About four years ago there was a trip to Edinburgh which in its own way led to a trip to Rochester, the start of something. It seemed worth celebrating and as Heather’s mum had bought me vouchers for a lovely lunch for Christmas it seemed a good opportunity to use them. So it was we headed off down to the seaside town of Whitstable.
The train down actually went past the mentioned Rochester, giving a glimpse of the castle, before wending its way through south-eastern countryside and along the sea to Whitstable. There’s not actually much to see on exiting the station but we soon found our way down to the shoreline. There was a small and disappointing market in a car park and then what looked like it would be a much better market by the harbour were the little huts forming it actually open.
We had a walk around the harbour anyway, admiring the obviously working boats, and trying to ignore the really quite gusty wind (it seems the wind turbines visible just off shore are well placed). Having found not much happening around the harbour this early in the year we decided to explore some more. There was a quick pit stop in the public toilets, notable for having two ladies (and a gents) before heading up away from the main town. I had said I was only going as far as the ornate entrance to the “castle” we could see ahead of us but Heather tricked me by leading me around the beach. That did offer good views along the coastline and across the waters. There were some colourful beach huts facing the sea too. The climb back up the hill away from the sea was hard work though!
Atop the hill we found a cannon, ready it seemed to fire upon those turbines. Then we wandered in the gardens of Whitstable Castle; sadly not a proper castle but an eighteenth century tower with many later additions. It looked pretty in the sunshine though. From there we crossed the road to an old haunt of Heather’s, the tea gardens overlooking the sea. Sadly we were too early in the year for those to be open too, but it seemed a very tranquil spot to rest a while.
We moved on, passing the harbour again and on into town. There we found a network of little alleys and quirky shops (Heather got a lighthouse). We were hungry, so it was a good job it was time for lunch, at the Pearson’s Arms. It’s basically a cosy pub with a restaurant area up (too many!) stairs. The food was good and there was a nice view of the sea outside. Filled we continued a tour around Whitstable, finding the little seating area opposite the theatre had been yarn bombed! There was time to call in the Wetherspoons (isn’t there always one), a converted cinema with very art deco feel. We managed to sit there long enough to miss one train before finally heading home on the next. A very fine anniversary celebration.