Well excuse me for disagreeing with the previous reviews of Whitstable. Yes it's ok for a day trip or even a weekend but after 3 days of my 7 day stay in the town I was eager to return home. There is just not enough in the place to hold your attention for longer than a day trip. The beack is no better than a working fishermans shore. I would no more sit on the beach or swim in the sea than I would at the industrial end of Tilbury dock. The town is trying hard to be attractive but is pulled down by the uneducated and unemployed that live there. Regular groups of rowdy youths frequent the high street and harbour street at night with no police presence in the town. Tankerton Slopes is quiet with just the shingle beach and a few dull beach huts facing the dingey shore.
I found Whitstable to be a tired, sad little place full of traffic. Probably people trying to escape
I am writing this review having spent a lovely day in Whitstable at the weekend with my group of friends to celebrate my birthday. I am a big fan of the place and try to visit at least a few times each summer.
I live in Maidstone which is about 30 miles or so from Whitstable. The journey is remarkably simple, A249 then M2 and you're there, and only takes about 40 minutes or so, making it perfect for a day out when the weather is nice.
Parking in Whitstable is a little bit of a mixed bag, sometimes you can find a space in one of the several small carparks that are dotted about (and some are quite well hidden) othe times you might find yourself going round in circles trying to find a space. Obviously this is not ideal but it is a very popular town so on a nice day it's worth getting there early to get a decent space.
I have to say I have not really spent a great deal of time in the centre of the town as when I go I am not on a shopping trip, I am on a day out to the coast to enjoy nice weather! However, from what I've seen (which I think is mainly the sort of 'Old Town' area, there are a few decent shops, a mix of some quite good charity shops, a nice green grocers, a deli and a small supermarket (formerly a somerfield, now a budgens) and various other gifty type shops. The area is quite a centre for the Arts and there are several small galleries with various pieces of art for sale.
The local Oysters naturally have quite a presence in the town with at least a couple of oyster shops dotted about, though I have to say Oysters aren't really my cup of tea.
One thing that surprises me a little about the town (or at least the old town area that I've visited is that there are not as many eateries as I might have imagined...and find fish and chips is not quite as simple as I'd have thought...
This is one of my favourite places anywhere. When I visit, it is always a highlight as it is a nice sun trap and there are various places to buy some wonderful fresh seafood, which never tastes quite as good as when you are sat in the sun in the harbour looking at the boats etc! As well as the typical cray fish tails, seafood mix, pinks etc, there are of course plenty of locally caught oysters. In addition there is a lovely eaterie that sells simple but delicious things like prawn skewers, mackeral buns, scampi, chips etc etc which are reasonably priced and rather tasty! There are also a couple of restaurants though I (sadly) have to say I've not eaten in any of them as of yet but certainly plan to over the summer!
There is a lovely fish market that has loads of beautiful fish for you to buy. My friends and I are planning a camping trip in the area and we shall definitely visit the fish market to stock up for a wonderful fish/seafood barbecue.
As you walk along the harbour, there are also various stalls selling toys, ornaments, hats, sunglasses, jewellery antiques etc and it is very pleasant to have a wander and a browse on a lovely sunny day.
The beach in Whitstable, while not the greatest of beaches ever is still nice. It is sectioned off slightly differently from a lot of other beaches with the sections being quite narrow but being a big beach you are quite likely to be able to find a nice section with very few other people on it even on a very busy day. Part of this is because for the most part is it is a pebble beach so unlike the likes of Camber etc it doesn't attract so many beach dwellers even on beautifully sunny days. Personally I like a nice pebble beach as you don't tend to get quite so messy as with sand, and on days when there is a bit of a sea breeze, you don't get sand blowing everywhere...and lets face it who like sand in their sandwiches!?!?
I really enjoy spending time on the beach in Whitstable as it is generally nice and peaceful unlike a lot of much more busy beaches, making it very easy to relax and let time drift by.
Unlike so many beach resorts, there aren't huge numbers of noisy chav attracting amusements, which pleases me as it seems to be a bit more of an upmarket coastal town than a lot (no doubt there are less appealing areas but so far I've not come across them...)
If you felt the need to do some kind of activity, there is bowling nearby and also nearby there is a laser quest site (which I visited for my 30th birthday with friends last year) which is great fun and reasonably priced...though it's likely you will need to book up fairly well in advance.
Whitstable is a favourite destination of mine on a nice sunny day and a place I find very relaxing. If you are looking for a nice place to go for a wander and enjoy some seafood, you could do an awful lot worse!!
Having lived in whitstable, (and Tankerton) all my life I feel I have seen enough to be able to review this twon quite thoroughly. Whitstable is tranditionally a fishing town, based around the harbour which in recent years has grown in touristy size quite considerably. This growth in tourist inductry has lead to a lot of over priced gift shops appearing in the town, especially harbour street. The shops are great to browse round as they contain interesting, more unique purchases than you get from the usual chain stores. The main area for these shops is the side of the high street nearest the harbour. On busy good weather days there are often cool little stalls selling similar things lined up in the harbour. In bad weather whitstable, like many other seaside towns can appear dreary and deserted. However in good weather it is packed, the locals love it and so do the tourists, especially those down from londoners that flood in on the sunny weekends.
Whitstable has a lot of focus on sea food. A lot of the restaurants are oyster based and your chances of getting local produce are quite high. For a lighter snack check out the tea room type shops, through the high street. Maybe a little over priced for the locals, but not compared to any other tourist destination.
Whitstable is situated on the north Kent coast, 60 miles east of London, and just 6 miles north of Canterbury. It's an ideal place to base yourself if you want a holiday in the area.
Canterbury is a fab place to visit, but too expensive to stay, so it's an easy bus or car journey for a day-trip.
Faversham is just up the road, with its quaint town centre, Shepherd Neame brewery and national fruit collection at Brogdale.
Margate is just up the road if you want some bucket-and-spade fun, and it's even possible to nip over to France using the ferry from Dover, which will only take about 45 mins.
Although getting quite large now (with a population of 30,000) and a bit sprawling, there are still some great cottagy B&Bs to stay in.
The countryside around is fab, especially if you like walking- take a walk to the Roman Reculver Towers along the seafront.
Whistable town is rather divided. It is set out along a long narrow High Street, with the poorer end being furthest away from the sea. As youget nearer the harbour, the shops get more expensive and tourist shops start appearing.
By the time you reach the harbour,and Harbour Street in particular, you are really in tourist-ville. Shops sellilng nick-knacks abound - all aimed at the London weekenders.
It is possible to miss the harbour itself when walking around the town, but make sure you follow the water all the way along until you get to the working area of the town. There is a great sea-food restaurant, frest fish sales, and you can take trips out to see the seals, the sea forts and the new windmills (which incidentally are clearly visible from land).
Whistable is famous for its oysters, and there are two main oyster bars. Pubs abound,but tea-shops are in short supply. Try getting your tea in the Chives Restaurant upstairs in the Horsebridge Arts and Community Centre.
Whistable is trying very hard to be arty, and there are lots of art galleries - more opening every day it seems - but I hope it doesn't lose its roots as a fishing village.
If you want to visit when there's more going on, go in July when the Oyster Festival is on - parades, oyster-tasting, exhibtions etc.
It's really easy to find, just down the A2,but parking is a bit tight and rather expensive.