Whitstable’s best shops
Now that Spring is supposedly in full swing, it’s time to start planning those weekend day trips. I’d gotten the bug since weekending in the city of Manchester so next up, to mix things up a little, I took to the coast by way of Whitstable.
Not too far from its jazzy sister Margate, Whitstable stands for your classic retro seaside destination. I might not have thought to go if it hadn’t been for the dolls at Betty Magazine urging me to discover it (they were also mostly responsible for said trip to Margy and will be for foreseeable excursions in the future).
Whitstable is a calm harbour town founded on fishing and now making its name for its creative community, kitsch shops and community spirit. Pop into local pub The Duke in the afternoon and you might yourself having a jig with a local whilst a band jams on stage.
Here are a couple of places worthy of note that had my camera at hello…
Everyone recommends Frank, for good reason. Over the last 10 years, they’ve sold anything British made from colourful art prints to wood block clocks, it’s a dream shop-cum-gallery for anyone obsessed with brightly hued, geometric design, i.e you.
Flory and Hope
My second purchase of the day was made in Flory and Hope, another gift shop with a focus on lighting and homeware that could look just as welcome in your own house as your grandmas. I picked up a very cute speech bubble shaped ceramic dish with ‘Hello Sunshine‘ painted in the centre and restrained myself from scooping up more into my basket. I defy you not to want to buy something. You’ve been warned.
Lunch at Samphire guarantees a serving of carefully selected British produce on your plate. Located by the sea and known for its fresh ‘catch of the day’s, it would seem silly not to go for something fishy as we did.
The fish pie was hearty with proper chunks of salmon, prawns and white fishes. Just what you need to set you up for a stroll down the coast. Get a table early in the day and watch the endless couples and families get turned away. Harsh but satisfying.
Just for the photos of that pastel facade. Catch a look at a local at the counter getting his fill from the assorted crustacean salads and tarts. Currently undergoing a refurb, Wheelers allows you to only dine on the limited bar menu but not long until they resume full restaurant service.
When I first heard there was a castle just outside of the main Whitstable stretch, I got quite excited. Not to deter you from it seeing for yourself, but the site is more flag-waving stately home than canon-shooting, portcullis-lowering battle station.
Take a wander around the gardens as part of a walk up the coast (it’ll only take 3 minutes) and pop in for afternoon tea if it’s the right time of day. It’s a beautiful building used for weddings and events but if your stroll misses it out, fret not too much.
At the heart of Whitstable town is the harbour built in 1831 from which diving, shipbuilding and oyster fishing made its name. Pick up a fresh catch at the fish market and bag some selfies with the local sculptures the head east along the prom towards Tankerton.
It’s on the beach front walk between the two towns where you’ll spot all the colourful beach huts that make up the majority of content in the #Whitstable Instagram hashtag. The further down you go, the better the huts! I’m kicking myself for not making more of Tankerton, who knows what I could have discovered. But alas, wind and hail stones cut my exploring short. Don’t forget to pack your (very sturdy) brolly!