Freelance journalist from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Published April 17th 2019
Whitstable. The seaside town to end all seaside towns. It's difficult to make it out of the mad rush of the city centre of London, but when you do, make sure you come here.
This quiet and quaint little town on the north coast of Kent in south-east England provides the perfect setting for that one sole breath of fresh air that you might just have needed for some time. Busy Londoners can make this short journey to the east coast knowing full well that plenty of peace lies ahead. This fishing town is ideal for day-trippers looking for the epitome of the seaside where, somewhat surprisingly, there is always something exciting happening.
The pebble beach is a popular spot when the sun is shining
The town boasted one of the earliest passenger railways some time back, a route once used to carry both budding travellers and essential cargos to the neighbouring city of Canterbury, which is now an intriguing route for the grateful cyclists in the area.
Cosy independent cafes, pubs and minute shops pepper the sleepy street, each with a distinctive story inside. Venture just a few hundred metres either way and you'll bump into authentic art galleries, or even the locally made products such as butter, wine and beer, but all around you will be the genuine and heartwarming feel of a real community spirit. Whitstable even has its own Oxford Street, which Londoners will be glad to hear is the polar opposite of its bustling namesake in the capital.
Off the street and onto the beach, where the shingle and sand combine to offer a peaceful platform for aspiring sunbathers. Open water swimming and water sports are also a popular pastime, and with no promenade, the pebbled beach is one of the most peaceful places to come on a sunny afternoon.
Whitstable is, however, most notable for its 'native oysters' as they're called, which have been collected from the ocean bed as early as the Roman times. Oysters dominate the talk around the town, and locals and indeed tourists flock to the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival every summer. The oysters steal the show even on a regular day in this proud town, where all sorts of oyster dishes are served by the local food companies, with oyster tacos, freshly served oysters on a plate of their own and even oyster beer on the menu!
The area also comprises an imposing castle that was once privately owned, but now adds to the community spirit, with its stunning building and vividly colourful gardens now managed and maintained by the Whitstable Castle Trust. It truly is the seaside town that epitomises the south English coast and all that it entails and is well worth a visit.