A gem of a seaside town on our East Kent coast, quaint and quirky Whitstable offers not just its beautiful beaches but also an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, cafes and culture, events and people – not forgetting the annual Oyster Festival back for 2019 from 27th-29th July.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the charismatic seaside town of Whitstable, just seven miles from the cathedral city of Canterbury, has too much to offer. Celebrated for its creativity and independence, there is always something new to explore and do – from small fetes and fairs, to the world famous annual Whitstable Oyster Festival.
Regardless of whether it’s a glorious sunny day or a crisp winter one, Whitstable’s miles of beaches, pretty weatherboard cottages, fabulous sunsets and cosmopolitan atmosphere make it difficult to beat.
Arts, culture & its own castle!
In recent years Whitstable has seen its contemporary arts scene gather much attention. The modern day renaissance of the town was started by groups of artists who appreciated its light and open skies – today it continues to thrive in the form of galleries, exhibitions, pop-up venues and open-house weekends. Worth a visit are:
• Whitstable Museum & Gallery, tucked back from the high street on Oxford Street and housed in the Foresters’ Hall is not just home to the town’s first horse-drawn fire pump, donated to Whitstable by the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society in 1867, along with art, artefacts and displays, but now also historic steam locomotive Invicta (where it will be displayed alongside one of the few remaining early Stationary Beam Engines).
• Whitstable’s very own theatre, the Playhouse Theatre, is home of The Lindley Players and Lindley Players Youth Group, who regularly perform classic and contemporary productions. The theatre itself was a church bought by some of the players in the early 1980’s and who then converted it themselves.
• With its distinctive boat upside down roof, Horsebridge Arts Centre, located in the heart of the town on a site that has a long tradition of community and cultural activity, opened in 2004 and continues to offer a packed programme of events all-year round.
• From its elevated position high above Tankerton Slopes Whitstable Castle, or Tankerton Towers as it was first called, started life as a residence for the Pearson family in the late 1790’s. Passing through several owners over the years, it is today managed by the Whitstable Castle Trust and is a venue for weddings and private parties. And while there, a visit to the Victorian Orangery tearoom is a must!
(Image: © Visit Kent)
Having just completed our seventh year in Whitstable, we would like to thank all our customers old and new for their continued support. Come and visit our showroom for a wide range of carpets and rugs, vinyls, wood, Amtico and Karndean flooring. We look forward to helping you choose your new look.
• 89 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1AY or call 01227 772774.
Betty Loves Bryan
Betty Loves Bryan Gallery showcases contemporary art, sculpture, homeware and clothes. Our own b loves b range and well-loved marinieres and more from Saint James in France. New from Liz Shedden Studio are paintings and home accessories. Pop in to see us – we’re open Wednesday to Saturday.
• 108 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1AZ, call 01227 271001, email firstname.lastname@example.org, see Instagram for latest news @betty_loves_bryan
Show your support & shop local
Canterbury INDEX regular reader and Whitstable resident James Akhurst sent us this email.
“Whitstable has long been known for its independent shops, but in the past few years a number have closed. In the last month, three have closed: Pets Pantry, Herbaceous and Kites & Things. Empty shops have been taken over by national chains – in the past year, Fat Face and Joules have set up in Whitstable high street. It is now rumoured that Cafe Nero, Subway and Greggs Bakers are looking at empty shops in the town. We are all guilty of using supermarkets and the new stores at Estuary View, because parking is easy, but this means that we are not using the independent stores in the high street. At weekends, parking in the town can be very difficult, but there are no obvious available spaces – perhaps the station car parks could be made free at weekends? What can local people and the local authority do to support the town’s independent businesses?”
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Herberts Cycles is situated in the heart of Whitstable and has been independently run for the last 80 years. We have a vast array of products on display including many different types of cycles and accessories. We also have a top quality in-store workshop for cycle servicing and repair. Pop in for a look and for general bike assistance.
• Herberts Cycles, 103-105 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1AY, call 01227 272072 or visit herbertscycles.co.uk
Whitstable Oyster Singers & MD Victoria Rowcroft
Whitstable Oyster Singers and MD Victoria Rowcroft present their summer concert on Monday 15th July, 7.30pm, at St Alphege Church, Whitstable. Music includes hits from Duke Ellington, Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Les Miserables. Tickets £10 on the door. This year we are proudly supporting Rising Sun – Domestic Violence & Abuse Service.
• The Oyster Singers are always looking for new singers to join our community choir. For more information, visit oystersingers.webeden.co.uk
Whitstable Classic Motor Show, 14th July 2019, Tankerton Slopes CT5 2BE, 10am-4pm
Now fully booked to exhibitors, the Whitstable Classic Motor Show has in previous years attracted record crowds – an estimated 15,000 visitors throughout the day. On display will be 700 classic vehicles, including McLarens, Lamborghinis, Ferraris and many more… Organised by Chris West of Classic Music and Motors, the event supports Whitstable and Herne Bay Lions.
• Visit classicmusicandmotors.co.uk
Wholesale Plastics is a family-run business, and has been trading since October 1991. We supply fascias, soffits, guttering, windows and doors. We can supply box sash replacements and cast iron look alike guttering.
• For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Offy is an independent, family-run off-licence on the high street. We focus on great wines from all over the world (more than 450!), but some as close as 12 miles away. We hold regular, free tasting events (like our page on FB to get details). Also available are more than 250 local and craft ales. Like gin? We have over 120 of them in the shop and have ability to source just about any specialist product you need.
• 5 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1AP or call 01227 272114.
The Whitstable Sessions Music Club (whitstablesessions.co.uk) has been running since 2010 and is dedicated to putting on unforgettable shows featuring the best folk, roots, Americana and other acoustic music from home and abroad. The club’s venue is St Mary’s Hall (part of the Umbrella Centre) in Oxford Street, while a bar is provided by local micro pub, The Black Dog, and food is available downstairs before the session at the Umbrella Cafe.
• Coming up on 13th July, Whitstable Sessions are heading to the Gulbenkian in Canterbury to present The Orchestra That Fell to Earth, when five original members of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra perform the beautiful and incredible music they created with Simon Jeffes and the Orchestra. 8pm, tickets £15, visit thegulbenkian.co.uk or call 01227 769075.
Trading for more than 12 years, the shop is founded on the idea that fairly traded products and ethical sourcing are not just a gimmick, but a way of bringing superior quality jewellery, clothing, crafts and gifts to customers. Mosaic works with co-operatives, and artisans from countries around the globe and, of course, the UK. The current product range reflects Mosaic’s years of experience and presence within the international fair trade market.
• Mosaic, 30 Harbour Street, Whitstable CT5 1AH or call 01227 276779.
Oysters & more…
While oysters have been part of the Whitstable landscape since Roman times, the rights to harvest the oyster beds were bought in 1793 by the newly-established Oyster Company of Free Fishers and Dredgers (later becoming the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company in the late 20th century). And while the oyster industry declined after the Second World War, in recent years it has enjoyed a revival thanks to the annual Oyster Festival, taking place from 27th-29th July.
Whitstable has become a foodie destination over the past decade with classic fish bars rubbing shoulders with tapas, French, gastopubs, pop-ups and seasonal restaurants, along with its fair share of Indian, pizza and deli takeouts too.
Above & Main Image: © Visit Kent