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Whitstable is a seaside town on the north coast of Kent, not far from where the Thames & Swale Estuaries reach the North Sea. It has much of the charm of nearby Margate, but fewer crowds & less of a hipster reputation. Whitstable has fantastic seafood, coastal walks, & other seaside activities. It’s close enough to London that you can easily take a Whitstable day trip & even combine it with other nearby places such as Canterbury or Dover. This Whitstable travel guide contains details on how to get there, things to see & do in Whitstable, where to eat & drink, & more.

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Getting to Whitstable from London

Public Transportation from London to Whitstable

There are frequent trains from London St. Pancras to Whitstable as well as from London Victoria to Whitstable. Journey times are around 1 hour and 15 minutes, making a day trip to Whitstable easy. Book ahead for the cheapest fares. Buses are available from London Stratford, but with a journey time of nearly 2.5 hours, they aren’t a good option for a Whitstable day trip.

Whitstable Tours from London

At the moment, there are no major organized tours to Whitstable from London. However, given how small & easily accessed the town is, it’s easy to get there on your own & do your own thing.

Things to do in Whitstable (Food & drink, tourist attractions, museums, tours, beach & water activities, & more)

As you’d expect from a seaside town, the best things to do in Whitstable almost all have to do with the sea. Whether it’s exploring the coast & its waters or eating its bountiful harvest, there’s plenty going on in Whitstable. Here are the best Whitstable activities, including food & drink, shopping, coastal walks, castles, and more.

Seafood restaurants

Whitstable is a seafood-lovers paradise. There are seafood restaurants in Whitstable to meet every budget. While as with anywhere in England, you can always get fish & chips, the true local speciality is oysters, which have been harvested here since Roman times. There are several places to eat oysters & other seafood along the Whitstable waterfront, ranging from small stands like The Forge to full restaurants like Whitstable Oyster Company & The Lobster Shack. Closer to town, Wheelers Oyster Bar, Birdies, and Samphire are local favourites.

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Each summer, the town holds the Whitstable Oyster Festival, a celebration of the town’s favourite food.

Other cafes & restaurants

If seafood isn’t your thing, your selection of restaurants in Whitstable is a little bit more limited, though there are still plenty of options. For fine dining, try the aforementioned Samphire. JoJo’s & Harbour Street Tapas serve Greek & Spanish food respectively. Sale&Pepe & Nomad Pizza are popular pizza places. On a warm day, nothing beats gelato from Gelateria Whitstable. There are also of course classic pubs such as the Old Neptune.

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Craft beer bars

Despite its small size, there are a few nice spots for craft beer in Whitstable, including the seaside Sea Farmer’s Dive Taproom & the community hub The Twelve Taps.

Beach relaxation

There are a few beaches in Whitstable, including West Beach, Whitstable Beach, & Tankerton Beach. While you won’t find sandy beaches here, the shingled beaches aren’t too bad for sunbathing. Beach huts line the most popular areas, as well as plenty of restaurants & shops.

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Coastal walks

In addition to the beaches, there are also pleasant coastal walks in Whitstable. For great views of the water, head up along Beach Walk toward Whitstable Castle & the Tankerton Slopes.

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Water activities

If the weather conditions are suitable, there are plenty of water activities in Whitstable, including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, jet-skiing, & swimming.

Shopping on High Street, Oxford Street, & Harbour Street

The Whitstable town centre is mainly laid out along one street, though it changes names a few times as it heads to the waterfront. Walk along High Street, Oxford Street, & Harbour Street to check out entertaining shops such as Harbour Books, Gatefield Sounds, Rock Bottom Records, & Toys N Trends, as well as numerous clothing stores.

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Art galleries

There are several art galleries in Whitstable. The Horsebridge Arts Centre is a multi-purpose venue with galleries, workshops, talks, a shop, and more. Other galleries include The Fish Slab Gallery, Chappell Contemporary, & Harbour Gallery.

Harbour Market

Harbour Market is an open-air market along Whitstable Harbour with dozens of small huts that feature arts & crafts & other gifts, as well as food.

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Whitstable Castle & Gardens

Whitstable Castle, AKA Tankerton Towers, was first built in the 1790s. It’s not technically a castle, but more of a manor house that was the private residence of the Pearson Family, built in the style of a castle.

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Whitstable Castle is a lovely destination if you’re taking a coastal walk from the city centre. The restored grounds have a garden, a children’s play area, and a tearoom. It also serves as an events venue.

Whitstable Community Museum & Gallery

The Whitstable Community Museum & Gallery covers the history of science, education, literature, trades, and manufacturing in Whitstable. Highlights include the Invicta, which operated on the world’s first steam locomotive passenger railway between Whitstable & Canterbury, as well as equipment used in the diving & fishing trade. The railway route no longer operates, but part of it is now a cycle path called The Crab and Winkle Line.

Here are some great London area tours & other things to see & do in Whitstable.

If you want to stay longer in Whitstable, check out these Whitstable hotels.

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