With a rich maritime history and quirky, slightly bohemian charm, Whitstable has plenty to offer all-year-round. The many alleyways were historically made for walkways down to the sea and used by smugglers but nowadays children thinks its an adventure to weave in and out of them - can you fit through the famous 'Squeeze Gut Alley'! If you’re visiting our town for the first time, you may be wondering what there is to see and do here. Luckily, the answer is plenty! Here are a few of our personal favourites to get you started.
Whitstable boasts a number of fantastic beaches, bursting with traditional British seaside charm. Tankerton Beach is an unspoilt pebble beach that offers some of the finest views on the Kentish Coast. A popular, family-friendly destination, the beach is also home to the famous Whitstable beach huts. These colourful little hideaways have been owned by some famous faces over the years, and provide the perfect little slice of home on the seafront.
When the tide is low, the waters recede to reveal a shingle strip about half a mile out to sea - a natural landmark known as ‘The Street’. According to local folklore, the property was used as a landing point for the first Roman expedition onto British soil - just one of the town’s many fascinating connections to our history.
Just a short distance across town, Whitstable West Beach is another popular spot. This shingle beach with little fishing boats dotted along is about a mile in length, and runs from Whitstable’s working harbour to neighbouring Seasalter. This picturesque beach is home to a number of local institutions, such as the fantastic Old Neptune pub (known locally as ‘Neppy’!). Whitstable's famous sunsets are most stunning from this part of the coastline as it faces West.
If you’re looking to hit the water and make a splash then you’ve come to the right place!
Whether you’re an old sea dog or an intrepid first-timer, Oyster Coast Watersports offer a wide range of sailing lessons and experiences. OCW also offers boat tours to the Maunsell World War II Forts, wind farms and watch the seals basking in the sun.
The whole of England has undergone a culinary revolution in recent years. And it’s only the fitting that the ‘Garden of England’ should be at the heart of a movement built around farm-to-table, artisanal suppliers and fresh local produce. As such, Whitstable boasts a number of fantastic and characterful eateries.
Of course much of the town’s cuisine was historically built around seafood - in particular the Native Oyster that brought Whitstable fame and prosperity. This tradition is very much continued to this day, with restaurants such as Wheeler's Oyster Bar serving delicious, fresh oysters. There’s no artifice to the presentation, merely local ingredients, simply cooked.
If oysters aren’t what you’re looking for, then might we recommend Samphire Restaurant. This relaxed dining experience is on the main strip of the high street. Their imaginative cuisine is simply cooked but brings out the flavour of the fresh local produce used.
Whitstable’s quirky charm extends to its High Street, which boasts a higher percentage of independent shops than any other in the country. Fashionable Harbour Street is another great shopping destination and is home to some personal favourites of ours.
Taking John Ruskin’s assertion that ‘Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of intelligent effort’ as a mantra, Ruskin is renowned for its fashionable menswear, and is curating a chic range of womenswear to match.
Oxford Street Books is a wonderfully quaint second-hand book shop, specialising in rare and historic books, whilst also offering a wide selection of cheap beach reads.
Whitstable is truly privileged to boast not one, but two great record shops. Gatefield Sounds and Rock Bottom Records are both crate-diggers dreams, offering a mix of new releases and old favourites.
The Horsebridge Centre is the heart of the town’s creative community. Comprising two galleries, the centre hosts a number of exhibitions each month, as well as film screenings, live performance and stand-up comedy.
Oxford Street is home to two fantastic local galleries - Chappell Contemporary, which specialises in signed limited edition prints and unique originals, and Fishslab Gallery (housed in a former fishmonger's!), a non-profit, voluntary organisation, showcasing the very best in local, original artwork.
Whitstable’s historic working harbour was the engine that drove the town’s oyster-fishing boom, and it remains a hub of activity to this day.
The harbour hosts a frequent market - an open-air showcase of local crafts, food and art.
Cycling is a great way to explore Whitstable. In fact, it’s a great way to get out and explore the rest of the idyllic Kentish countryside, as well as the city of Canterbury, and the county’s stunning coastline.
Oyster Bay Trail is a winding 5-mile route along Whitstable’s shoreline and promenade, and connects to the Viking Cycle Trail if you’re looking to venture further afield.
The Crab and Winkle Way begins in Whitstable, and winds through the countryside and woodland, past the winding pond which is a great spot for a picnic.
Kent Cycle Hire offers great flexibility, allowing you drop off any bicycles rented with them at any of their three cycle hubs in Whitstable, Herne Bay and Canterbury.
If you’re looking for an excuse to pamper yourself then Whitstable then we recommend Pure Indulgence!
When you’re staying with us, we want to make sure that you’re feeling as relaxed and at home as possible, which is why we recommend Pure Indulgence By The Sea to deliver 5 star quality treatments in a spa environment. They are trained in a number of treatments including bridal make-up, manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and massage.