Still, our daytrip to the Kent coastal town of Whitstable is worthy of a few words and images. If the weather is dreary where you are, perhaps the colorful beach cottages will brighten your day for a moment. I know they did for me.
If you have been following the weather in the UK, then you would know that December was remarkable. It was the warmest and wettest December on record. Heavy rain fell in the northern regions, where massive floods caused havoc for many unfortunate folks in places like Cumbria and Scotland. As for the lower corners of the country, it wasn’t so wet, just warm…and that was very odd. The birds would be up singing loudly every morning and daffodils and cherry blossoms bloomed. As I walked the girls to school, it felt like March or April; I hardly needed a coat. As I walked them home at 3:45, the early setting sun would snap me back into reality and remind me that it was indeed the beginning of winter.
The day we visited Whitstable was one of those warm days. It was only a few days before Christmas and it was predicted to be 15 degrees Celsius (almost 60 Fahrenheit), but since we were on the coast, it was quite windy and felt a bit cooler than that.
It took a little more than an hour and a half to drive there from southwest London. We drove into the town with little idea of its configuration or where to park, so we took the main road along twisting streets and followed signs to “the castle”. (When in doubt, head for the castle we always say!) This was a castle with a teahouse and a playground…our favorite kind.
Since I have an interest in photography, I do quite a bit of travel planning on Pinterest. I like to get inspired by pretty pictures of the of places I’m about to visit. It helps me know where to go for the good shots and of course those lists of top-10-things-to-do can be very helpful. However, directions and parking tend to escape me, so we wing it a lot. Turns out, that by parking at the castle we had inadvertently arrived at a place on my list – Tankerton Slopes, where colorful and rustic little beach huts are lined up along the seafront.
I had read that the teahouse inside the castle was excellent, so after a walk on the rocky beach, we went there for a snack and ordered a lovely high tea to share.
After tea, we walked through the quaint little town and peeked inside all the shops, including some beautiful toy shops that tempted two little girls very much. We had to keep reminding them that Santa was coming.
Although our tea had filled us up, we couldn’t leave Whitstable without trying their famous oysters. I heard that Wheelers was the place to go. We picked up half a dozen and headed back for the beach, where Dahlia tried her first oyster. The first time I tried an oyster I think I was in my 20s, so I was very proud of her for giving it a go, despite its unpleasant appearance. (And she liked it!)
It was dark and getting late, but before heading back home we stopped in Canterbury to check out their Christmas market and the magnificent cathedral. (I am sparing you the Christmas market pictures…but you can imagine little wooden shops lined up in rows, with lots of twinkly lights streamed overhead).
I think Canterbury deserves another visit in the daylight, but it was somewhat enchanting to stroll through the streets at night and see the town and cathedral lit up.
There are more woolly hats and mittens in our life at the moment, as the temperature has turned properly cold, and we’re waking up to frosty mornings. Personally, I think that’s how winter should be, so that we can fully appreciate spring when it does finally arrive.