What’s in Whitstable? More than you might think! This pretty, seaside village is situated on the north coast of Kent, in southeastern England. If you’re a lover of seafood, fresh sea air and an artsy atmosphere, Whitstable is a relaxing day trip.
“Whitstable was famous for its ‘Native Oysters’ which were collected from beds beyond the low water mark from Roman times until the mid-20th century.”
As soon as you get into town, you’ll quickly see there’s a friendly, small community vibe. I found it really easy to chat with locals, who were very keen to share their stories of how they ended up in Whitstable.
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There’s a thriving art scene, which is felt as you walk down the high street. The mix of unique gift shops, book stores, record shops and cafes will satisfy all the senses.
I went to Whitstable with one mission and was pleasantly surprised at how much it had to offer. I’ll break down the best reason for this day trip and a list of what makes this little town a place to visit more than once.
Start with a Coffee at Blueprint
I opted for a pick-me-up at Blueprint Coffee. Blueprint Coffee is an independent coffee shop, with an on-site bean roaster. The coffee was superb and the ambience was atmospheric. Treat yourself to a brownie and even a book in the surprise little bookshop. This is a definite gem.
Look Out for Street Art
Do you love street art? I do! I’m always on the lookout for new graffiti and murals to check out in my travels. I discovered local street art by artist Catman.
On the high street, next to Boots, is a humorous depiction of Her Majesty being towed along by her corgis.
On the Pilgrims Hospice charity shop, a piece depicting an exhausting looking medic, and then next to it is a message about the plastic issue damaging the world, which was painted on David Attenborough birthday, basically saying time is running out, squeezing the life out of Planet Earth.
His work is absolutely amazing! If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out his pieces. You won’t be disappointed.
Shopping on Harbour Street
My head kept turning in all directions as the window dressings were all so creative and inviting. I popped into a few shops and snagged some new linen pants from The Clothes Horse. There’s something about the seaside that makes me want to wear linen.
Oxford Street Books is a must and if you get a sweet tooth while shopping, you definitely want to check out Sundae Sundae for ice cream, of course.
Pop into a few other unique shops:
- Whitstable Lavender
- Flory & Black
- The Whiting Post
You’ll have a hard time moving on from the high street! There’s so much to see and it’s just about one block from the beach, which brings me to my next stop of the day.
If art galleries are a must, there’s several to choose from or you can do a complete gallery tour. The Whitstable Community Museum and Gallery has been added to this list for the history buffs.
- Fishslab Gallery
- Chappell Contemporary
- Harbour Gallery
- Show Off Gallery
- Bruce Williams Studio/Gallery
- Whitstable Community Museum and Gallery
Harbour Market Whitstable
The Harbour Market Whitstable is an eclectic market is home to a wide variety of vendors, selling everything from fresh seafood to vintage clothes.
Whether you’re browsing for souvenirs or simply enjoying the nautical atmosphere, the Harbour Market is well worth a visit.
The Lobster Shack
The main reason people go to Whitstable is for the Oysters. As I’m a vegetarian it’s not something I eat but if you were seriously craving some good seafood, actually on the seaside and The Lobster Shack does not disappoint.
The Lobster Shack is a beach bar that has amazing views and lots of outdoor seating. They’re located at the end of the East Quay in Whitstable Harbour, with stunning sea views over the Thames Estuary. Choose to sit as far out as you can on the dock and was able to watch the boats and fishermen coming and going from the working harbour.
It’s a bit of a walk to get to the entrance of The Lobster Shack, but you get to see first-hand what goes into growing oysters. I had no idea! In the eighteenth century, The Lobster Shack was actually an oyster grading house. There’s lots of history with the buildings in Whitstable.
With a warm and sunny it’s worth splurging on a complete seafood spread and a glass of bubbly. Wow, the oysters really were incredible. Check out a picture from a friend. You won’t leave hungry. And you can stay as long as you like, soaking up the sun and sound of the waves.
Travel Tip: In late August Whitstable Oyster Festival runs and it’s worth a visit! The Whitstable Oyster Festival began in the 1980’s and is still going strong today, every summer. Check out music and comedy on the Stage, join the oyster eating competition, build a grotto, go crabbing and watch the landing of the oysters. The 3-day party also has an oyster parade, so there’s something for everyone. If mollusks are your favourite, don’t miss this unforgettable oyster experience. Even the royals have been known to pop in from time to time.
Other Restaurants With a View
The Whitstable Oyster Company for lunch
The Whitstable Oyster Company is an old oyster warehouse with views over the estuary. Their menu is hand-written and changes daily depending on what’s fresh. They even serve oysters from their own beds!
Bubble for breakfast
Bubble is a family-run restaurant, operated by sisters Holly and Bryony and their team. Everything at Bubble is made to order with fresh ingredients from local suppliers.
Harry’s Cafe for all-day breakfast
Harry’s Cafe is a super cute all-day breakfast diner. They offer vegetarian friendly, vegan and gluten-free options, as well as lunch and dinner.
Jojo’s for lunch or dinner
Jojo’s is a family-run meat, meze and fish restaurant, serving home-made food with a Mediterranean influence. “We only use high-quality ingredients and trusted local suppliers, all our meat and eggs are free range, and our fish, of course, comes only from sustainable stocks.”
It wasn’t quite warm enough for me to go swimming that day, but I did enjoy sitting on a bench overlooking the colourful beach huts above Tankerton Beach. This is where I found people to be the friendliest, with their dogs and children running along in the grass.
You don’t have to be on the sand to enjoy a view of the sea and I never get enough of the cute huts. They’re so perfectly English.
This tranquil beach offers safe bathing and well managed facilities as well.
At low tide enjoy what’s called ‘The Street.’ It’s a natural path that takes you right out to sea, perfect for paddling and exploring rock pools and sea life.
Whitstable has several other beaches for you to check out as well.
West Beach Whitstable
West Beach is privately owned by the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company. It’s a bit out of the tourist area of town, so a quieter scene. They also have beach huts and are dog friendly.
Reeves Beach is the opposite, near the Harbour and main part of town. It’s a shingle beach, meaning it’s a pebble beach, with lots of benches and a pathway to walk on from the harbour. You can access this beach easily from the high street.
Walks in Whitstable
If you have more time in the area, consider going on one of the wonderful walks.
Whitstable Shore Circular
If the weather’s nice, Whitstable Shore Circular is a 7.6 kilometre loop trail with scenic views of the seaside and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and bird watching.
Whitstable to Herne Bay
The coastal walk from Whitstable to Herne Bay is 4.8 miles, rated fairly easy. Take your time and marvel at the colourful beach huts, birds and beachgoers.
If you never visit a town or city without visiting its local castle, then you won’t want to miss the Whitstable Castle and Gardens. Originally called Tankerton Towers, the castle was actually a residence and has been developed throughout history by successive owners.
The Gardens are another haven of relaxation, surrounded by beautiful rose gardens. You can even enjoy an afternoon tea or cream tea in the Tea Room after you’ve had a stroll around the grounds.
Sunset at the Old Neptune
Whitstable is known for their sunsets as much as their oysters. If you’ve stayed the day and want to watch the sunset, the best place is The Old Neptune, where you can have a drink and take in the sunset on the beach. This old worldly pub has loads of character and charm and even live music.
What’s in Whitstable?
There’s lots in Whitstable! But there’s not too much that you can’t see it all in a day.
I hope this has inspired you to visit the charming seaside town of Whitstable. Whether you’re wanting to spend the day on the beach, shopping, visiting art galleries or eating your way through the village, you’re sure to enjoy every minute of it.
Walking Route of Whitstable
Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.