With world-renowned oysters, a buzzing harbour market and a thriving art scene, Whitstable is the star of the Kent coast. Enjoy a day trip or a weekend getaway to this understated gem of the British seaside.

By: Mark | Last Updated: 1 Mar 2024 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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Whitstable has been known for its oysters since the Romans first started shipping them home in around 80 CE as the favoured delicacy.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the town served as a port for pilgrims en route to Canterbury, no doubt enticed by religious callings of the seafood variety.

This reputation for luring notable citizens has not failed Whitstable since.

There’s no better way to enjoy Whitstable’s legacy than by downing oysters and lobster, both sustainably caught, from a rustic shack by the water, washed down with a local ale.

Food aside, the relaxed independent vibe, progressive art scene and lovely harbour makes Whitstable a hot spot for a joy-filled pilgrimage to the seaside.

WHITSTABLE AS A DAY TRIP – MAP

To see the best of Whitstable as a day trip, we’ve coloured-coded the map below.

In the morning you should be able to cover most of the attractions in red. In the afternoon choose between strolling through Tankerton, taking a boat tour or hitting the beach. All these things are marked in brown.

Important brunch, coffee, lunch, and pub stops are in purple. 

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


EAT

1. MORNING COFFEE & BRUNCH

Before exploring Whitstable, start the day with a morning coffee fix. 

Blueprint Coffee & Books specialises in cookbooks and children’s illustrated books. They also serve coffee from Ozone Roastery with milk happily supplied by local cows.

Garage Coffee Roasters is just across the street. These speciality coffee roasters now have four stores spread across Kent from Canterbury to Margate. Their line-up of coffee changes daily so you can try something different every time.

For a hearty brunch, we recommend Farm & Harper. This independent family-run café serves locally sourced food in a relaxed setting. They’re located right on the high street.

SHOP

2. WANDER WHITSTABLE HIGH STREET

Whitstable’s high street boasts a delightfully unique and independent character.

Colourful stores stock the freshest-looking vegetables, arty handicrafts and homegrown beers. Of course, you don’t have to wander too far to find some local seafood.

Whitstable Museum and Gallery is an interesting community gallery that houses the world’s oldest railway locomotives and tells the history of the town.

Fishslab Gallery showcases a rotating collection of local artists while Chappell Contemporary is a cool gallery focusing on limited-edition prints.

MARKET

3. WHITSTABLE HARBOUR MARKET

The excellent Whitstable Harbour Market is spread around the town’s working harbour and it’s one of the best things to do in Whitstable.

Pop-up sheds sell hand-crafted goods including jewellery, ceramics, textiles, and furniture. There’s also a diverse range of art on offer from local and national artists.

The main reason to come here is the food. Pick up a tub of cockles, mussels or welks. Alternatively, head to the Oyster Shed and try the famous Whitstable Oysters.  

OYSTERS

4. STROLL AROUND EAST QUAY

Continue around the eastern side of the harbour from the market to arrive at East Quay, the home of the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company which traces its roots back to 1793 when it was set up by an Act of Parliament.

The company produces 4 million Pacific rock oysters a year. They are grown on beds with Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) status and they are unique in their provenance and quality.

Perched on the end of the quay is the Lobster Shack, one of the unmissable things to do in Whitstable. They brew their own beer and recommend the stout as the perfect accompaniment to their oysters.

EAT

5. ENJOY WHITSTABLES IMPRESSIVE FOOD SCENE

The Forge – This painted wooden shack often has a queue snaking round the corner. The menu changes regularly but is best known for its oysters.

Wheelers Oyster Bar – Founded in 1856, Wheelers Oyster Bar has been a stalwart of Whitstable for almost two centuries. Set on the High Street, its pink exterior conceals a tiny restaurant with olde world charm. Wash lunch down with one of their own craft beers. 

Whitstable Oyster Company – This Michelin Guide restaurant is housed in a former oyster store and is famous for their seafood. On a sunny day, try and get a seat on the pretty outside terrace just behind the beachfront promenade. Book in advance on weekends and summer holidays.

