Three Hastings and St Leonards stores among the 50 best independent shops in the UK

Two stores in Hastings and one in St Leonards have been named in The Times’ list of “50 best independent shops in the UK”.

AG Hendy & Co, Hawk & Dove, and Little Mashers all made it into the top 50 - which was published on the newspaper’s website on Sunday (January 16).

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AG Hendy & Co, in High Street, Hastings Old Town, which houses a shop, small seafood restaurant, and school offering classes in fish cooking, food photography and travel writing, was praised for its old-fashioned frontage.

A G Hendy & Co, High Street, Hastings Old Town. SUS-220117-122954001

Alice Levine, radio and TV presenter and podcaster, said when she visits Hastings it always involves a pilgrimage to the store, run by food writer and photographer Alastair Hendy. “The changing window displays alone are worth a visit. Aesthetically pleasing, practical items is the brief. You’ll come out with half a dozen bistro glasses and a saucepan that is too beautiful to use, all wrapped up in brown paper and string,” she said.

Hawk & Dove, also in the High Street, was picked out for its “unique selection” of goods. Pearl Lowe, fashion and textiles designer, wrote: “Hawk & Dove is one of my favourite shops. I discovered it when we moved to the East Sussex coast last year. It has everything from handpicked vintage pieces, knitwear, slipdresses and tableware. It has such a unique selection. A real gem! The owner, Jade, has a great eye for truly special pieces.”

Hawk & Dove, High Street, Hastings Old Town SUS-220117-123007001

The article said St Leonards has a band of brilliant independent shopkeepers, but Little Mashers in Kings Road “takes the prize for childrenswear”. It added: “Aiming to fire up kids’ imaginations, its clothing-customisation kits are particularly entertaining, and the in-store craft hub — chock-full of beads, stickers, paints and paper — will make even the sulkiest Saturday afternoons a bit brighter.”

Little Mashers, Kings Road, St Leonards. SUS-220117-122942001