Whitstable is like no other town by the sea. Its traditional charms, strong arts culture and rich maritime history complement Whitstable’s modern appeal. This chic and compact town is one of England’s coolest seaside hangouts and its oysters are to die for. Come July, the pebbled beach heaves with foodie fans indulging in freshly-caught oysters during the week-long Whitstable Oyster Festival. Oysters and other delicacies from the sea can be enjoyed at the local restaurants and pubs. Billed as one of Kent’s summer highlights, the week-long celebration is structured around the traditional local customs of the oyster fishing industry.
The week opens with the Landing of the Oysters and a town parade, which delivers ‘the catch’ to local restaurants. A Harbour Food Fair will showcase local produce throughout the opening weekend, and visitors can enjoy events such as the Mud Tug and Oyster Challenge. Additional highlights to this year’s programme include daily workshops and activities, heritage walks and talks, open-air performances, and cooking demonstrations from local chefs. Shoppers can delight in the town’s bohemian charm with independent craft and gift shops, galleries, delicatessens and fashion shops. When you need to recharge with a drink and food you will be spoilt for choice with a wonderful selection of cafes, restaurants and pubs. The beach is one of the very few in the country that has a pub on it.
Whether you take the main route through the town or enjoy haphazard progress through quiet lanes and alleyways with eccentric names such as Squeeze Gut Alley, you’ll end up at the working harbour. Constructed in 1831 the harbour has an interesting history including diving, shipbuilding and fishing. The Thames Sailing Barge Greta is moored in the harbour. Launched in 1892, she was one of the Dunkirk ‘Little Ships.’ She is the oldest working ship of all the Dunkirk little ships providing Thames Barge Sailing trips around the Thames Estuary.
The Whitstable Harbour Village is an exciting community of local producers, designers, artists and independent local retailers, located nearby on the South Quay. www.whitstableharbourvillage.co.uk
The harbour fish markets are popular with locals and visitors alike. The Crab and Winkle, East Quay, and Lobster Shack restaurants are also situated in the harbour. In the summer months, visitors flock to the stalls which spring up to delight with all manner of fresh sea food, including oysters. While providing tasty sustenance, the Harbour Garden Café frequently provides entertainment, featuring local musical talent. The Crab and Winkle restaurant enjoys a prime location with views overlooking the harbour, still a vibrant working entity. In the harbour, the company’s fish market is literally downstairs, and the restaurant’s fish is as fresh as it gets. The fish market below offers a selection of seafood too, which brings visitors from far and wide. It’s this freshness, combined with a flair for cooking, attention to menus, and all-round service which has brought the Crab and Winkle national critical acclaim, with articles galore singing its praise as a first class restaurant.
The Harbour Garden Café enjoys some of the best views from the north Kent coast and is situated on the South Quay of Whitstable Harbour. The café is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike.
The Whitstable fish markets give seafood lovers the opportunity to enjoy the freshest fish or shellfish. During the summer months, the fish market also adds to the buzz of the harbour with fantastic barbecues, showcasing locally sourced products wherever possible for a bite en route or as you relax.
Along the coast at Tankerton, grassy slopes dip to meet the sea throwing out an invitation to visitors and locals to walk along the prom and take in some bracing sea air. There’s a chance too to get unsurpassed views of Whitstable’s skyline from The Street, a wide ridge of shingle stretching out to sea, but only revealed when the tide is low.
With its sense of intimacy and rich character Whitstable has secured a favoured spot in the hearts and minds of all who visit the town.
We aim to arrive at Whitstable by approximately 10.30am and depart for home by 6.00pm. The price of the trip includes return coach travel to Whitstable. We look forward to welcoming you aboard.
0730 WATERLOO STATION YORK ROAD BUS STOP V OUTSIDE SHELL CENTRE: 0750 KINGS CROSS STATION GRAYS INN ROAD BUS STOP R OUTSIDE NISA STORE: 0815 SHEPHERDS BUSH BUSH GREEN BUS STOP E OUTSIDE SANTANDER: 0835 GUNNERSBURY TUBE STATION CHISWICK HIGH ROAD BUS STOP A OUTSIDE CHISWICK TOWER: 0900 STAINES BUS STATION OFF SOUTH STREET BY MATALAN STORE