The SL Guide To… Whitstable

If you’re longing to escape the city, Whitstable makes for great seaside staycation or day trip. It has it all – from oysters and rosé to pastel beach huts and plenty of vintage shops, too. Easily reached from London via a 90-minute train journey, here’s where to stay and eat, and what to do once you get there…

STAY

Hotel Continental 

Easily one of the best hotels in Whitstable, you’ll find Hotel Continental  right on the pretty seafront, just a short distance from the harbour and high street. Choose from Sea View rooms, standard rooms or family rooms, some of which have great views of the seafront, or book one of the hotel’s Fisherman’s Huts, located right on the beach. Inside, the rooms are simple yet chic, with white linens, bright and airy interiors, and nautical-themed furnishings. The hotel has its own brasserie, set over three ground-floor rooms, which serves delicious French-inspired food and Sunday roasts made with local ingredients. After a day on the beach, head to the bar to relax with a glass of rosé.

Rooms from £86 per night.

Visit HotelContinental.co.uk

The Front Rooms

This small B&B has an adjoining art gallery that houses regular exhibitions featuring local up-and-coming artists. Set in a restored Victorian townhouse just two minutes from Whitstable’s promenade, there are three double rooms on the first floor with walls and floors painted in various shades of white. A great place to relax after a day of exploring, each room has a Victorian cast iron bed with crisp Egyptian linens, fluffy towels, robes, and luxury toiletries. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast in bed, relax in the living room, and make friends with the owner’s terrier, Connor.

Rooms from £120 per night.

Visit TheFrontRooms.co.uk

Tides Cottage

If you’d rather stay in self-catered accommodation, Tides Cottage is a great choice for families or groups of up to six. Located directly on the seafront, the rustic cottage has three double beds and a cosy day bed under the stairs. Inside, expect wooden floors throughout and a small kitchen made from exclaimed shop fittings. There’s also a spacious dining conservatory, a bathroom stocked with fluffy robes and luxury toiletries, and a quirky cobbled garden. Guests can listen to vinyl on the record player, read the books from the home library, and relax on a deck chair on the seafront. Be sure to rent the property’s Westbeach Hut for the day, too, which comes equipped with Kadai firepits, kayaks, a BBQ, beach games and deckchairs.

Price available on request.

Visit TidesCottage.co.uk

Fisherman's Cottage 

This Airbnb is one of the most stylish in the area. Once a traditional fisherman's cottage, it’s now a lovely holiday home suitable for groups of up to four or a small family. Inside, there’s a master bedroom and a twin room, a fully stocked kitchen, a cosy living room with an indoor wood burner, and a family bathroom. During the summer months, guests can relax in the courtyard garden and walk to the fishing harbour to try Whitstable’s famous oysters. The property is dog-friendly, too, so don’t forget to bring your four-legged friend along. 

From £250 per night.

Visit Airbnb.com

Boatwright Cottage

Just a two-minute walk from the harbour, this Airbnb is a Victorian terraced house that sleeps up to four across two double bedrooms. There’s also a cosy living room, a family room, a bathroom, and a spacious kitchen-diner that leads onto a small garden with outdoor decking. The bedrooms are minimal and chic, with white-washed furniture and antique paintings, plus there are several good restaurants within walking distance if you don’t fancy cooking. Guests can also hire the property’s beach hut on the seafront.

From £150 per night.

Visit Airbnb.com

Kiora House 

This beachfront house sleeps up to eight. A great choice for a girls’ trip, Kiora House is located on Tankerton Beach with beautiful sea views. The house itself has recently been restored and furnished with stripped wooden floors, pastel colours and plush furnishings. Groups or families can relax with a book in the living room, enjoy a games night, and dine al fresco on the terrace or beside the open fire. Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms and one twin, with a further double bedroom on the ground floor and a modern family bathroom. Whitstable High Street is just a 15-minute walk away, while the historic town of Canterbury is a short drive. 

Price available on request.

Visit CoolStays.com

EAT

Samphire

Located on the high street, Samphire is a family-run bistro making hearty meals using local, seasonal produce. With a buzzing atmosphere and stylish interiors, it’s a great place for a Sunday roast or weekday supper with friends. Menu highlights include salt hake croquettes, pork chops with creamed cabbage and beetroot risotto. Seafood lovers will love Samphire’s fish pie, while little diners can enjoy fish goujons with potatoes and peas, or sausages and mash.

Visit SamphireWhitstable.co.uk

The Sportsman

This seaside gastropub is popular with locals and visitors, alike. Having reopened two months ago, diners can currently enjoy a five-course tasting menu comprised of small, seasonal dishes that change every day, like mussel and bacon chowder, braised turbot with summer vegetables, and raspberry soufflé with raspberry ripple ice-cream. There’s also an extensive wine list.

Visit TheSportsmanSeasalter.co.uk

Wheeler’s Oyster Bar

Established in 1856, Wheelers Oyster Bar knows a thing or two about great seafood. The restaurant serves elegant dishes like lobster lasagne, caramelised scallops with apple sauce and maple glazed bacon, monkfish curry, and rhubarb pana cotta with warm Jamaican cake. Diners can also buy picnic boxes filled with seafood treats and homemade finger food to enjoy on the beach – the crab and prawn tartlets are particularly yummy.

Visit WheelersOysterBar.com

Blueprint Coffee

Something of a Whitstable institution, Blueprint Coffee is a lovely place to stop for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. It also houses a bookshop which sells cookbooks and fiction by local artists. Be sure to try one of the cakes supplied by local bakery Eat & Mess. 

