Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whitstable - London oyster weekend getaway 1/5

Whitstable+train+station+sign
follow the signs and you can't be far off

Mention Whitstable to the Londoner and you'll get two vastly different responses - "Oh, the oysters place!" or simply a blank stare.

Whitstable located in southeast England is just over an hour's train ride from London's Victoria train station (20 quid for return ticket). It is unlike the many other more commercial seaside towns in the region; it doesn't have vibrant nightclub scene of Brighton, the cheap casinos and bingo clubs of Southend-on-the-Sea, and Dover's white cliffs that draw tourists by the trainloads. It doesn't even have Portmouth-styled giant shopping mall stuffed with high end brands.

Whitstable
everything goes slow in Whitstable, which suits me just fine

Whitstable
the defunct theatre converted to a bingo hall, the one only that I came across

I wouldn't be surprised that a significant number of visitors to Whitstable are return visitors for Whitstable has a unique charm of its own. Those who have, like me, grown tired of familiar high street brands that seem to have popped up in every other towns in the UK will find much relief in Whitstable. Other than a couple of high street bank branches and three supermarket chains (a defunct Woolworth inclusive), In fact, I couldn't find a single MacDonald's, Starbucks or Waterstone's along its High Street and Harbour Street.

Whitstable
this doubles up as an ice-cream van as well

And nope, there's pier with tacky theme parks at Whitstable as well. But it does have a lazy pebbled beach with rows of beach houses thrown in.

What Whitstable has to offer is a variety of well-stocked charity stores, delightful craft and furnishing shops, galleries mostly with artworks depicting coastal scenes of the seaside towns, cosy book stores, comfortable tea rooms, and more than its fair share of oyster bars feeding on the large oyster catchment just off its coast.

Whitstable
a hog stands guard

Whitstable
feeling peckish? how about some fresh catch?

Whitstable
a small dock harbours the fishing boats

Whitstable
keeping Whitstable unique is serious business here

Interestingly, Whitstable is the first town where I actually wanted to post just pictures 'cause words would have done it injustice. But I figured that I'll split it up into a couple of posts on a couple of highlights - Harbour Books store, its thriving oyster trade, its beach and tea rooms.

So sit back and enjoy, my friends.

Read also...
Whitstable beaches 2/5
Whitstable oyster paradise 3/5
Whitstable Harbour Books 4/5
Whitstable Tudor Tea Rooms 5/5

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8 comments:

drcrab said...

were you here recently?!?!?!?! how dare you not call by! lol!!

C K said...

@drcrab,
Will definitely give you a shout if I had known that you're in the vicinity. :)

Dutchie said...

Hubby was just back from Goole (Humberside) n he told me abt the town being just like what u describe here. He took time to browse in the book shops but could find nothing of interest. He thought the charity shop was quite commercialised. The concept is relatively unknown here.

The stall with fresh seafood looks good. I'm not one to go for a cold bite btw. Give me piping hot fish n chips any day :-)

Coincidentally, hubby n I r heading out to Amsterdam this saturday to check out the moon cakes (how time flies - it's that time of the year again !). The roundtrip tix has gone up (€ 18,40). It takes abt an hour n it's almost the same price u paid for ur trip !

Hubby wonders if u travel on a seasoned tix since u take so many trips ?

My boss used to pay for a year card which offers the chance for unlimited travel. It's been downsized to a week card which means my weekend trips has to be paid by yours truly *sigh*

C K said...

Do they have oysters at Goole as well? Other than the small town charm of Whitstable, I guess the oysters' the highlight.

Unfortunately, no, we don't have any train passes. So that adds some flexibility I guess. Over here in the UK, travel passes are restricted to specific train lines. Also, I don't think we qualify for any train discount passes as well.

Dutchie said...

Hubby says no fresh seafood seen at the harbour front (maybe at Tesco ?). He doesnt eat anything out of the sea btw but he would encouraged me to order it when we eat out. I was very hesitant y'day in A'dam bec it's been a long time since I ate seafood n I know from my SG experience that the aroma tends to intensify when I take a bite. I ordered chicken chow mein (€ 10,00) to be on the safe side bec I was just too ravenous ! Hubby had fragrant rice with a big plate of shredded beef/bellpeppers n his favourite fermented black beans. The beef was super tender. I can never replicate it at home ! It was € 10,50 well spent I think :-)

Oh, he also mentioned that in Villagracia/Spain, there's seafood galore on the boardwalk (yes, he thought it a shame that I wasnt there to catch up on my seafood binge - heehee) It's also a place for "bird watching" while having a cold beer in the evening sun.

C K said...

@Dutchie,
Bird watching? lol.

As for the beef, I suspect there was quite a bit of tenderizer added, hmm, not exactly the healthiest.

Thanks for the heads up on Villagracia!

zerohero999 said...

You should pay a visit to Leigh On Sea old town(4 miles from Southend).It is a small charming uncommercialised sea-front famous for its cockles.

C K said...

@zerohero999,
Thanks for the heads up! Will give it a go next spring. Weather had been crazy these days. Don't think I'm in for beachese now. :)