Whitstable on the North Kent coast of the UK lies just 60 miles east of London. OK, so it's not strictly in London but it is has been dubbed "Islington-on-Sea", a reflection of its growing popularity among visitors from the capital. It also happens to be one of the prettiest areas of coast line close enough for Londoners to enjoy on a day out. This fishing port is most famous for its oyster trade, traditionally the main source of income and celebrated at the annual Oyster Festival (in July) which lasts an impressive nine days. If you're a shellfish fan, time your visit to coincide with the feast day of St James of Compostela, the patron saint of fishermen (and oysters, apparently), and you'll be treated to all the oyster-related celebrations you could hope for. The annual Whitstable Regatta, which usually takes place on the last weekend of July, has been running since 1792 and is possibly the oldest event of its kind in the world. The streets of this quaint town have acquired a number of quirky names including 'Starvation Point' (where fishermen would queue for work) and 'Squeeze Gut Alley' (a walk down it soon reveals why). The pretty town's stunning sunsets have been an inspiration for artists including Turner and you'll find plenty of picture and painting shops to browse around. Sink a sun-down pint at The Old Neptune pub (Marine Terrace, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1EJ) and you'll see why so many artists are inspired by this view. On a hot summer weekend there's nothing like a wonderfully scenic 5-mile bike ride from Whistable to Canterbury, highly recommended by locals. If you've worked up a sweat after that you'll be glad you're right next to the North Sea for a refreshing dip in the salty waters.
Further articles featuring Whitstable on LondonTown.com
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