Its been a few years now since I moved down to Ramsgate from London, but I still enjoy exploring the town finding interesting places to eat and shop. Shopping in Ramsgate is not ideal, as like the rest of this part of Kent, the local High street has been badly damaged by the extensive out of town shopping available at the soulless Westwood Cross. However scattered about Ramsgate Town there are several note worthy shops.
(plus nearby eating/drinking recommendations)
Here are my favourite independent shops :-
In King Street you have the Haberdashery & Fabric shop, which is spread over two floors and well worth a visit – check out its button wall, which looks like an Art installation.
Harbour Street and Charlotte Court
In Harbour Street you will find Nice Things it sells “nice things”- ceramics, paintings, jewellery, gifts etc. It also hosts art exhibitions by local artists.
You also have a local branch of Brewer & Howard (1 of 3 shops, the other 2 are in Sandwich and Broadstairs). It is a great place for quality Footwear and other accessories.
Charlotte Court is just off Harbour Street and in the Old Police Station at 12 Charlotte Court you will find Saltworks, arguably one of the most interesting and stylish shops in Thanet. They have done a great job converting the old police cells. They sell ladies and children’s clothing, designer furniture, gifts, jewellery, perfume, jams, chutney and speciality teas.
York Street and Queen Street
For bouquets, flowers and plants you have the attractive York Street Flower Shop,
and in Queen Street there is Homebasics which is full of useful household goods,
McGillan & Woodall An Art Gallery and shop that sells ceramics, jewellery and cards and Elephant in the Room which sells all sorts of unusual gifts and cards.
These shops are just round the corner from the award winning Flavours by Kumar – a modern India Restaurant in Effingham Street that serves delicious food.
If you continue up Queen Street, you will find Amber Rose a boutique selling stylish women’s clothing, then directly opposite Waitrose, there is an other interesting shop called House selling elegant and eclectic furniture & homeware,
and Country Style Furniture which sells mainly Pine Furniture and has a large basement display area.
West Cliff Road and Addington Street
Queen Street leads into West Cliff Road, and just off West Cliff Road is my favourite street in Ramsgate – Addington Street. This street is in the early stages of regeneration and has such a lot of potential.
On the corner you can’t miss Vinylhead a stylish record shop, selling old and new vinyl, a real find for music lovers, and much bigger than it looks from the outside.
and further up the street you will find Eats ‘n’ Beats with its Courtyard suntrap, decorated with a stunning seaside themed mosaic.
Addington Street is also the home of the quirky Queen Charlotte Pub, The Falstaff Hotel, Addington Street Kitchen, the Aitch Gallery and the Lee Nicholls Art Gallery as well as the occasional pop up shop.
On one side of the Marina, you have the Arches, where you will find some retro/vintage/antique shops (described later in the guide) along with the modern and stylish Archive Homestore & Kitchen. This is a design-led lifestyle store that showcases a range of products, from suppliers like the House of Rym, where Scandinavian design is blended with Tunisian handcrafts. It’s also the place to get interesting coffee table books and cute gifts for adults and children. They also sell food and drink, the upstairs seating area is great with its fabulous views over the Harbour.
Archive Homestore & Kitchen is easy to spot with its yellow door.
The High Street
The High Street in Ramsgate, like so many High Streets in the UK these days is not very interesting, however if you head for the top end of the street there are some Retro/Vintage shops (covered below) and an attractive Homeware and Plant shop called Potters.
(plus nearby eating/drinking recommendations)
Here are the Retro/Vintage shops, which make up my Ramsgate Retro Trail :-
A great starting point is the destination shopping venue Petticoat Lane Emporium which is not just one shop, it’s a permanent indoor market consisting of two shops and 175 stalls selling Vintage, Retro, Craft, Art & Antique Merchandise. The Emporium is on the East Cliff side of Ramsgate, a couple of streets back from the coast, about a 10/15 minute walk from the lovely Albion House Hotel and Town Bar, which is well worth a visit if you want to treat yourself to a bit of luxury.
