Norman Road in St Leonards on Sea. Over a mile away from Hastings Town Centre, it lies just behind the sea front and the gorgeousness of Marine Court (a 1930s building, built to look like an ocean liner). Here is a road with many attractions (and I used to live near Chatsworth Rd in East London); one half of this astonishing road is home to cafés, furniture shops, art galleries, an Aladdin’s cave of a haberdashery, vintage clothing shops, two hairdressers, a Chinese take away and a cinema, while the other half houses a beautiful florist, the best kebab shop in St Leonards and international supermarkets. I mean, what other road do you know of has it’s very own website?
Historically, Norman Road had been an up-market, bustling centre for shopping and leisure pursuits – however, it became run down when the holiday makers started leaving seaside towns for foreign travel. Thankfully nowadays Norman Road has regained its reputation as a thriving and creative community.
My typical afternoon wondering through Norman Road starts off with a visit to the Love Café, a delightful place full of eccentricity all rounded off with homemade fare. I often go in there to have tea and to see if I can catch the elusive white Elephant teapot. Then it’s on to Shop on Norman Road, an elegant furniture and lifestyle shop complete with a café and the most delicious Red Velvet Cake I’d eaten in a long while. After my coffee I then look into the furniture shops and galleries that littler Norman Road like sweets, I might pop into the cinema to see a new film and then I go and look for the perfect vintage dress for a date in the evening. In short, Norman Rd has everything to offer on an intimate scale, which is just the way this ex-Londoner likes it.