Hastings Battleaxe update – best shops and garden centres

I was all ready to post ‘Best Coffee places’ but there was a very bad fire in Hastings Old Town the other night and my favourite, Hanushka in George Street, may have been damaged. We don’t know as yet, so I thought for now I’d update some of the most popular Battleaxe posts.

     By far my most frequently-visited post is Best Shops in Hastings and St Leonard’s, from December 2012. Looking back at the post, many shops have come and gone in the meantime, but I must have chosen the most stable and long-lasting enterprises because surprisingly little has changed.

     In the Old Town, both Hendy’s Homestore and Judges now do sit-down food. So far, we have not tried either. Hendy’s is fiercely expensive and the eating looks uber-poncy – see this Guardian review, and Judges just has a few tables for coffee and cakes – there are better places.
      I’d also like to add the House of Habibi in the High Street – it stocks mainly Moroccan goods, but nice quality and unbelievably good value – I have had some lovely necklaces from there, and they do a great range of bags.

House of Habibi

      Most of our other favourites in the Old Town are antique/vintage shops – these have not had their own post as yet.
      In the New Town, the Oxfam bookshop in Queen’s Road closed, and was replaced by Bookbusters, a few doors along. However,  this deals mainly with remaindered books and is not nearly so interesting. Can’t think of anything else to include, except for the ever-wonderful discount emporium ESK, in Cambridge Road. It doesn’t really belong in a guide like this, but believe me, Battleaxe knows her stuff when it comes to discount stores – we had some truly massive places in Brum. Latif’s Warehouse? Forget it, ESK is better.
     Moving along to St. Leonard’s, there are many new shops, but I am not sure if they are established enough to list. Here are a couple I left out last time. As well as nice dog stuff, Valerie May of The Dawg’s Biscuits in Norman Road also makes and sells the most wonderful felted bags, brooches and accessories. Here is my bag!

Lovely dog bag by Valerie May

      Also in Norman Road, I failed to give enough space to Wayward, the vintage haberdashery store. Opening hours are erratic, but it is a lovely shop.

Buttons in Wayward

      Shop, at the bottom of Norman Road, has changed its direction. No vintage stuff, all new retro-style homewares, and, I fear, now less interesting. It has also lost the very popular Michala’s Cute Cakes, which has moved across the road to the Baker Mamunova Gallery.
       That takes us on to another popular post, Antiques, Vintage Shops and Galleries in St Leonard’s, from January 2014. As this is quite recent, one would hope that not much has changed, but in fact there are now even more shops than before. London Road, Kings Road and Norman Road are full of them. 
       When we were mooching about today I noticed these signs above the shops in Kings Road. Apparently they might have been painted by Robert Tressell (Ragged Trousered Philanthropist), when he worked as a sign writer.

Signs above shops in Kings Road, St Leonard’s

        Next, Best Garden Centres and Plant Nurseries near Hastings, June 2013. All the places mentioned are still well-visited by us, and I’d like to add three more. I’ve started a gardening group for the WI, and have been introduced to these by green-fingered friends.
        Firstly, the Friary Gardens, off the Ridge.  You would never know about this unless given the wink by the locals, as it is not signposted. Turn down by Coopers vets, carry on down the drive, and you come to the old Ore Place Farm. The nursery is run as a training enterprise by the Parchment Trust, working with people with learning disabilities. The nursery has an excellent range of plants at very low prices, and is a worthy cause to support. It is open on weekdays, but rarely at weekends.

Friary Gardens

        Next, Great Park Farm, Catsfield.  A good selection of plants, a farm shop, small display gardens and a lovely little cafe serving delicious lunches, cakes and scones.
        Finally, Lime Cross Nursery and Gardens, Herstmonceux. This is absolutely enormous, and is particularly good for larger shrubs and trees.  It also has display gardens, and a cafe serving good home-made food.
        Has anyone any favourites I have not mentioned, either here or in previous posts?

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