At the Seaside in Whitstable (with oysters)

June 3, 2018

Whitstable is the perfect one day getaway from London if you want to experience the English seaside, eat dozens of oysters (with obviously a glass of Prosecco in the other hand) and casually wander along a pebbly beach, past colourful wooden shacks and a real working fishing harbour.

 

Seaside souvenirs

 

 

The quaint fishing village on the north coast of Kent, just over an hour away from the crowded streets of London is full of quirky independent shops, selling a raft of souvenirs and a perhaps a few more useful items but it’s main draw for me was the promise of oysters. And I must say that I wasn’t disappointed

 

 

What to do in Whitstable? 

 

There are three main things to do in Whitstable in my opinion... and they are to eat oysters, check out the fully working harbour and to stroll along either ‘Whitstable West Beach’ or ‘Tankerton Beach’.

 

No.1 is Oysters...

 

Oysters in Whitstable are famous, and probably because of this, they are everywhere - and I mean everywhere. They come in several different varieties and different sizes. They are served from little wooden shacks on take away trays to proper restaurants with cutlery, plates and a table. Which ever size, variety or serving option you go for, just make sure you eat them with a glass of Prosecco - the choice of adding Tabasco sauce, a few drops of lemon juice and vinegar is your choice.

 

Oysters!

 

 

No. 2 is Whitstable Harbour...

 

If you’ve found the Oyster sellers, you’ve probably also found Whitstable Harbour as a lot of the wooden shacks selling oysters are surrounding the harbour. The harbour is a fully working fishing harbour, full of fishermen’s equipment, nets and colourful boats. It’s a great place to simply watch the world go by whilst tucking into any of the fresh and locally sourced seafood on offer.  

 

For a brief history of Whitstable Harbour click here...

 

Whitstable Harbour

 

 

No.3 are Whitstable West Beach and Tankerton Beach...

 

Both stretches of beach are lovely, the difference mainly being the scenery running along the back of the beach. Whitstable West Beach backs onto several seafood restaurants and houses, therefore giving it a more town like vibe, whereas Tankerton Beach backs onto colourful wooden huts and a grassy slope at the top of which is Marine Parade.

 

Whitstable West Beach is dog friendly too.

 

One thing I did miss though on Tankerton Beach is the natural phenomenon known as ‘The Street’. But what is ‘The Street’?! Basically at low tide the sea bed reveals an area of sand higher than the adjacent areas meaning that you can walk out into the Thames Estuary with water remaining on both sides - just be careful with the tide as it can suddenly come back in.

 

To check tide times visit the coast and sea tide tables on the BBC website.

 

Whitstable West Beach and Tankerton Beach

 

 

How to get there by train?

 

There are two routes to Whitstable from London, both of which are direct. The journey you choose will probably depend on both cost and on where you’re staying in London.

 

In general - if you’re staying in north or east London then the route from St Pancras is probably the quickest (but a bit more expensive then the alternative route). This train also stops at Stratford in East London.

 

If you’re staying in south, south east or south west London then the train from London Victoria is probably the most convenient. This train does sometimes also depart from London Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge and Canon Street so it’s best to check the South Eastern journey planner for the actual timetable on the day you wish to travel on.

 

 

Timetable

 

On Mondays to Fridays during the day, there are hourly departures to Whitstable from both London St Pancras and London Victoria. Trains from London St Pancras depart at 25 or 27 minutes past each hour and take approximately 1 hour 12 minutes. Trains from London Victoria depart 40 minutes past each hour and take approximately 1 hour 21 minutes.

 

It is important to note that UK train timetables change regularly (especially on weekends) so it is always best to check train times using one of the many journey planners available online - such as this one by South Eastern railways.

 

 

Cost

Last updated: 3rd June 2018

 

Route: London Bridge / Canon Street / Waterloo East / Charing Cross to Whitstable...

 

  • £24.00 in second class for an Off Peak Day Return (generally meaning travel after 09:30 Monday to Friday (or anytime on weekends) and returning the same day). A one-way Off Peak ticket is £0.10 cheaper.

 

Route: London St Pancras to Whitstable...

 

  • £30.40 in second class for an Off Peak Day Return (generally meaning travel after 09:30 Monday to Friday (or anytime on weekends) and returning the same day). A one-way Off Peak ticket is £0.10 cheaper.

 

Interrail restrictions

Last updated: 3rd June 2018

 

Please note that these restrictions have been copied from the Interrail webpage titled Domestic train reservation fees with additional notes added.

 

No reservations are required for regular day trains in England but please note that:

  • Interrail passes are only valid on mainline train services and not on any underground or metro systems (i.e. the London Underground) and that,

  • Interrail passes cannot be used in your country of residence.

 

Visit the the official interrail website for full terms and conditions.

 

FIP / PRIV restrictions

 

If you are employed by a train operating company in Europe and are entitled to FIP facilities, travelling on any route to Whitstable from London will not require you to make a reservation for the journey if you hold a valid FIP coupon. If you’re only entitled to a FIP Reduced Rate Card for England, you will get the discount shown on the back of the card. It should be noted however that FIP travel facilities are only valid on mainline rail services in England and not on metro style trains (i.e. the London Underground).

 

If you are employed by a Train Operating Company in England, Wales or Scotland and are entitled to PRIV rate travel, the following fares apply:

  • London St Pancras to Whitstable £7.60 in second class (this route uses the High Speed trains)

  • London Victoria, London Bridge, London Charing Cross, London Waterloo East or London Canon Street to Whitstable £6.00 in second class

 

Please note the prices shown above are for an “Off Peak Day Return” - generally meaning travel after 09:30 Monday to Friday (or anytime on weekends) and returning the same day. These fares were correct on 3rd June 2018.

 

 

What are South Eastern trains like along this route? 

 

Route: London Bridge / Canon Street / Waterloo East / Charing Cross to Whitstable...

 

Trains from the above stations to Whitstable have both first and second class seats - however first class is really not worth the extra money in any way shape or form (see pictures below)!

 

 

Second class carriage with either 2 by 3 seats or 2 by 2 seats - some seats are around a small table (i.e. facing) and others are airline style.

 

 

First class section (with no proper division from the second class section) and with pretty much the same seats as second class.

 

 

Route: St Pancras to Whitstable...

 

The trains on this route are similar but perhaps slightly better!

 

 

Suggested Links

 

 

 

Photo Journal

 

Fishing boats and nets in Whitstable Harbour

 

 

 

The beach just outside Whitstable Harbour as the fog rolled in

 

 

Oysters, Prosecco and plenty more delicious seafood 

 

 

Cottages and wooden shacks for rent along Tankerton Beach

 

 

There are always more photos to be shared, but sharing them all on this journal page will just make it look cluttered so if you want to see more photos for inspiration, check out my Flickr “England–2018” album.

 

Back to England travel guide or London travel guide...

 

 

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