14th November 2023


Summer on the beach can’t be beat – but an autumn or winter break on the wind-swept Kentish coast is something pretty special.

The iconic seaside town of Whitstable and Tankerton-on-sea is famous for its incredible sea views, coastal walks, bohemian vibes and independent shops & cafes, making it a great destination all year round.

If you’re thinking of heading to Canterbury’s coast outside of the busy summer season, we’ve got some tips on how to have the perfect cosy break by the sea.

Where To Stay

Perched in a perfect position overlooking the sea and town, The Crescent Turner has a wonderful lounge with a blazing log fire and the sunset views across the estuary are a memory to treasure. Relax in their restaurant with a warming afternoon tea in winter, and soak up the sea views from your bedroom.

If you want to be in the heart of the town, The Duke of Cumberland has recently undergone major refurbishment by Shepherd Neame to offer beautiful, quirky rooms above its excellent pub and dining room. It is only a few yards from the beaches, with some rooms offering sunset views. And a perfectly pulled pint is guaranteed downstairs.

You can shop till you drop in Whitstable & Tankerton with literally hundreds of independent shops to choose from as well as some great chains too. You will not be short of inspiration, and the owners are ready and waiting to help. Do all of your Christmas shopping with unique gifts, or just treat yourself!

Where To Shop & Eat

For gifts The Bears Trading Company will not only immerse you in Christmas but you can also enjoy homemade cakes and warm scones in front of their wood burners. Just along the road at Quite Contrary you will definitely find that unique gift and support local makers while you’re there.

South Quay Shed is home to various food outlets and independent retailers including the wonderful Wit of Whitstable where you can shop, eat and drink whilst enjoying the harbour views from the warm upper floor seating area.

Harbour Street is a magical sight throughout the year but especially at Christmas, with twinkling shops providing everything you need for the season, such as sustainable children’s gifts from Buttercup Whitstable, a great array of clothing stores for all ages, book shops, shoes, homeware and all things food for Kentish hampers from Whitstable Produce and The Cheese Box

Allow yourself time to walk from the bottom of Harbour Street and right up to 21 Canterbury Road to Tales On Moon Lane where you’ll find a fabulous award winning children’s book shop. Carrying on through the High Street and onto Oxford Street to shop for great kitchen, homeware and gifts at Copperfields

Whenever you need a break there will be a café, restaurant or pub to offer you somewhere to rest and enjoy wonderful food and local beers, wines and of course - Whitstable’s own gin

So many of the bars, pubs and restaurants offer live music so be sure to take a look at what’s on, here are some of the most popular venues: Around The Clock, Thirty-Nine, The Old Neptune, The Umbrella Centre, Quayside, The Ship Centurion and The Rock Lodge which is a wonderful ski lodge themed restaurant and bar.

There are foodie markets in The Umbrella Centre and artisan markets in Tankerton on the last Sunday of the month plus Christmas markets to put in your diary. Check out The Talk of Tankerton for all the dates and news.

Festive Lights & Walks

Christmas lights of course will wind throughout the town with the Tankerton switch on Friday 24th November and the Whitstable Lantern parade on Saturday 25th November. The little jewel overlooking the town, Whitstable Castle Whitstable Castle will be lit throughout December with Christmas fairs and various events taking place at this beautiful venue, so visit the website and make sure you visit during your stay.

If you are not a shopper, then a brisk walk along the seafront from Whitstable to the Tankerton Slopes will blow away the cobwebs and set you up for a warming lunch in front of a roaring fire. Why not try the The Smack Whitstable or The Pearson Arms for cosy food by the sea?

Whitstable is easy to get to by bus or train if you want to leave the car at home. There are also plenty of parking options but try to travel sustainably where you can to avoid congestion or queuing for parking spaces!

Wrap up warm and embrace winter in Whitstable.