A haven in the South East, Whitstable has a contemporary atmosphere within a characterful and eccentric coastal setting. 60 miles east of London (80mins by train from Victoria), and 6 miles north of the Cathedral city of Canterbury, Whitstable is most famous for its Oysters but recent years has seen its contemporary arts scene and restaurants/pubs gather just as much attention. Regardless of whether it’s a glorious sunny day or crisp winter one, Whitstable's miles of beaches, pretty weatherboard cottages, fabulous sunsets and cosmopolitan atmosphere, make it difficult to beat!
Whitstable has varied history which makes the town even more interesting. During the Palaeolithic era, the Iron Age and the Bronze Age Whitstable area was inhabited. During the roman times oysters were harvested and even to date Whitstable is famous for its oysters, in fact Whitstable’s maritime heritage is celebrated with annual Oyster Festival. The town was first named as Witenestaple, which means “meeting place of white post”, that refers to a local landmark. The area had three manors namely Northwood, Seasalter and Swalecliffe. Northwood manor was managed by a nobleman on behalf of The King, but the other manors were owned by the churches of that time. By 1226 the name had evolved to Whitstaple. Later in order to prevent coastal flooding a seawall was built in 1325 and by 14th century salt works were opened. Whitstaple manor which is owned by a religious foundation was formed in 1413 by combination of the three manors of the town. In 1574 the owner of the manor received a royal patent for fishing oysters also Tankerton was included into manor. Again by 1610 the town was named as Whitstable. By the 18th century a toll road to the cathedral city of Canterbury was built and also transportation of goods and passengers had also established. The world’s first steam hauled railway passenger service was opened by C&WR that is the initials of the Canterbury and Whitstable’s railway service and later first season tickets was also issued initiatively. Later when the railway company was owned by the south eastern railway then steam locomotives came into use which was able to operate along the length of the rail line. In 1860 a direct rail route connecting London to Whitstable was established which was a great benefit for the people of the town. Unfortunately not all of Whitstable’s History is Rosey there were some bad events some of which had ruined numerous historical buildings including the destruction of nearly 70 buildings due to the fire which was generated from a shop at the harbour and also after the World War 2 the harbour was left in disarray about to decay. However later in 1956 it was purchased by the District Council and was repaired in order to rejuvenate the town’s economy. One of the recent developments of the town is the Horsebridge project which was finalised in 2005 where new shops, houses art gallery community centre and town square were constructed.
After having a tour through the history of the Whitstable we shall now focus on Whitstable’s Tourist attractions. The town has many beaches which are popular for swimming, water sports and sunbathing and most importantly these are famous and unique as they have no promenade which makes the beaches peaceful.
Other attractions include Whitstable Castle which is located on the suburb of Tankerton and border of Whitstable, this was later developed into a manor house and now it is called Tankerton castle although commonly referred nowadays as Whitstable castle. It is a centre for community activity and is a public park.
Whitstable also has a wind farm which provides 70,000 households electricity power with the presence of 30 wind turbines each of 459 feet high. Once a salvage operation was done on the ship carrying silver dollars from which Neptune and wall tavern pubs and Dollar raw cottages were built. Again the fishermen used alleys to travel to the beaches which are registered as public and so the town is criss-crossed because of these alleys which make the town yet more unique. At Duncan Down in England the village green is claimed to be the largest village that is an approximate of about 52acres.
There are some special events which are conducted every year these include;
The Whitstable Regatta which is one of the most established and the longest running events in Whitstable’s rich history. The sailing event is a contest between 26 boats from Whitstable.
Every year the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival is celebrated in July and is conducted in order to show the importance of Oysters in Whitstable’s History. Whitstable Oysters are available at various pubs and seafood restaurants in Whitstable year round. The town’s seafaring traditions with special focus on oysters are displayed as artefacts and portraits in Whitstable Museum and Gallery, as is the towns diving history.
There are so many great restaurants to choose from in Whitstable – I’ve highlighted just a few of them below:
The Internationally acclaimed Crab and Winkle Restaurant serves a range of seafood, as well as meat dishes, in Whitstable's historic harbour. Wheelers Oyster Bar has nestled in between the old Bear and Key Pub, and The Duke of Cumberland Hotel for over 150 years! Serving the freshest of seafood to locals and visitors, winning numerous awards and even publishing its own award winning recipe book! Williams & Brown Tapas Bar, voted The Saturday Telegraph listed us as being in the ‘Top 10’ Tapas bars in England, brings authentic, modern and traditional Spanish cooking to Whitstable, at affordable prices. It's a special restaurant where one can sit & watch the world go by at the marble topped bar, whilst enjoying an array of quick-fire Tapas, or a more leisurely meal at the tables, where more substantive dishes can be enjoyed. Zizzi is a fun, vibrant, Italian restaurant on Sea Street worth visiting. Don’t miss JoJo’s Meze, Meat & Fish Restaurant & Coffee Shop is recommended by The Guardian and a stone’s throw from the beach.
Whitstable, Kent is an exciting, interesting, unique, attractive and beautiful town which offers tourists year round fun and is the perfect example of SEASIDE CHIC in a time where many British Seaside Resorts are struggling.