Christmas Shopping in Kent
On your marks…get set…go! Fully armed with the knowledge of what you think you’d like to buy for everyone, even if you’re not sure what exactly that is (who is?), and fully prepared to burn a big hole in your Christmas wallet, you’re good to go…but go where exactly? Well, if you live in Kent, there is plenty of choice, from large shopping centres to quaint high streets, we’ve got the lot, making Christmas shopping less of a scary prospect and far more something to look forward to. Let’s get festive!
Bluewater, which is home to over 300 stores, has recently welcomed the likes of Coach, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Pravins and Godiva with new stores from Snow+Rock, Kate Spade New York and Joules arriving in time for Christmas.
Ideal for indulgent gifting, Coach is a modern luxury brand offering bags and leather accessories for both men and women. Organic health and beauty brand Neal’s Yard Remedies offers luxury products for men and women across skincare, bath & body, mother & baby, aromatherapy and wellbeing. Many products are beautifully presented in gift packages, making them ideal stocking fillers.
Looking for something extra special? Add a little sparkle with a gift from Pravins, where you can explore the boutique’s latest collection of exquisite jewellery. Or, perfect for chocolate lovers, share the love this Christmas with a box of indulgent Belgian truffles from Bluewater’s new luxury chocolatier, Godiva.
Whether you’re wrapping up for winter or wrapping up a present, outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted by the arrival of Snow+Rock, which offers a huge range of clothing and equipment from the world’s best ski and climbing brands. If you’re looking to revive your running routine for 2018 then Snow+Rock is also home to Runner’s Need, where you can find all the kit to get you back on track.
Also opening its doors is the latest boutique from popular women’s designer Kate Spade New York, featuring exuberant clothing, handbags, jewellery, fashion accessories, fragrance and more.
For stylish gifts for her and him, British fashion and lifestyle brand Joules offers everything from socks and scarves to investment bags and coats inspired by British country lifestyles.
And if all that makes you hungry, take a break from retail therapy by stopping off at one of over 60 places to eat and drink at Bluewater, including favourites such as Wahaca, ASK Italian, Côte Brasserie and Byron.
Because it’s Christmas, Bluewater will be extending their opening hours to stay open even later. From 24th November, stores are open until 10pm from Monday to Saturday, and until 11pm between the 11th and 23rd December. Plus, take advantage of the free car parking all day, every day, so you can stay as long as you like.
Find out more at www.bluewater.co.uk.
With 70 different stores, an abundance of parking and helpfully situated right by Canterbury Bus Station, this shopping centre is both convenient and perfectly ready to offer up plenty of choice when it comes to finding ideal gifts for your loved ones. Shops include Boots, Primark, Zara, H&M, Republic, the Build-a-Bear Workshop and Ernest Jones. In the exceptional Marlowe Arcade, you can find even more stores, only these ones are of a more unique, boutique variety.
Fremlin Walk, Maidstone
Fremlin Walk sits in the heart of Maidstone and is home to over 50 shops and cafes. There is a large multi-storey carpark adjacent to the centre as well, making taking all your Christmassy goodies home with you quick and easy. Inside the centre you can find shops such as House of Fraser, Waterstones, Top Shop and HMV. All that will be left to do by the time you leave and make your weary way home is to actually wrap the gifts up…
De Bradelei Wharf, Dover
Dover’s De Bradelei Wharf is a fantastic way to make your Christmas budget stretch that little bit further, meaning you can treat yourself a little too. Situated on the seafront, the location is definitely different, and with up to 75 per cent off brand names when you get inside, it’s great for finding everything you want at less than you were expecting to pay. Shops include Jacques Vert, Klass, Skopes, Camille Lingerie, and Alexara. As well as all of these fantastic fashion and furniture stores, you can also find wrapping paper and cards, a children’s play area and the Broadwalk Café where you can indulge in some delicious sweet treats and a great cup of coffee – there’s your reward for getting the Christmas shopping done, right there!
Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, Folkestone
The Creative Quarter in Folkestone is exactly the place to go when you want to find something a little different and a bit edgy…something that even the hardest to buy for people are just going to love. This area of town is jam-packed full of unique, boutique stores that will appeal to everyone.
County Square, Ashford
Ashford is a shopper’s paradise, and County Square Shopping Centre in the town centre is a dream. There are more than 50 different stores under one magnificent roof including Next, Debenhams, New Look and H&M. Fashion, homeware, sporting goods, toys…it’s all here. If you time things right you might even get to experience one of the many pop-up shops that regularly appear here.
Ashford Designer Outlet, Ashford
If you like to sniff out a bargain, Ashford Designer Outlet is the right place for you to discover all manner of different ideas for your Christmas gifting. You can buy designer items with as much as 60 per cent off their retail price, so not only will you come away with everything you need, you can feel the glow of having saved money while you do it. Abercrombie and Fitch, Calvin Klein Jeans, Fossil, Hugo Boss, All Saints, Moss Bros and Superdry are just a handful of the 80 plus brands to explore. www.mcarthurglen.com/uk/ashford-designer-outlet/en
The Goods Shed, Canterbury
Everyone loves a farmers’ market, and this is a farmers’ market that is bigger and better than most of the others out there. There are local cheesemakers, fishmongers, butchers, grocers, wine, cider, beer and spirits producers, places to buy Kentish cobnuts, freshly made black pudding, bread hot from the oven… No matter what you need you can find it here, along with plenty of delicious things that you never realised you had to have in your kitchen but, once tasted, you know you just can’t do without.
Bouverie Place Shopping Centre, Folkestone
As well as a vibrant and exciting range of high street name shops and cafés, and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre, Folkestone, will make your Christmas shopping a pleasure. Not only that, the centre has festive fun planned for all the family. On Saturday 18th November, the Bouverie Place Christmas Family Fun Day is looking for local singers, dancers and entertainers to share their skills with them in a talent show. If you want to perform on stage and help celebrate Christmas, go to www.mybouverieplace.co.uk for more details. For younger shoppers, Santa takes up residence in his grotto from Saturday 25th November, then every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm, plus every day between 18th and 23rd December from 10am-4pm. For more information, please contact Paul Stone, or Silvana Clarke on 01303 248102.
The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells
There aren’t many places that offer the choice of store that you will find in a shopping centre along with the quaint and quirky look of a high street, but The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells has managed it. There are over 70 owner-run shops in this area of Tunbridge Wells, offering the best in choice and gift buying options. These are not your average, run-of-the-mill stores either, but independent, interesting and specialist shops that include art galleries, cafes, jewellery, cosmetic surgery, farm produce and fashion.
Westwood Cross, Broadstairs
There are over 50 different shops, restaurants and entertainment venues to discover at Thanet’s Westwood Cross shopping centre. The centre is open until 7.30pm each night, giving you ample time to browse for bargains. And you can even buy gift voucher cards, so your friends and family can enjoy shopping for their own gift in the sales.
Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells
The shops at Royal Victoria Place took three years to build, but it was worth the wait, being opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in October 1992. A three-floor Fenwick’s, a two-floor Marks and Spencer and a two-floor Boots, plus over 100 other stores of all varieties make up this impressive and welcoming shopping centre in the heart of Tunbridge Wells.
For truly unique and unusual shopping, visit Tenterden. Tenterden’s High Street boasts a wide range of independent stores where you can pick up compellingly different items to give as thoughtful gifts that are sure to be well received. On Fridays there is the addition of two markets to make buying that perfect gift even easier.
Harbour Street in Whitstable is known for its charm and individual shops. Even if you’re not in the market to buy something, simply walking along the street and window shopping is always a joy. If you do want to buy something but don’t know what you want, you’re sure to spot something that’s just right as you make your way past the gorgeous displays in buildings that have barely changed over the last century or so.