A global field guide to shopping, style and hidden gems
est. 2007

A week of Kent: Frank

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I’ve been meaning to post about the weekend I spent in Kent earlier
this summer, when my parents were visiting the UK for a couple of
weeks. It was by far one of the easiest breaks I’ve ever organised,
mostly due to the fact that there was little to no organising on my
part. My parents arrived with a well-researched itinerary, and I was
also inundated with some extremely good tips when I called upon the UK
Twitterati for advice and help (thanks to @circeplum, @cassandracastle, @indiaknight, @maggieA, @I_Like, @LibertyLndnGirl).

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On Saturday morning we headed to Whitstable, a seaside village most
famous for oysters. At just 80 minutes by car from London, it’s the
perfect destination for a weekend break or day trip. The New York Times
visited earlier this year, so if you’re thinking of doing the same, you may want to look up their  suggestions on where to eat,
including the “obligatory” Wheelers Oyster Bar, as well as The
Sportsman, which was awarded a Michelin star.

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But I’m here primarily to check out Frank, a former oysterman’s cottage
on Harbour Street housing all manner of gorgeous British-made crafts,
design and homewares. I’d heard some exceptionally good things about
the shop, which is the brainchild of illustrator Mary Claire Smith and
photographer Rob Weiss.

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It’s the type of place that crafty-peeps only dream about, and people
on a gift-buying mission will not be disappointed. On my visit I was
greeted by a (very appropriate) bird display in the window, featuring Hannah Turner’s retro-style ceramic birds (from £28), Hannah Waldron’s vibrant canary prints and Abigail Brown’s super-sweet Matchbox Tweeters.

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There are goodies crammed into every corner and hanging from every
nook, but it has an overall feeling of space and airiness, befitting
its breezy harbour-side location. It’s hard to pick favourites, but you
might like to keep an eye out for Becky Crow’s
copper fox brooches, Claire Fletcher’s handpainted children’s
tambourines, and Cornelia O’Donovan’s softies made from Whitney vintage blankets.

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If you’re after some locally-made handcrafts, make a beeline
for Kate Erbe’s handknitted angora dogs (£19.50), Keith Brymer-Jones’
milky-toned hand-thrown ceramics (from £7.70 for a jug), and Heidi
Butter’s laser-cut jewellery.

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There are more surprises to be found in the garden out the back, where
you’ll find potted succulents in teacups amongst a range of outdoor
decorative items.

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And upstairs there’s a very cute holiday flat for
rent – ideal for a sunny weekend or mid-week getaway by the sea. But if
you can’t make it to this lovely wee corner of the world, some of the
loveliness can be found on their online shop.

Frank
65 Harbour Street
Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AG
Tel. +44 (0) 1227 262 500

Opening hours:
Monday-Friday 10.15am-5pm
Saturday 10.15am-5.30pm
Sunday 11am-5pm

  • http://www.buyassociation.co.uk Paul Collins

    Also worth noting is the lavender shop, which I feel needs no further explanation and is well worth a visit.
    Whitstable has some great ‘proper’ food shops to boast as well. There is a great butcher, fishmonger and cheese shop all within the same area.

  • http://www.charsinthecity.blogspot.com Char

    Looks like a great place to visit for the weekend. Are whelks tasty?

  • http://www.aforkfulofspaghetti.blogspot.com aforkfulofspaghetti

    Great pics – very evocative.

  • http://prettypollysprettythings.blogspot.com/ Polly R

    I LOVE Whitstable. That shop looks like my favourite kind of shop! I want to go back there now to check it out :D :D
    xxx

  • http://likklegirl.blogspot.com the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things

    Frank is the kind of shop that I dream of opening one day. With a little tea and cake shop attached.
    Very much in love the polka-dotted tambourine with the doggy(?)! xx

  • http://mysterycreature.wordpress.com Lauren

    That wrappting paper is beuaitful – I wish I could use it as wallpaper, as it really is lovely!

  • http://basilexposition.wordpress.com Fionnuala

    Very jealous that you’ve been to Frank, made worse by your lovely photos! Whitstable looks like it should be on my list of places to see before I return home again …

  • http://domesticali.typepad.com Ali

    My parents live in Whitstable – we love visiting. And my birthday wish list is always the same – anything from Frank.

  • westendmum

    I knew you’d love it. Frank is a gem.

  • http://conversationpieces.co.uk Zoe, Conversation Pieces

    Looks like a great place to go to… Had heard of Frank but loving the look of their actual shop – those fox brooches are divine. Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://www.janeosullivan.blogspot.com jane osullivan

    hello wee birdy…thanks so much , I feel like I have been on holiday !
    highlights, …imagining the fash mob at liberties , the knitted jumper on the telephone box,oh…the fetes .gosh how I miss england you girls are really rocking it …well done !

  • http://www.matouenpeluche.typepad.com Sam

    Super post!! I love that shop especially – oh my goodness I could really do some damage to my credit card there!!

  • http://www.hiccupings.blogspot.com Natalie

    What a lovely shop – a dangerous place to visit! Whitstable looks like a beautiful summer weekend destination.

  • http://www.deliciousindustries.blogspot.com Delicious Industries

    I really want to go and have a look at Frank, they stock prints from loads of my favourite illustrators and designers and it looks gorgeous.

  • http://kickcanandconkers.blogspot.com Deb

    Love this shop – one of my all time faves!

  • http://www.misscavendish.blogspot.com miss cavendish

    Love the babushka wrapping paper!

  • Delia

    Thanks for your posts on Whitstable!
    I was born there and lived in Whitstable (at 147 Island Wall) until I was 7 when my family moved us all to NYC. I haven’t been back since my teen years but I’m just dying to come back and visit. It looks even more charming than my romanticized memories of my dear seaside town!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5884bcd970b Hannah Turner

    I have supplied Frank for a few years now, but never really seen how lovely it is inside! I might have to have a ‘business research’ trip over there now. Thanks wee birdy. x

  • lianne_marie@hotmail.co.uk

    I live in Canterbury, 10 mins away from Whitstable, and spend most weekends there. I love Frank and pay a visit every Saturday to see what treats they have in – if you like the look and feel of the shop, look up Rob Ryan. The MOST gorgeous laser cuts and designs you’ll ever see.