TOURS

6. BOAT & OYSTER TOURS

The fishing industry is the beating heart of this charming seaside town. Taking a boat tour out to one of the oyster farms is the best way to appreciate this tight-knit community.

Whitstable Oyster Tour – Learn about the different stages of oyster growth and the process of harvesting. Finish up with a few freshly shucked oysters and a glass of bubbly.

Seal Safari – Take a 90-minute cruise on the vintage lifeboat “The Chieftain”. It follows Whitstable’s coastline to see seals resting on a sandbank, who from July, will be accompanied by little pups. Sightings are almost guaranteed.

Maunsell Forts Boat Trip – About four miles off the coast of Whitstable are the Maunsell Forts. These striking Red Sands Sea Forts were built during the Second World War to protect the area from aerial and naval attacks. They successfully shot down 22 aircraft and 30 flying bombs. Today they are large rusting metallic structures that look like something out of Mad Max. This 60-minute tour on a RIB are great for photographers.

boat tours from whistable

SEE

7. POP OVER TO TANKERTON

The village of Tankerton is a 15- to 20-minute walk east of Whitstable and the perfect way to walk off those lunchtime oysters.

On the way you’ll walk past Whitstable Castle & Gardens (formerly Tankerton Towers). Pop in to explore the well-kept gardens and manicured bowling lawn. Treat yourself to baked scones in the Orangery Tea Rooms.

At Tankerton, the beachfront promenade is lined with colourful huts. Grassy slopes and sandstone cliffs provide lovely views along the long pebble beach. It’s a sheltered slice of coastline, perfect for families.

BEACH

8. LAZE ON WHITSTABLE BEACH

Whitstable Beach is a long stretch of shingle and pebble stretching between the town and nearby Seasalter.

The promenade at the back is a great place to stroll and the sea is a nice way to cool off if you’re visiting on a particularly hot day.

However, when the tide is out you’ll need to go a long way just to get your knees wet.

whitstable beach
WHITSTABLE BEACH

PINT

9. HAVE A PINT AT OLD NEPTUNE

Rather than going for a swim, having a pint at the Old Neptune pub is an equally valuable endeavour on Whitstable Beach.

Positioned amongst the pebbles, this historic inn oozes old-school charm. Try their Whitstable Bay Pale Ale and watch the sun go down over the harbour.

For a wider range of craft beers and gin head to Twelve Taps. Located on the High Street they have twelve lines of craft beer and a seasonal cocktail menu. Try the flight of 3 small beers to get a proper handle on their selection.  

They also distil their own Whitstable Gin.

old neptune pub whitstable
OLD NEPTUNE

EAT

10. DINNER IN WHITSTABLE

End the day in Whitstable at one of the many excellent restaurants in the town.

Samphire – This independent family-run bistro in the heart of Whitstable High Street excels at unfussy modern dining. Book in advance in summer and on weekends.

Jojo’s – Enjoy Mediterranean-inspired dishes, with a conscientious ethos, in a wonderful location on Marine Parade above the cliffs in Tankerton.

The Sportsman – Holding a Michelin star since 2008, The Sportsman is regularly reviewed as one of the best pubs in Kent. Settle in for a 5-course tasting menu that’s a roundup of the best of the area.

restaurant on the front in whitstable

WHERE TO STAY IN WHITSTABLE

If a day trip is just not enough time to savour all the salty delights of Whitstable, here are some recommendations for turning your getaway into a weekend away.

B&B

CLIFTONVILLE HOUSE

This B&B with a helpful and informative host does a great breakfast. All the sights are within walking distance and the bus to Canterbury is right outside.


VIEWS

HOTEL CONTINENTAL

Traditional seaside hotel perched on Whitstable’s seafront. The restored rooms are clean and comfortable, and the beach and harbour are just across the road. Free parking allows you to leave your car at the hotel all day.


OUR PICK

CLIFFTOP

THE MARINE HOTEL

Sitting atop Tankerton Cliffs on the coastal promenade, this elegant hotel with contemporary rooms has wonderful oceanfront views. It’s a 20-minute walk or taxi ride from the station and harbour.


hotel continental whitstable

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