Seafood and shopping in stylish Whitstable

Do you wanT to go to the seaside?
I’m not trying to say that everybody wants to go.
I fell in love at the seaside

The KOOKS

The air is different in Whitstable. As soon as you step foot in the little seaside town on the Kent coast, you can taste the sweet saltiness on the tip of your tongue. Known for its oysters, fresh crab and lobster, Whitstable has a working harbour and a pebble beach lined with wooden groynes. Cute colourful cottages mingle with weatherboard homes and warehouses. On the high street, independent shops abound – from homeware and souvenir shops, barbers to art galleries, cafes to clothes shops. A great little spot for some shopping and seafood, and it’s a hop, skip and jump from London.

The Pearl: The Whitstable oyster is in season from September to April each year.

The Grit: Although Whitstable has lots of accommodation for the DFLs (people Down From London), it’s still a small town so places get booked up well ahead, particularly in the summer months.

Oysters have been harvested in Whitstable since Roman times, but it wasn’t until the railway connected London to the Kentish town in the 18th century that it became a popular seaside destination. The original railway line was nicknamed the Crab and Winkle, and you can cycle 12 km of it from Whitstable to Canterbury. You can find out more about the railway and see Invicta, the eighth oldest locomotive in the world, at the Whistable Museum. You can also learn about the town’s history of shipbuilding, oyster catching and even tarmac production!

Where to eat

  • Snack at West Welks – On the corner of the harbour, West Whelks was set up in 1947. A great spot to grab a little tub of welks, mussels, cockles or get some fresh oysters.
  • Picnic at The Forge – This black-painted seafood shack right next to Whitstable Yacht club offers fresh crab sandwiches and native oysters. Perfect for a beach picnic.
  • Lunch at Crab & Winkle – This restaurant, situated above the fish and seafood market, has views of the working harbour. 
  • Dine at Samphire – Two doors down from the famous pink facade of Wheelers Oyster Bar is this little convivial bistro.

Where to shop

Where to stay

We didn’t stay but these look lovely:

How to get there

Trains from London Victoria take around 1h30 or 1h15 from St Pancras. Whistable station is a 10 minute walk to the centre of town and the beach.

If you’re driving, there are plenty of car parks. I recommend the Gorell Tank Car Park which is by the harbour and has plenty of space. You pay on your way out.

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