Whitstable – a guide for visiting this Kent town in 2023

Kent is full of interesting towns and villages, and we think Whitstable is definitely one of the best. It has a great combination of relaxing seaside and bustling town centre, which gives you a little bit of everything. We wanted to highlight this town and outline the best things to see and do during your time in Whitstable for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's get into the guide:

Where is Whitstable?

In simple terms, Whitstable is on the north coast of Kent in southeastern England. It is located at the convergence of the Swale Estuary and the Greater Thames Estuary. The town is 7 miles north of Canterbury and 5 miles west of Herne Bay. Even if you're travelling from London it is only a 90 minute drive (around 60 miles).

What is there to see and do in Whitstable?

Despite not being a big town, there is quite a bit to see and do in Whitstable. Here are some of the highlights:

Whitstable harbour

The harbour in Whitstable is the focal point of the town, and because it is a working harbour there is always a bustling atmosphere here. Watching the boats at work is enjoyable, but you've also got plenty of other things to explore at the harbour including pop-up shops at the weekends, as well as an excellent range of fish restaurants to suit all budgets. What we love about the harbour is that during the week it's a very relaxing place to visit, then during the weekend, it becomes quite an exciting place to visit. Something for everyone!

Whitstable West Beach

Just south of the harbour you'll find Whitstable West beach, a lovely long beach which is divided up by wooden groynes. It's a shingle beach which is perfect for long walks with the dog. It runs all the way to Seasalter, which is around 1 mile long. The Old Neptune pub sits practically right on the beach and is a lovely place to sit with a beer on a sunny day. Learn more here -

Tankerton Beach (and slope)

This shingle beach has a unique and attractive look, with long stretches of pebbles and colourful huts overlooking the promenade. The grassy area next to the beach, known as the Tankerton Slope, is also an interesting area to explore and to enjoy views from. The beach is very peaceful and the water is usually very calm, making it a great place for a dip or a long walk. We also love that the parking is free for up to 4 hours, and that the toilets here are very well kept. Overall, we highly recommend a trip to this beach!

Walk along The Street

No, we don't mean Whitstable high street (although that is also worth a visit, more on that in a minute). We're actually talking about a natural phenomenon called The Street, which is an area at Tankerton beach only visible when the tide goes out. The waves part and leave a path for you to walk down, which is quite a surreal experience as you walk further down and find yourself surrounded by the sea. You can look at The Street from Tankerton Slope which is a great place to view it from. Just make sure you don't get caught out, we're being really serious!

Whitstable Castle & Gardens

We always recommend a visit to a castle or country house in our guides because it guarantees a great day out, and Whitstable Castle & Gardens is no exception. Located on the seafront between the town and the slope, the setting is lovely and is only a short walk from the harbour. You might not be able to access the castle itself during your visit as events are often held here, but the gardens are lovely to explore. Learn more here -

Playhouse Theatre

If you're looking to catch a show or movie during your time in Whitstable then the Playhouse Theatre is where you need to head. This small theatre only has a capacity of around 150, but it's this intimate feel which makes it feel so special. You can catch everything here from musical acts to dramatic plays, but we'd say it's the music that attracts most people to the Playhouse - there is always something fun on. Tickets are reasonably priced and it's a great venue, learn more and book tickets here -

Whitstable Museum & Gallery

If you don't know where to look you could easily miss this museum and gallery, but do take the time to find this location as it is very interesting. It's a small attraction but there is plenty to see here, including one of Stephenson's early locomotives which is fascinating. There is also an exhibition all about Peter Cushing who lived in Whitstable. Overall, it's a very interesting visit and worth your time, plus the volunteers working there are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Learn more here -

Visit The Horsebridge Arts Centre

This arts centre is always full of interesting exhibitions and activities which are worth a look, but the real highlight for many people visiting The Horsebridge is the stunning sea views from the balcony café. It's one of the best places to sit in Whitstable for sea views, but we'd still recommend taking time to look around the exhibitions even if your only reason for visiting is to sit on the balcony! Especially if any virtual exhibitions are on. Learn more about the centre here -

Cycle along the Crab & Winkle Way

There are some excellent coastal trails to follow throughout Kent, and the Crab & Winkle Way is one of the best. Stretching from Canterbury to Whitstable, the route is 7.5 miles long so isn't too challenging, but takes you through some lovely scenery. Typically you start in Whitstable Station and finish in the North Lane Car Park in Canterbury, but like most cycling routes you can dip in and out as you please. Most people can complete this in less than 45 minutes, so give it a shot! Learn more about the route here -

What should you be aware of before visiting Whitstable?

There is lots to see in this town, but you may wish to visit elsewhere during your time in Whitstable as there are lots of surrounding villages and towns which are worth a visit too. Broadstairs is a great place to head to if you've got the time and is only a 30 minute drive, and of course if you're following the Crab and Winkle Way then you could spend a few days in Canterbury quite easily.
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this lovely seaside town. We have other guides about amazing parts of England such as Teesdale, the English Riviera, or Yorkshire. We also have guides about other seaside towns such as Sidmouth and Worthing and other Kent towns like Tenterden.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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