With Coronavirus putting a stop to our Italian holiday plans, we took ourselves off to Whitstable for a long weekend. I’d long wanted to visit this seaside town on the Kent coast as I’d heard such great things about it so I was quite excited!
Whitstable is pretty small so unless you’re going to visit nearby towns, such as Margate or Broadstairs, a weekend or three nights is plenty.
How to get there
We got the Southeastern train from London King’s Cross St Pancras and were in Whitstable in about an hour and 15 minutes. We paid about £75 for an off peak return for two, so it’s quite pricey but we did also book it the day before. When you arrive, it’s then about a ten to fifteen minute walk to the beach from the train station.
Where to stay
There are a few hotels in Whitstable and nearby Tankerton, however we opted to stay in an AirBnB as we wanted outdoor space as well as the option to eat in.
We stayed in a gorgeous two bedroom townhouse at the top of Harbour Street, which was the perfect location. Just a minute’s walk from the shops and restaurants and about 5 minutes from the beach.
As the UK had only just announced that hotels and restaurants could reopen, we did eat out but only for lunch. We chose to eat dinner at the AirBnB.
Whitstable Oyster Company
The first restaurant we ate lunch at was the famous Whitstable Oyster Company. It’s situated right on the beachfront in a beautiful building which was the old oyster stores.
Naturally the starters are focused on oysters (which we don’t eat) and other seafood, such as squid, sardines and mussels. The mains are all fish focused too so if you’re not a fish fan, this probably isn’t the restaurant for you! Our starters were average but the main was absolutely delicious!
The restaurant itself is very cute with brick walls, ceilings with wooden beams and white wooden tables and chairs with red and white checked table cloths. I also loved how they had their own branded Prosecco!
The second restaurant we had lunch at was Samphire, which is a favourite of friends of mine who live in Whitstable. Situated on the High Street, Samphire is a lovely bistro, serving fresh Kentish produce.
We had the burrata with red peppers and the duck rillette with pickles to start. It was nice to see some non-seafood options on the menu.
The fish main was absolutely divine! I had the hake with saffron braised peas & courgette and aioli – so darn tasty! Really filling too. My only criticism is the dish… I would have preferred a plate.
We didn’t eat here as they were doing takeout only, but apparently Wheelers Oyster Bar is amazing. And despite the name, they do more than oysters! Also, this has to be the prettiest building in town.
What to do in Whitstable
As I mentioned, Whitstable is a small town so there’s not loads to do. It is a great place to just relax, take in the fresh sea air and enjoy being by the seaside.
Harbour Street is full of lovely little independent shops – from clothing to antiques and home decor. You can easily while away a few hours by having a wander around and popping into a shop or two.
There is also a very small museum and gallery to visit, although I must say that we didn’t go (although it was probably closed).
The harbour itself is very cute with a little market and also some food stalls and restaurants such as The Lobster Shack, which is right on the beach.
If you take a walk along the beachfront you’ll also find some food stalls and a pub – Old Neptune – at one end.
There are beach huts galore! And apparently they can go for £50,0000…. which is crazy! I loved how they were all different colours and some had adornments, like this mermaid, or were painted with lobsters, seagulls etc.
A friend suggested we walked from Whitstable to Tankerton, which we did. It took about 30 mins or so each way and is a pleasant walk.
The weather was pretty nice and as we were at the beach, it was only natural that we’d stop and enjoy a Mr Whippy. Not a bad view!
You probably wouldn’t realise this but Whitstable has a castle! It was originally known as Tankerton Towers as it was actually the residential home of the Pearson family in the late 1790’s. Fancy!
You can enjoy afternoon tea in the Orangery Tea Rooms and enjoy a table outside in the lovely grounds if the weather is good.
As I mentioned, Whitstable is quite small but it’s very close to Margate and Broadstairs if you fancy visiting another seaside town. They can both be reached by car or by train. If you’re visiting with kids, you may want to spend a fun day out at Dreamland in Margate.
We really enjoyed our long weekend in Whitstable. And a bonus was I got to see my friend and ex-colleague Sally for a coffee and my friend Gemma for a walk along the beach with her dog!