Whitstable Harbour

Watch fishing boats sail in with their catches and savor oysters and other fruits of the sea at this busy working harbor.

Whitstable Harbour is a hub of activity, with the constant coming and going of visitors, locals and fishermen. Visit the fish market, browse shops housed in fisherman’s huts and head out to sea on a cruise.

The harbor was constructed in 1831, just a year after the opening of the Canterbury to Whitstable railway. From the outset, it was a bustling waterfront area with fishermen sending their catches from here to far-flung corners of the U.K. by rail. Today, it is still fully operational.

Stroll down the length of the harbor pausing to read the information boards, which reveal more about its history. Watch fishermen at work as they depart and then come back to port with their fresh hauls.

Look around the beach huts where local artists and craft producers sell their pieces and souvenir shops offer seaside knick-knacks. Visit the fish market and try one of the native oysters for which Whitstable is so well known. During the weekends and holidays, other food stalls serve snacks and drinks.

If all the buzz and activity of the harbor has you hankering to get out to sea, sign up for a windsurfing or kitesurfing experience. For something more relaxing, enjoy a cruise around the Thames Estuary on Greta, a Thames sailing barge that first launched in 1892. This historic vessel was one of hundreds of private boats to sail to Dunkirk, France during World War II to rescue trapped Allied soldiers.

While the lively harbor generally has a feel-good atmosphere, the ambiance is especially celebratory during important public fiestas, such as the Whitstable Oyster Festival. This is typically held during July and August. Then there is the Whitstable Biennale, a visual arts and performance festival that takes place every 2 years in June.

Whitstable Harbor is open daily, however, some shops and food stalls only open on weekends and during high season. Walk here from town or from the train station, which is less than 15 minutes away on foot. Car parking, for a fee, is also within easy reach.

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