The beautiful little seaside town with a ridiculous number of eclectic boutiques

Every seaside town on England’s diverse coastline has a story to tell and reasons why they should be visited.

Some towns have history on their side, such as Whitby with its Dracula connection or Portobello in Scotland.

Other areas, such as Bridport in Dorset, have vibrant local economies and friendly communities which draw people from as far away as London to their streets. spoke to shop owners in Bridport about what makes the town such a hub for eclectic boutiques and why it draws Londoners out of the capital and into the countryside.

Jody, 39, co-owns The Customs House, a shop in the trendy West Bay harbour which falls inside Bridport’s boundary.

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Formerly known as Bridport Harbour, West Bay is a hub of artists and independent shops.

Jody, who lived in London for 25 years, but was born in Dorset, said: “I moved from London and had a business here for seven years we’ve been absolutely buzzing.

“We’ve got all these wonderful up-and-coming restaurants, this beautiful beach, incredible energy down here.

“We’ve got quite an arty/hippie atmosphere in Bridport.”

Jody added: “We have got wonderful antique areas down here so, markets, antique markets, loads of art, just a really eclectic look and then you’ve got your independent shops which sell stuff like handmade Dorset soaps.”

Jody lived in London for over 20 years before moving to Bridport with her family. She said her children, and the advantages of Bridport, were one of the reasons she moved down.

Jody explained: “I moved down because of my kids. There’s fresh air and smaller schools, 100 in his school and only 10 in his class. There’s also more space.”

Jody isn’t the only business owner who extols the benefits of Bridport.

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Roy, who owns Clocktower Records, explained that the area can feel like someone is “moving back in time”. He said: “There have been more opportunities for more people to start their own businesses here because there’s been so many small shops and small units.

“The other upside of this is we have a street market and that attracts a lot of footfall so if you wanted to be in a business it has a lot of footfall throughout the year.”

Roy explained what makes the area so attractive to live in: “It’s a destination the fact that it’s seen as an event-led town, a gateway to the Jurassic coast.

“It’s a small community, friendly and there are all age groups and types of people here. It has historically quite a lot of artists but also, it’s evolved into TV and films. All those things add to the lure of living here.”

Roy explained that people move to Bridport because there’s “less pressure”.

He said: “There are no motorways in Dorset and very few aeroplanes flying over so it feels like an escape and it’s very different mainly because of the coast road.

“There’s less pressure, rush hour might last five minutes. It’s very friendly, you get used to the fact that people in all the shops chat to you.

“All the small business owners, it’s quite tough to be a small business owner in terms of the competition, we all try to work quite hard to promote the town and the small businesses.”

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