From Kentish Town to Kent

Sunday and with the weather actually living up to its namesake, we spontaneously decided to go to Whitstable for a day at the seaside. How very English!

We set off and discovered that spontaneity was not an option as the recent storms and rain had affected the train lines and there was a replacement bus service running.

Our journey went… Chalk Farm to Euston (tube). Euston to Victoria (tube). Victoria to Rochester (train) Rochester to Rainham (bus) Rainham to Whitstable (train). And then walk. It took us two hours to get to Whitstable. Just in time for lunch.

Impressions of Kent..

It was a glorious day, sunny but cold and so we headed off to have lunch at the Crab and Winkle restaurant overlooking the dock.

View of the dock

We started with crayfish tails, anchovies, a deep fried oyster and tempura squid before progressing to a shared plate of traditional beer battered cod and chips. 

Replete, we set off to walk along the front (along with hundreds of other people who had the same idea) and blow away the cobwebs. It was the first sunny day of the year and half term and so dogs and their owners, bored small children in strollers and old people all meandered their way along the promenade.

The Oyster Shack… busy on a sunny Sunday
View to South End
Shadows – such a novelty!

Whitstable has a charm which has managed to resist the temptations of amusement arcades and hamburger joints prevalent in other English seaside towns. There is a sense of Cape Cod with the Victorian weatherboard houses facing the mingling Thames Estuary and North Sea and the whimsy of a bygone era.

Weatherboard beach huts (£75 a night)
Meandering past the pub
From the pebble beach we strolled inland and wandered along the rustic high street. Traditional oyster bars, cafes, restaurants and gift shops lined the road and we noticed the absence of the chain stores. No Pret a Manger, no Starbucks, no McDonalds, only a Costa Coffee had somehow managed to sneak past the regulations. The shops were rather quaint and very touristy but somehow they worked.
Traditional oyster bar
Fish supper (or tea up North)

The shadows were starting to lengthen (a novelty indeed) and the day was starting to cool. We set off back to the station and jumped on a train to Faversham… and a train to Rainham, a bus to Strood and a high speed train to St Pancras. From there it was a tube to Camden and a final tube to Chalk Farm. Three hours later we were home.

Five trains, four tubes, two buses and five hours on public transport. 

Oysters, oysters, everywhere
Woman and dog in matching leopard
There’s nothing like a bit of spontaneity!

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