Wednesday 5 July 2017

24hrs in Seasalter and Whitstable | Kent

Kent Beaches

It’s not hard to find an excuse to get out to Kent. Cheap rail fares (if you invest in a Network Rail Card which gives you a third off travel), a fast journey, and before you know it you’re in the garden of England and that means you’re not far from the coast, either.

If you’re looking for an overnight stay outside of the capital, here’s one way to spend 24hrs between the quiet beaches of Seasalter and the bustling harbour of Whitstable. 

(Photo from Green Contact Book)

8am > Head to London St Pancras for donuts and coffee

This is somewhat of a ritual for me if I’m heading out of St. Pancras station. SOURCED Café, just under the information board, do a pretty good flat white (I like to sprinkle cinnamon on top) and stock a range of Crosstown Donuts. What more could you want while you’re waiting for the ink to dry on your tickets?

9:27am > Jump on the high speed

The trains vary in speed heading into Whitstable, with the shortest journey time of around 1hr11mins and these usually depart around 20-minutes past the hour. The 9:27am (correct at time of publication) gets you in for 10:38am.

The station in Whitstable is in the middle of a residential area, so grab a taxi at the rank. If there isn’t one there, or you want to call ahead, Abacus and Whitstable Cars are friendly and reliable.

bed and breakfast whitstable

11am > Leave your bags at Driftwood B&B, Seasalter, your humble base pad

Driftwood is a home away from home, only it comes with a hot tub if you choose the spa room (we did). Jez and Michelle (and their dog Snoop) have an amazing spot nestled between RSPB conservation land (so a great b&b for birdwatchers) and a meadow that leads onto a pebble beach. This was ideal for relaxing (Whitstable can be very busy in season) and proximity to Britain’s best restaurant – the Sportsman.

The walk from Driftwood to the Sportsman is only 20-minutes but takes you along quiet, beautiful coastline. As you come to a turn in the beach, the Sportsman is just on the corner, surrounded by half-finished gardens where they grow seasonal produce for the menu. 

Seasalter Kent

12:30pm > Take the tasting menu at the Sportsman, Restaurant of the Year 2016 and 2017

There’s a reason this place keeps winning awards, even if it looks like an old pub by the sea. The food is simply flawless, consistently. Fresh, perfectly prepared and served promptly by friendly staff, I couldn’t find even the smallest fault with anything we enjoyed. What I liked the most was being able to see the vegetable gardens and the coastline from the windows – as I ate my roasted sea bass with pea puree and courgette, I could see the bright red flowers of the beanstalk beaming back at me. 

Seasalter Oysters Whitstable

2:45pm > Walk the coastline into Whitstable

A great way to ease off the big meal you’ve just devoured, you can see the candy coloured beach houses of Whitstable approaching in the distance as you stroll along here, and eventually come to the Old Neptune: a wonky pub in the beach that survived the storm and subsequent flooding of 1987. Have a swift half a shandy in the sunshine as you look out over the tide that is starting to draw in across the oyster beds. Often in the summer, the pubs surrounding the beach play live music and it’s a bit of a merry din. 

Whitstable Pubs

Once revitalised, carry on down the beach until you hit the harbour, which is full of rocking boats and the call of fishmongers flogging their catch. There is a wealth of information along the way about the history of the area to enjoy, too.

A visit to Whitstable isn’t complete without a scoop of ice cream from Sundae Sundae, so be sure to pop in. My favourite is the bubblegum flavour with the snazzy cone – it tastes just like the ice cream van screwballs of my childhood, but snazzier. 

Ice Cream on Harbour Street Kent

6:30pm > Catch a taxi back to Driftwood (approx. £6) to soak and relax

That’s what that hot tub is for. We picked up some fresh fruit and groceries just before leaving Whitstable. The fruit for enjoying in the hot tub, and some bread and cheese for sunset (add wine if you wish). The hot tub here is a lovely spot for soaking and watching the amazing range of birds that come to call. Rinse off and take a 20-minute cat nap if you wish. 

Hot tub at Driftwood Beach House

Places to stay in Seasalter Kent

8:30pm > Cross the meadow to the sunset

There are few pleasures such as the sunset over the sea on a clear evening. I’ve little else to say here. You’ll sleep well after, too. The beds and quiet at Driftwood make it phenomenally comfortable. 

Kent Beaches

9am > Take breakfast, say goodbye to the birds, pack up

Breakfast is served to the terrace – hot breakfast or cold – and you’ll be serenaded by song birds while you pack up your bags and wish you had time for one last jump in the tub. 

Driftwood B&B

Head into Whitstable again via taxi, delivering you to Blueprint Coffee to visit connoisseur of good beans: Luke Reene. He’ll find just the coffee (or tea) for you to uplift you for a short stroll down Harbour Street to look at all of the lovely little shops. If you’re still hungry, family-run Tea and Times do the best toast. Yes, it’s just toast. But it’s the best. 

Coffee in Whitstable

Cafes in Whitstable Kent

11am >

Time to catch the train back to London, or travel on to Margate/Canterbury/Faversham 

How to spend 24hrs in these places coming soon to the Café Cat – email me if you can’t wait.

And that’s it.

For alternatives or advice, come grab me on twitter @thecafecat – helping out is what I like to do the most. 



Network Railcard:
Driftwood B&B: - minimum two nights' stay at the weekend... good thing Canterbury isn't far and just lovely to explore
The Sportsman: £50 per head, not including wine
Whitstable Cars: 

Kentish sunsets on the beach near Whitstable


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