Bridport, artistic hub
Bridport seems to be the artistic hub of Dorset. Curiously, our guidebook was rather dismissive and less than enthusiastic about the place, insisting that the seaside end of the town, West Bay, was "possibly the least attractive resort in Dorset". Well, I couldn't say, because we didn't actually go to West Bay (lack of time!), which is a shame because there can be found Sladers Yard, an art centre located in a Georgian warehouse: http://www.sladersyard.co.uk/.
The town has also been called "Notting Hill-on-Sea", which at first sounds slightly worrying. But we haven't seen any trace of weekending yuppies and luvvies. Maybe we were too early in the year...
Bridport is bustling, and seemingly really pushing the arts and culture, which can only be good news for everyone.
The Bridport Arts Centre is extremely dynamic and has a great programme of events and shows: http://www.bridport-arts.com/
The Electric Palace is a dynamic little venue: http://www.electricpalace.org.uk/
First, we came across two very nice secondhand and antiquarian bookshops, both on South Street:
Bridport Old Bookshop and Wild and Homeless.
We then went to the St Michael's Trading Estate, the "art and vintage quarter". It is located away from the main streets, and doesn't look like very much when you first approach it (we probably arrived the wrong way). And indeed, once we found what we had been looking for, we spent hours browsing, looking, being generally nosey around the place.
Here are the St Michael's studios (http://www.stmichaelsstudios.com/), the perfect place for artistic-minded people to work and network.
The area regularly helds a vintage market (more details here: http://www.oldalbion.co.uk/)
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