Visit BlueprintCoffee.co.uk

 

The Whitstable Oyster Company

Whitstable is renowned for its oysters and this restaurant has been growing its own for decades. Diners can also choose from classic seafood dishes like potted shrimps on toast, calamari, black truffle taramasalata and baked crab gratin. Securing a table can be tricky during the summer months, so be sure to book well in advance.

Visit WhitstableOysterCompany.com

The Pearson’s Arms

The Pearson’s Arms is a cosy popular seaside pub serving seasonal British fare. Live music nights take place every Tuesday and Saturday, while wine evenings happen on Wednesdays. In terms of food, dishes are simple yet delicious – expect Rock oysters with pickled shallots, mussels in garlic and cream sauce, lobster ravioli and Eton mess with vanilla cream.

Visit PearsonsArmsWhitstable.co.uk
 

The Lobster Shack

Owned by the Whitstable Oyster Company, The Lobster Shack is a beach bar which serves a range of tasty seafood dishes. Expect to find beer battered cod and chips, barbecued mackerel and of course, lobster platters on the menu. Enjoy your meal in the shack or ask for a takeaway box to eat it on the beach.

Visit TheLobsterShack.co.uk

The Old Neptune

The Old Neptune, also known by locals as ‘the pub on the beach’ is the place to go for a hearty lunch or fish and chips takeaway. In the summer, the pub fires up the BBQ to serve hotdogs and burgers along the seafront, with tasty craft beers and glasses of ice-cold wine. For a fun night out, head to the pub for a live music night and crank up the jukebox with your favourite tunes.

Visit ThePubOnTheBeach.co.uk

SHOP

 

Fishslab Art Gallery

Located on Oxford Street, Fishslab hold regular exhibitions featuring local artists. A great place to pick up new art for your home, or to simply see the artwork on display, exhibitions run weekly. 

Visit FishslabGallery.co.uk

Flory & Black

For unique homeware and trinkets, head to Flory & Black on Harbour Street. From decorative vases and plant pots to handmade crockery and bespoke lighting fixtures, you’re bound to find something unique.

Visit FloryAndBlack.com

Oxford Street Books

Browse a range of new and vintage fiction, cookbooks and memoirs at Oxford Street Books. Children can flick through picture books, while adults will appreciate the shop’s quirky interiors. 

Visit OxfordStreetBooks.com

Ruskin

Ruskin stocks a range of contemporary, sustainable clothing for women and men. With a great selection of brands, like Folk, Nula and VEJA, shoppers can choose from stylish loungewear, dresses, t-shirts, swimwear and more. Look out for the raffia tote bags and cool striped shirts.

Visited RuskinClothing.co.uk

Gatefield Sounds

Gatefield Sounds has an extensive selection of vinyl and CDs, from artists like Billie Eilish and Rag’n’Bone Man, to 70s disco classics. Be sure to look out for Spice Girls’ Wannabe 25th anniversary album. 

Visit Instagram.com/GatefieldSounds

Sundae Sundae

Sundae Sundae serves some of the best ice-cream in town, as well as tasty ice lollies and seaside sweets. Kids will love looking thorough their collection of vintage-inspired beach toys, while adults will appreciate the different ice cream and sorbet flavours, like garden mint, passionfruit, and rum and raisin. You can even add on KitKat fingers, mini smarties and Oreo chip toppings, too.

Visit SundaeSundae.co.uk

Valentine's Vintage

Scour through the rooms at this vintage furniture shop to find some great hidden gems. From console tables and chest of drawers to unique crookery and glasses, there’s plenty to choose from.

Visit Valentines-Vintage.com

 

THINGS TO DO

ARTHURKNOEPFLIN

Whitstable Oyster Festival

After a year’s hiatus, Whitstable Oyster Festival returns to the seafront this summer from Friday 27th to Monday 30th August. Taking place in and around the harbour and Long Beach, the festival kicks off with the ‘landing of the oysters’ – a symbolic ceremony on the beach – followed by ‘the Grotters’ where locals build small domes out of oyster shells. Over the course of the weekend, there are also street food pop-ups, live music acts, and even oyster eating competitions.

Visit WhitstableOysterFestival.co.uk

Crab & Winkle Way

If you’re in Whitstable for the weekend, be sure to hire a bike to ride along the Crab & Winkle Way. The 7.6-mile route starts in Whitstable and ends in Canterbury – ideal if you want to explore the surrounding area. Along the route, you’ll be able to take in ancient broadleaved woodland, historic sites, and beautiful views of the sea.

West Beach

This pretty scenic beach is the hub of the town. The British seaside at its best, visitors flock to the shingle beach to eat fish and chips, swim in the sea, and walk along the coastline. Rent a beach hut for the day or bring a blanket to sit on the pebbles.

Whitstable Coastal Trail

This trail is a 5km route which starts at Long Rock and ends by the Railway Footbridge. Along the way, you’ll pass the harbour, West Quay and salt marshes. Look out for seabirds on the walk and stop off for ice cream at one of the local stalls.

Horsebridge Arts Centre

This public centre is a great place to take children. There are daily classes and activities, as well as art exhibitions and film screenings during the holidays.

Visit TheHorsebridge.org.uk

Whitstable Castle

After undergoing an extensive £3 million refurbishment, Whitstable Castle now welcomes visitors to look around its estate. One of the oldest buildings in town (the castle dates back to the 18th century) it’s a ten-minute walk from the centre of town. Stop off for an afternoon tea in the gardens or head to The Orangery Tearooms for sandwiches and drinks.

Visit WhitstableCastle.co.uk

 

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.

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