A Day Trip to Whitstable
There are so many lovely places in England that I am completely unaware of, and until earlier this year Whitstable was one of them. I think I found out about Whitstable through asking around for a good place to spend a day or two with my friend Marion, and it definitely delivered.
Whitstable is a town in the South-East of England, in Kent. It only takes 1-1.5 hours to get there by train from London (which was one of our priorities). Growing up in a small seaside town in the Netherlands myself, Whitstable immediately felt like home. Boutiques and cafes galore and perhaps a bit too much sea-food for my taste.
Marion and I spent 2 days wandering around the main street and trying out as much as we could, so here are some spots you definitely can't miss.
This coffee shop kept coming up when I started searching for places to visit and Marion and I spent a lovely hour drinking coffee and tea and reading in the window, while doing plenty of people watching of course. This really seems to be a place for huge coffee lovers. There was a stunning collection of pastries and you can check out their Instagram for a look inside the open and bright cafe @coffeeblueprint. Bonus: they sell a curated collection of books and other products too!
Harbour Street Tapas
Harbour Street Tapas was a big surprise in Whitstable. After seeing lots of different restaurants that seemed to have a lack of vegetarian options (due to the high number of seafood lovers here), we had a look at the Harbour Street Tapas menu and headed straight in. I'm not joking when I say this place reminded me of Ottolenghi. Super fresh ingredients and simple, but flavourful dishes. We pretty much ordered every veggie dish on the menu had a feast! I would recommend the Goats cheese toast with sauteed mushrooms and mixed tomato, almonds with Manchego.
Cafe + Kitchen
This little cafe is the perfect place for breakfast or brunch. You can't squeeze too many people in there, so make sure to be there on time or wander around until there's a free seat. They've got an amazing selection of breakfast options and lots of old-fashioned cordials to choose from. I think I went for the mushrooms on toast, but pretty much everything on the menu looks delicious and the place is really cosy.
The Cheese Box
If you're still hunger after your brunch at Cafe + Kitchen, head next door to The Cheese Box to pick up some cheesy snacks.
Windy Corners Store
On our second day we were looking for a quiet place to sit down and do some reading, and Windy Corners Stores and Cafe was the perfect spot. They sell fresh food, cake and also some general produce. It's a bit off the main street, so make sure you don't miss it.
Okay, I promise we're almost done with the food. Potato Tomato is a real vegan staple in Whitstable. It's based in one of the stalls a bit closer to the harbour. I went for the BBQ pulled jackfruit burger with lots of fries and vegan mayo. Definitely a place I'd like to go back to again and the staff was really friendly too.
Alright, let's talk shops! You can't go wrong with stationery, and Frank is at the top of my recommendations. It's a gorgeous space and the colours of the paper really stand out against the white walls. Great to stock up and notebooks and take some pictures.
The Whiting Post
I've got a feeling that The Whiting Post is pretty well known in Whistable. They have an amazing selection of clothes, with some ethical brands mixed in too, and a ton of vintage-style dress options. I tried on quite a few and left the shop very happy with a 50s style navy dress in by backpack. And of course you can find them on Instagram @thewhitingpost for a peek at their clothes.
Not a lot to say about Harbour Books except that it looks like a really well curated bookshop on the main street. A visit to any town wouldn't be complete without popping into the local bookshop.
We probably went into this boutique 2 or 3 times over the weekend. The owner was really knowledgeable about the brands and their origin and I immediately fell in love with all the yellow and striped tops in the window. There are so many unique pieces in here, so do head inside, even if you just want to browse. I ended up leaving with 3 different high quality striped tops, made in France.
Seafront & Marine Parade
You can't visit Whitstable without a good seaside walk. Check out the walking paths on both sides of the harbour and keep walking East to spot the colourful beach huts. There is also a path into the sea that you can walk across at certain times of day, but we weren't quite brave enough to try it out.
We found Whitstable Castle on our walk to the AirBnB, and figured we'd walk by for a quick visit. It's free to go in and wander around the gardens, before you continue your walk by the seafront.
Squeeze Gut Alley
Finally, something that made us giggle. The whole town has paths running from the sea all the way into the city centre and beyond (when you're walking around just look into an alley to see if you can spot the sea) and there is one in particular that ended up being so narrow that they called it Squeeze Gut Alley. Great for a photo-op of course.
What are you waiting for? Book your train tickets soon and explore Whitstable for a day. If any of you have recommendations for other seaside towns to visit, do let me know!
If you're looking for an AirBnb, this is the one we stayed at and I couldn't recommend it more.