Wednesday 14 August 2019


This summer I made it an aim of mine to explore the country I call home a little more, leaving my East London bubble behind to see what other sights, sounds and people there are to discover in England, and proving to myself that you can achieve that holiday feeling without getting on a plane. 

After a fantastic weekend by the sea in Deal I was keen to explore more British seaside towns and Whitstable, also in Kent, immediately sprung to mind. Why? Well with its proximity to London, decent train links, and reputation for great seafood it has quickly become the du jour day tripping destination for millennials wanting to escape the city for a day or two so I had seen and heard quite a lot of good things about Whitstable.

It definitely felt a little more “discovered” by the masses than Deal, but I still had an absolutely fab time there and was particularly impressed with the fresh seafood you can get your hands on at basically every corner, whether oysters right by the shore or at one of the many restaurants and beach huts, right by the sea, that specialise in lobster and the like.

We went for the Sunday and stayed the night, getting on relatively early trains back the next day, which I think was the perfect amount of time spent in Whitstable- if you are planning on staying longer definitely venture further afield to nearby Canterbury or Herne Hill. I will for sure return and I hope you will give Whitstable a go with some of the tips below- I’m still dreaming of that fresh lobster and would go back for that standard of seafood alone!

PS: We didn’t have the best weather, well more like gale force winds, but don’t worry too much about it - yes, a beachside picnic is always fun and something we weren’t able to do on this occasion but you can still have a wonder down promenade and look at the beautiful beach huts even if it’s a bit choppy and cold outside, and still have plenty of other things to do, especially if there are as many great indoor drinking and eating venues as there are in Whitstable.


Getting there couldn't be easier. Just jump on the 1 hour and 20 minutes train from either Victoria or St Pancras station and you will be there in no time! The return ticket is under £25 and the journey feels quick, just make sure you and your travel companions book a train from the same London station – alas we only realised a day before that we had booked trains going to Whitstable at the same BUT one of us from Victoria and one of us from St Pancras



I came across The Front Rooms, a quirky little B&B run by former art gallery owner and interior stylist Julie Thorne, while searching the web for boutique hotel style places to spend the night at in Whitstable and definitely was not let down by the beautiful space she has created, a perfect little haven away from the stresses of London that served as perfect base for exploring Whitstable.

Of course, one has to bear in mind that this is not a big scale slick hotel like operation but the more personal and homely approach to hosting made this place even more special in my eyes. Julie welcomed us herself and gave us a plethora of tips of what to do and see while in Whitstable and the three rooms she rents out to visitors clearly have been decorated with a lot of attention to detail, love and labour. Think The White Company aesthetics meets scandi simplicity and you get an idea about the style of the rooms - beautiful white wooden floors, tasteful nods to the seaside and a fabulously comfy bed with crisp white sheets – I really wish I could have taken the room back to London with me.

Our room also had a lovely balcony that would have been even better with a sea view but was still nice for an afternoon drink. Indeed, The Front Rooms isn’t right by the sea but has a great location for a Whitstable staycation, a 5 minute walk to the harbour and beach and a 5 minute walk to the high street and Harbour street with all its cute cafes, shops and pubs.

Included in your stay is also a super cute breakfast delivered to your doorstep at your chosen time in the morning, which meant I had a super leisurely and relaxed start to my Monday morning with coffee, berries and freshly squeezed orange juice, left outside my door on an adorable white wooden tray.

I couldn’t think of a more perfect place than The Front Rooms to spend the night at whilst in Whitstable- not only gorgeously decorated, you will take a million pictures the minute you walk through the door, but offering wonderful hospitality to its guests, with Julie really making you feel at home and altogether offering a great experience I can only recommend. There are only 3 rooms so make sure you get yourself booked in with plenty of time in advance.



This old-school boozer is located right by the beach and is the perfect spot to take in the shoreline whilst enjoying a drink. It was a bit too windy while we perched on one of their wooden outdoor benches with prime sea view but we still managed to enjoy a glass of wine out of one of their very classy plastic cup. For me The Old Neptune perfect first stop on your Whitstable exploration day and I’d be keen to go back when it’s a bit warmer and sunnier.


We stumbled across this pub by accident while on the lookout for somewhere to enjoy an outside drink at. It may not look like much from the outside but the Royal Naval Reserve pub has a lovely hidden beer garden, bathed in sunlight, at the back with plenty of benches and also served a very decently priced Aperol Spritz (£6), making it the perfect spot to spend a few afternoon hours chatting away at. Staff were also super friendly and inside, including toilets newly refurbished.


Once we had dropped off our bags and had a little wonder down the seafront and high street we were in need of a little lunch and immediately loved the look of this little delicatessen / wine bar that looked more like a proper Spanish tapas joint with its wooden bar, high stools and delicious cheese and charcuterie on display than a Whitstable high street fixture. 

Try and nap one of the two outside tables, we perfectly timed our visit, and make the most of the fantastic lunch menu. The menu, written on a chalk board at the entrance, may be short, 3 or 4 mains all under £12 and including steak, fresh prawns and lamb, a few starters and desserts, but is outstanding value for money and shows a real cooking flair that you would be paying triple for in London. We got a generously portioned antipasti platter for £10 to start but the real highlight was a heaping big plate of incredible crab spaghetti, shared on this occasion but one portion would fill you up for the day, which was one if not the best crab pasta dishes I have ever had. 

A ridiculous amount of fresh crab meat in a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce and all of that for a shockingly cheap £10 for this plate of perfection. We washed down this outstanding lunch, they are not open for dinner so make sure you come before 3pm, with a lovely bottle of white wine, they also have a vast and well priced selection of wines, which came recommended to us by the loveliest waitress that made sure we felt incredibly well looked after from the minute we sat down. David Brown is an utter gem, a delicatessen that showcases a real love for food and wine and I have to say I would go back to Whitstable to eat off their outstanding lunch menu any day. A must stop on your visit.


Of course we had to eat some lobster while in Whitstable seeing as it is famous for exactly that (and oysters which neither me nor my travel companion Anne-Lise are too keen so apologies for the lack of recommendations in that area) and wanted to do so in a setting by the sea to make the most of the sunset at dinner time.

My lovely colleague Abi, who already made my Deal trip with her reliable list of places to eat and drink at, recommended The Lobster Shack, an unpretentious seafood restaurant with self service and no reservation, but with an unrivalled view of the beach, offering outside benches to eat at if the weather is good but also with a lovely big dining rooms that has big windows so you don’t feel like you are missing out by eating inside.

There are huge seafood platters on offer, perfect if there is a group of you (if I remember right they are about £59 for a platter of every seafood you can think of and are big enough to easily feed 4-5 people as a starter), but also a selection of other smaller seafood starters – we went for a big pot of fresh prawns with a lovely Marie Rose dip for £4, so simple but so damn good if the quality of ingredients is this good.

For mains you can get your fish and chips fix if you fancy but really the lobster is the star of the show here. You can have yours simply served with melted butter and herbs, with added chorizo or like we did ‘Thermidor’ with a bubbly cheese topping. You get a pretty big tail, served with chips and a yummy cucumber salad for £22, not cheap but so worth it for any seafood lover and worth the train journey down for me alone.

The Lobster Shack isn’t fancy dining but who needs that when you can have amazing seafood at prices we would only dream of in London RIGHT by the sea. Make sure to get a picture of you as lobster (it will make sense when you get there) before your dinner and get there early enough, it is not the most known spot YET but does fill up quickly with locals and those in the know. 

With a view and seafood like that at our dinner at The Lobster Shack was for sure one of the most memorable dining experience I have had in the UK and does prove there is some amazing food to be had outside London! 

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