Dandelion Day Trips: Whitstable
Updated: Jun 30
As we all know only too well it's almost impossible to book a weekend away in the UK this summer. So we thought we would do a round up of fun family day trips from London, kicking off with Whitstable in Kent. Here are a few top tips to help make your day a jolly one.
Best way to Travel
Traffic into this pretty little seaside town can be heavy, plus parking is tricky so we would recommend letting the train take the strain. A direct service runs from Victoria Station (1hr 33min) or London St Pancras (1 hr 14 mins) about every 30mins. It's a brisk 10 min walk from the station to Whitstable Harbour.
There is one main shopping street that snakes through the town. Harbour Street (just by the Harbour) flows into the High Street which then runs into Oxford Street. All the places listed below are dotted along these three small streets.
Avoid the crowds and head to West Beach. It's a short walk along the sea-front but you will find a much quieter picnic and swimming spot here. Whitstable is very tidal so you can paddle and swim at high tide or go foraging for crabs and winkles in the mud when the tide is out.
Best (and only) Museum
Tiny but mighty Whitstable Museum is a delight. Train buffs will be in awe of the Invicta steam locomotive that was craned back into this little museum in 2019. The Canterbury & Whitstable Railway (known now as the 'crab & winkle') was the very first railway in England to carry passengers using a steam locomotive. Charming volunteers are on hand to tell stories of shipwrecks and other sea adventures. Adults £3, kids free. Open Weds–Sun in school hols.
Best Boat Ride
Built in 1948 in Cowes, this glorious vintage lifeboat offers around-the-bay trips for £10 and seal safaris from £30. Visit their booking office in the Harbour or head to their Facebook page.
Best Sweet Shop
Pretty as a picture with a magical sweetie draw, this is the place to head if you have a sweet tooth. Paper money, flying saucers, dib dabs, toffee bon bons, it's sugar heaven.
Best Fish & Chips
Our hands down favourite is Ossies in the main High Street. The best battered fish in town. Order ahead by telephone and avoid the queues. Tel: 01227 277777
Best Ice Cream
Sundae Sundae serves the best English ice cream. Double honeycomb with a fudge stick - what could be better.
Now owned by Gerorge's grand-daughter, this mini-mart is a Whitstable institution. Rubber rings and inflatables, buckets and spades, jelly shoes (for the stones on the beach) - you'll find everything you need for a beach day at a bargain price. It's a total Aladdin's cave.
The Forge on the beach front is the best place to head for al fresco oysters (expect numerous varieties) and delicious lobsters. Pretty good hot donuts too.
Cruffins like you have never seen before at this heavenly artisan bakery. Best coffee in town too.
If you are planning ahead there are some excellent restaurants in Whitstable. All have to be booked several weeks in advance. Our top picks would be the Whitstable Oyster Fishery, Harbour Street Tapas and Jojo's (the latter being a bracing walk along the beach to Tankerton) .
Take a pic, tag us and let us know what you think of our recommendations. Have fun.
Julia Colls, 21 June 2021