10 September 2016

Our seaside summer day trip to Whitstable: in search of oysters and sunshine

We watched the weather report with the fanaticism of the British and the stiff upper lips of antipodeans in need of summer Vitamin D. When it dawned clear and bright, we hauled ourselves onto the train armed with coffee, chatter and a swift touch of Google research past Canterbury towards the Kent coast.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi
Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Our mission was simple, to try the world--famous oysters whilst the ocean lapped nearby. This is what late summer days are made of.

Despite the pebbly beach woes we face occasionally (proper first world problems ala Brighton where character makes up for a lack of granular sunshine) we strolled off the train and followed the daytripping Londoners making like homing pigeons to the shorefront.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

As we wandered along the beach taking science fiction, moving house and laughed at our uniquely expat dramas, we admired the grand old buildings that hug the coast. This isn't carnie-style beach life, all flashing lights and wurlitzer rides, but an older, more Victorian style of nautical living.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi
Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi


Weatherboards that have seen many storms, cute nautical mosaics, balconies that called to us and bay windows that made us want to abandon our work desks and simply check-in for a week or so.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

As we traipsed further along, model homes morphed into sea shanty filled huts where families set up gazebos and lit camping stoves for a cuppa and nattering. Pups young and old lolloped into the shallow ocean and their bemused owners patiently waited until it was snacktime.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

We took roughly a gazilion photos of this seaside retreat - walking along little lanes as we gazed into front yards laid with rusting anchors and, er, occasionaly entire ships sorry Dad boats.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

With a lunch booking we wandered past piles of oyster shells (called "grotters" which are eventually returned to the seabed as encouragement for new oysters to grow safely) as our tummies rumbled, ready for a fresh taste of the sea.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

We popped into our booking at the popular Crab and Winkle which was highly recommended, only to discover that the service though lovely was achingly slow.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Our platter of Oysters was scrumptious - and our request to try a couple of each kind (natural, grilled and battered) was met with a surprising "oh sure, no problem" which astounded our London-selves, so accustomed to chefs that ruled their menus with an iron ladle. The fish and chips were cracking (I had mine in the English style served with mushy peas and vinegar) and the starters of whole prawns and brown crab my date ordered in lieu of an unavailable main were generously portioned to say the least.

Whitstable Oysters beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi


I am legitimately making this my PC wallpaper to get me through winter.

Whitstable Oysters beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Realising that we hadn't enough time to do the walk along to the next bay, missing 2 different friends who were randomly in the area (one who caught me photographing red-handed) and that I had severely misjudged the footwear situation for sandbar hopping we consoled ourselves with more huts, and a pot of tea at the Whitstable Castle.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi
Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Lucky enough to stumble across an affectionate local guide, who purred his way around the perimeter where we learned that this was more a rich man's manor home than traditional princess castle.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

But, when in doubt, a 99 ice cream at sunset should do the trick, it even temporarily cures blisters. Fact. 

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi
Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

A reliable souce (in fact the one and only Emm in London who we just seeing missed this very day by an hour or so) tells me these wooden structures are called Groynes, embedded perpindicular to the water's edge manage coastal erosion by interrupting the water flow. This lessens the harsh impact of the waves and controls the sand movement.

All I know is that we spent rather idyllic day dodging locals and tourists alike for a little taste of sea, sand and salt. I just want to go back to the beach now... perhaps traipse along the quirky shores of Rye and Camber Sands, the sandy beauty of Broadstairs or the private chalk cliffs of Botany Bay.

Whitstable beach day trip from London Adventures of a London Kiwi

Have you been - are you an Oyster sipper?

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