Visit wonderful Whitstable
Shrugging off chain shops and the 21st century in equal measure, a trip round Whitstable is unforgettable for many reasons. For starters, the working harbour brims with the day’s glossy catch and is ideal for a quick bite. Stroll along the pebbly beaches to reach a sip of the hoppy Whitstable Ale brewed in nearby Faversham or maybe sit on one of the benches dedicated to Star Wars stalwart Peter Cushing who retired in the town.
Make your way to Harbour Street for indie art, contemporary craft and the kind of books you wished you had time to read but will look good on the shelf if you don’t. If you can’t afford any of the art then take in the socially charged messages of local artist Catman who daubs his Whitstable-centric, pro-local stencils onto one of the town’s many alleys and walls. Dissent has always stirred in the town. Peace campaigner Brian Haw grew up here and there is a bench dedicated to him on the beach. In a town which frequently feels cosy on a first visit it ultimately challenges the status quo with its commitment to supporting local shops and keeping the beach for everyone to enjoy.
Pearl of the ocean
Oysters made the town rich and sustained the Romans. Now at the tiny pastel-coloured Wheeler’s fish bar you can shuck them alongside sampling some more haute cuisine of the seas. For the less fish-orientated, Tea and Times serves up slabs of cakes and huge sandwiches and other cafes and restaurants deal in dining as diverse as vegan, French and Indian. Of course, if you’re here it would be a crime not to order to fish ‘n’ chips and V.C. Jones is the place to go. Beat the queues and get there early.
The Old Neptune is one of the few pubs on an actual beach and will invite you to its seaside comfort. But The Black Dog with its nod to Led Zeppelin is a high street micro pub with enough ales to please a 70s prog rocker.
A rich history
The tiny museum is a paean to the town touching on things such as the practice of helmet diving which originated in the town – there is a public sculpture to it in the harbour. For more history, head to Whitstable Castle which has a tea-room for thirsty travellers. For more local history, The Favourite moored on Island Wall is a rare chance to glimpse a local oyster smack. Moored between some cottages it was maneuvered to its resting place by local volunteers tempted by free gin and sausage rolls.
The theatre has played host to the likes of local lad Alan Davies and Jenny Eclair and the mural inside its bar with its kitsch display of theatrical tropes is at once alarming and mesmerising in equal measure.
So grab your chips and head to the beach where the sun sets over a town which never dims – clearly fate has smiled on Whitstable and a day out here, culminating in a stay in one of its properties will leave you wishing you’d never left.