The other shops that are really worth exploring are in the Arches overlooking the Royal Harbour. They are Arch 16 for Antiques, Collectibles and Vintage and the Royal Harbour Emporium which showcases several beautiful lovingly restored classic Motor Bikes and has an eclectic collection of vintage toys and gaming machines.
In the Harbour there is a set of steps called Jacobs Ladder next to the Sailors Church that provide a good shortcut up on to the West Cliff where you will find Addington Street ; it is just across the road when you exit the steps.
In Addington Street you will find the Aitch Gallery which sells Antiques and collectables and the excellent Retro/Vintage shop Paraphernalia which focuses on Antiques, Vintage and Retro from 1770 to 1970. The original Paraphernalia shop is located in Margate, but the Ramsgate one is larger with lots of room to show off the interesting furniture and other Vintage and Retro items.
Addington Street also has some good options to eat and drink – the Eats ‘n’ Beats Cafe, the Queen Charlotte Pub, the Falstaff Hotel Restaurant, the Addington Street Kitchen and nearby on Nelson Crescent you have the Empire Room at the Royal Harbour Hotel.
The final set of shops are at the top end of the High Street, the highlights here are Island Vintage which has a large & diverse collection of ceramics, record players & vinyl, the Ramsgate Thrift Store which sells second hand & vintage clothing and Nannys Attic a second hand store specialising in childrens goods, the owner is known locally as the Lego® lady.
I have also included The Micro Museum on the Retro trail, as it has a great selection of Vintage Computers, Electronics, Toys and Games. It also has a small gift shop. Check www.themicromuseum.org for information on opening hours.
Specialist Shops & Services
The Grumpy Goblin Gaming Emporium – This is gaming shop stocking, Trading Card Games, Table top games, Board games, Graphic Novels and much more.
Paris Drycleaners – This is a highly recommended, efficient and reasonably priced drycleaners in Queen Street.
Timpson – This is a good local shoe repair, locksmith and key cutters at 2 Harbour Street.
Ramsgate is also home to several Art galleries :-
They include :-
- York Street Gallery – the Studio of Ramsgate Artist Mike Samson and a gallery for local artists from The Isle of Thanet and Kent.
- Something Fishy – a Ceramic Art Gallery in the Arches.
- Silverland Studios – A Gallery and teaching centre overlooking Ramsgate Royal Harbour.
- ArchTwenty – A working Studio and Art Gallery located in the Arches overlooking Ramsgate Royal Harbour.
- Lee Nicholls – A small Gallery in Addington Street.
- Aitch – An Art gallery and shop on Addington Street that sells collectables, antiques and home ware.
- Gallery 98 – A small Gallery on the High Street.
- Colin Carter Collection – The Studio and Gallery of Motor Sports Artist Colin Carter.
High Streets these days are often criticized for being full of Charity Shops and Ramsgate does have more than its fair share scattered around the town centre. However the Pilgrims Hospice shop at 62 High Street is worth a visit. It is well organized and well stocked, easily the best Charity Shop in the area :-
The town is well served for Supermarkets. It has the only Waitrose in Thanet and away from the High Street there is an Aldi, a couple of branches of Tesco, an Asda, an Iceland, Londis, Costcutter and a
There are also a couple of more exotic Supermarkets :-
- The Family House Oriental Grocers in Kings Street, specialising in food & drink products from China. The staff are very helpful and if they don’t have an item in stock, they are happy to order it in.
- The Baltic Branch Ltd in Queen Street specialising in Eastern European Food.
See Map Supermarkets.
You also have a large and very useful branch of Wilco in town.
When visiting shops in Ramsgate check the opening times as they can change, especially in the Winter season.
If you want more information on where to eat and drink in Ramsgate and the surrounding area checkout:-
If you want to know about other shops in nearby towns checkout:-
and for more about Ramsgate go to the Visit Ramsgate web site.