine art, jewellery and antiques, stroll through the historic areas of King’s Mile, St Dunstan’s and Westgate. You’ll find department store goodies at Fenwick Canterbury on High Street, including sought-after brands like Hugo Boss, Mulberry, Ralph Lauren and Coach. The Canterbury High Street Markets take place on Wednesday and Friday.
More than 70 of the country’s top fashion and lifestyle retailers stretch across a pedestrianised area in the heart of the city
If you’re in the market for top-end jewellery in Canterbury, look no further than Fitzgerald Jewellers, which is located close to Canterbury Cathedral. All of the products on offer are carefully designed and handmade on site using traditional methods of jewellery making. Elsewhere, Hadfields of Canterbury is an independent jewellery shop filled with beautiful pieces, lovingly handmade or chosen by a dedicated team of designers and goldsmiths.
Dover and Deal
After exploring the towering White Cliffs, get a retail therapy fix at Dover’s De Bradelei Wharf shopping outlet. From ladieswear to bedding and gifts, you’ll find everything under the one roof along with brands such as Peter England, Nauticalia and Gabicci. Move onto St James Retail and Leisure Park for shopping combined with relaxing breaks at the cinema and restaurants.
Once named ‘High Street of the Year’ by Daily Telegraph readers thanks to a huge array of one-off retailers, Deal is the place to get authentic Kent souvenirs to remember your trip by. A vintage and interiors home store, Mileage is an emporium that bursts with upcycled furniture, printed lampshades and caffeine supplies at the Tea Station.
Read more: How to spend 48 hours in Kent
Of Kent’s Medway towns, Chatham is the largest of its shopping town centres. Start on the pedestrianised High Street and make your way to Pentagon Shopping Centre for hundreds of leading and independent stores. There’s also a ten-pin bowling alley, should the kids need something to do while you stock up. Head to Dockside Outlet Centre for around 60 per cent off brands.
Maidstone is a shopper’s utopia with two shopping centres, as well as the Week Street pedestrianised boulevard. Fremlin Walk is the home of high street brands, like Topshop and Ernest Jones, within a stylish, open-air centre. To browse indoors, visit The Mall just off King Street. Wander down historic streets for independent stores, with plenty along Bank Street, Pudding Lane and Union Street.
Hunt for treasures in the town centre of Gillingham at the community markets on Monday and Saturday. Then, check out more than 50 stores at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, including homewares, fashion and beauty. If you’re there on school holidays, free children’s activities ensure everyone’s smiling. In Rochester, quirky speciality stores and funky boutiques line High Street and the surrounds.