When Tesco closes, try an independent alternative

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By SevenoaksHol | Friday, October 08, 2010, 14:16

In the final countdown to the new enormo-Tesco at Riverhead, the existing store will be shut from 4pm on 24 October through to 8am on 1 November.

Alternative supermarkets

Tesco may be about to dominate the Riverhead footprint even more, but there are ample other options.

As well as the somewhat retro Tesco in the High Street, the fairly large Sainsbury’s store on Otford Road and the temporary Waitrose in the old Woolworths building, we also have some fantastic independent shops.

It may take a little longer than finding it all under one roof, but supporting our fabulous local shops keeps our villages and high street interesting and characterful, plus helps our local economy bubble along, rather than being dominated by huge chain shops that look the same in every town.

The butcher

Just down the road from the Tesco store in Riverhead is a staunch advocate of local retailers and an award-winning butchers, Batchelors

The staff are always friendly, knowledgable and efficient, the meat is fantastic and they have a great selection of cold meats, cheeses and condiments too.

They even sell stuffing packs and vegetables, we’ve bought all the elements of a roast dinner here before, and it was one of the best. Cost-wise, it’s pretty comparable to buying quality (i.e. not the value variety) produce from a supermarket. AND it doesn't have that horrible butchers smell that can put people off.

The baker

Plaxtol bakery has two shops, one in the main High Street and another in Borough Green. The queue inside often snakes around several people deep, and the bread is so tasty and affordable that there’s sometimes a danger of selling out – so don’t leave it until the final dregs of opening hours.

The candlestick maker (well, they sell pretty candlesticks)

One of the most beautiful shops in Sevenoaks, the Danish Collection in both Riverhead (the larger shop) and just off the main High Street is crammed with pretty interior accessories, furniture and gifts.

They import unique products I’ve not seen elsewhere, and also have a spin-off clothes shop – Tommelise By Danish Collection just around the corner.


Borough Green is one of the few villages around here that still boasts a greengrocer – The Wells Greengrocer on the High Street. Why not pop in when you’re buying up all the bread at the nearby Plaxtol bakery?

Condiments and preserves

I love the Hop Shop near Shoreham, which is a lovely place to visit for the views and nearby walks as well as the farm shop itself. They sell a fantastic selection of jams, marmalades, chutneys, table sauces and more, plus gorgeous cakes, biscuits, homemade pies, meats and gifts.

Online shopping

WeBuyNearby.co.uk is a brilliant online fresh food market, so you can still tap into the convenience of a one-stop-shop but support Kent and Sussex food producers at the same time. Meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables are all available, plus oils, hampers and loads more. You can even buy party food for catering at home.

It’s just one week, but if you ordinarily shop in the big Tesco in Sevenoaks, why not set yourself a challenge to buy your food from independent, local retailers and see how much nicer it can be?



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