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When I grow up I would like to live in Whitstable (you should go there)

I first visited Whitstable 2 years ago. I went for my pal Gita's hen do, and even through the blur of apple sours and prosecco drunk in pyjamas (not together, I don't think) I knew I wanted to live in that little Kentish coastal town when I became a fully fledged grown up. Ok, perhaps that feeling was in part because of the aforementioned apple sours and prosecco, but even the next morning as I got on a train to travel the 1 hour and 23 minutes back to London Victoria in a slightly delicate state, the feelings, unlike my hungover-and-about-to-get-on-public-transport face, had not paled.

I went back to Whitstable this summer for a little reunion of our crew who went to the Philippines over the new year, as Whitstable is basically the English Philippines. Well not really, in the Philippines I didn't pay £4 for a beer, or need to wear a fleece lined anorak, but in both Whitstable and the Philippines I saw some pretty great sunsets, and got some interesting tan lines (I still have one white shoulder from this amazing though tan-unfriendly swimsuit from my 45 minute dip in the sea).

We timed the trip at the end of July when Whitstable was in the throws of its Oyster Festival, a modern version of a shindig dating back to Norman times, where the people of Whitstable celebrated their harvest of oysters the previous season, and the safe return of the sailors from the sea. The whole seaside town heads to the port for a party with live music, locally brewed ciders (including a salted caramel one!), prosecco cocktails, artisan donuts, ice cream and other junk food (but it is not bad for you if it has artisan in front of it) and of course seafood.

All I really want in life, is to live in Whitstable, working from home 99.7% of the time, in one of its wooden porched houses overlooking the sea where I take a swim every morning (even when its cold), before galavanting to a cute seaside brunch place with the small fluffy dog I own, and the girls from my tug of war team. (Actually, I am almost there on the last one, as after watching people fall into soggy seaweedy sand at this year Oyster Festival's tug of war competition it is one of my 28 year old goals to compete next year. My girlfriends and I have also decided on the perfect all ladies tug of war team name, thanks to my friend Toby who also witnessed the tugging (?) - tug life. Puntastic.) So basically yeah, let's all move to Whitstable, or at the very least visit there quite a lot, and check out these places:

Eating and Drinking:

My friend Clare has a little terrace house in Whitstable, on one of the streets just off the seafront, which means last time I visited, we mainly barbecued and made delicious salads and ate them in the garden, but if you are not blessed with a Clare, you can check out these spots:

  • Wheelers Oyster Bar - So errr I've never actually been here... I know what sort of reviewer am I? But this is mainly because I have never been organised enough to book ahead, and I couldn't have a list of places to eat and drink in Whitstable without mentioning this bubblegum pink, bunting trimmed restaurant on the high street, which regularly tops lists of best seafood restaurants in the UK. This tiny place really does need to be booked ahead, with its menu of 6 starters to choose from, 6 mains and 6 desserts which changes regularly. And, it's pink.
  • The Forge - a little seaside fairy lit shack right on the pebbly beach, selling giant oysters and all the other seafood and beer. 
  • The Old Neptune pub - a lovely old man's pub with £15 (!) bottles of prosecco right on the beach. Lovely in the summer to bring your drink out and sit on a picnic bench or the pebbles, or lovely on a colder day to cosy up on a table inside with a sea view.
  • One in the oven doughnuts - A doughnut business from round the corner in Canterbury who if you're lucky will have a stall on the seafront when you visit. (The port always has loads of delicious local businesses selling the fruits of their labour). One in the oven popped my bacon doughnut cherry, but I have already eye on the oreo one for next time. Hashtag promiscuous.
  • Whitstable Oyster Company Restaurant - the terrace is all of my instagram dreams come true - lavender, and festoon fairy lights and white linen and lobster. Again best to book at the weekend.
  • The Sportsman - Ok, so this is a walk along the coast from Whitstable in Seasalter, and again I haven't been here but my parents and sister have...does that count? Don't think my review could add much anyway as it has Michelin star and was just crowned the Telegraph's National Restaurant of the year, so yes you should go there. Obviously book well ahead, or do as my parents did and turn up at 11:55am on a rainy Tuesday in the winter to get a table.


When I have not been too busy eating, I have loved just having a wander down Whitstable's winding high street. 

Here are some spots I have stopped off at:
  • Whitstable lavender - a shop making and selling lots of delicious lavender bits - the bedtime tea kicked off mine and Will's bedtime tea routine
  • Flory & Black - a little independent homeware shop, full of lovely lighting and crockery with tiny nods to its home on the coast (without it meaning you go home and make your flat look like the interior of a beach hut)
  • The Whiting Post - A clothes shop full of small brands, including one of my favourites since I was 15 and lived in the peach tutu I bought from them, Noa Noa.

I am lucky that when I go to Whitstable I get to stay in my friend Clare's beautiful home, but if I didn't have a Clare, or Clare didn't have that house then I would stay in these little fisherman's huts right on the seafront. If I can't wait for the next group trip (I probably can't) you might catch me in one this winter. Don't you just love a walk on the seafront on a nippy November day?

PS. Travelling further a field...my perfect day in NYC.

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