Whitstable Old Neptune

The Old Neptune pub, Whitstable

Why? Because it’s the finest place on the North Kent coast. Although, I will admit it’s the only place I’ve ever been to on the North Kent coast.

When I set out with the intention of sketching in Broadstairs, somewhere on the M2 I fell into a deep trance. I heard a ghostly rattle of oyster shells, the distant creek of beach hut doors, then a faint aroma of dead fish, and knew… Broadstairs would have to wait.

Whitstable oysters

Mounds of empty Oyster shells rise out of the mist. Known as cultch, they are put back in the estuary, providing an ideal surface for the baby oysters to attach themselves to, helping to form new oyster reefs.

I last visited Whitstable about 10 years ago, arriving in a sleepy little fishing town and waking up to the mania of the Whitstable Oyster festival. The town has lots of hidden nooks and crannies, and some of the best bits are easy to miss, so use a map.

The sea looked so inviting on that trip, so I bought a hideous yellow speedo swimming costume from a bargain bin, only to find that the sea was ankle deep, even half a mile out.

Whitstable beach

Whitstable. Bring your own swimwear.

2015-04-13 Whitstable acrylic

The cement factory. Something completely different. With beach huts.

To learn more about Whitstable, read Sarah Waters’ novel ‘Tipping the Velvet,’ there’s only a brief mention, but you may learn something new.

The Oyster festival is on between 25th and 31st July 2015.

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