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Maidstone and Canterbury high streets busy on first Saturday since stores reopened

Shoppers have made the most of the nice weather and been on the hunt for deals on the first Saturday since non-essential stores were reopened.

Photographs show dozens of people in the centre of Maidstone today visiting retailers in Week Street and Fremlin Walk.

Maidstone has today been described as "rammed" by one shopper
Maidstone has today been described as "rammed" by one shopper
Maidstone has attracted plenty of shoppers today
Maidstone has attracted plenty of shoppers today
Before Monday, non-essential shops had been closed for about three months
Before Monday, non-essential shops had been closed for about three months

One visitor to the centre of town said: "Just popped into Maidstone and it's rammed today."

Meanwhile, pictures taken by local snapper Jo Court show Canterbury has been busy too.

Shoppers in Whitefriars, Canterbury, making the most of the good weather. Picture: Jo Court
Shoppers in Whitefriars, Canterbury, making the most of the good weather. Picture: Jo Court
Queueing outside stores at the shopping centre. Picture: Jo Court
Queueing outside stores at the shopping centre. Picture: Jo Court
People out clothes shopping in Canterbury. Picture: Jo Court
People out clothes shopping in Canterbury. Picture: Jo Court
Some shoppers in Canterbury wore face masks. Picture: Jo Court
Some shoppers in Canterbury wore face masks. Picture: Jo Court
A busy city car park on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jo Court
A busy city car park on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jo Court

A Primark security guard told her there had been a steady flow of shoppers all day.

Earlier today, about a dozen bargain hunters queued outside the Laura Ashley in Canterbury before it reopened at 9.30am.

The branch in the Wincheap Trading Estate was launching its closing down sale, as the chain prepares to shut all of its remaining stores.

It comes just six days after a raft of shops opened for the first time since lockdown began three months ago.

Across the county on Monday, large queues were seen outside branches of Primark when they reopened.

Shoppers queue outside Primark at Westwood Cross on Monday
Shoppers queue outside Primark at Westwood Cross on Monday

One eager shopper in Gravesend was seen queuing outside the storemore than an hour before it was due to reopen, before being joined by dozens of others.

And on the same day at Westwood Cross in Broadstairs, queues of hundreds of shoppers desperate to get their hands on new clothes were snaking their way around the building.

Hannah Hathaway and Hannah Petts were among those waiting in the queue in the sweltering heat.

Miss Hathaway said she had a good reason for needing to shop, having shed a significant amount of weight during lockdown.

“I’ve lost three-and-a-half stone - I have no knickers that fit me,” she said.

Hannah Hathaway, left, needs a new wardrobe
Hannah Hathaway, left, needs a new wardrobe

“I’ve come down to get a new wardrobe and get a bargain.

"Because it’s cheap it seems sensible to come here to get some bits to keep me going for a few more months until I lose a bit more weight.”

The scenes in Maidstone and Canterbury today were a stark contrast to those seen before was lockdown eased.

Maidstone town centre was deserted during lockdown in April
Maidstone town centre was deserted during lockdown in April
How Canterbury's city centre looked during lockdown
How Canterbury's city centre looked during lockdown

Photographs taken in March and April showed a number of its most popular shopping thoroughfares completely empty.

See more of Jo Court's photos here.

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