If you’re a fan of oysters then Whitstable in Kent is the place to be this coming weekend and beyond . There’ll be oysters aplenty and at affordable prices too. And if this sunshine continues where better to be than at the seaside having an orgy of oysters?

The town of Whitstable, on the North Kent coast, has been synonymous with oysters for hundreds of years (Probably longer in fact; two thousand-year-old oyster shells excavated in modern Rome have been traced back to this traditional seaside town) and the modern festival reflects a tradition that dates from Norman times.


Festival Favourites

·    Harbour Food Fair, 10am-6pm, Sat 27th, Sun 28th July, Whitstable Harbour:

A taste of Kent and the rest of the world, including Whitstable’s most famous shellfish in the best of settings. Music on the Harbour Stage from the Shanty Singers, Big Orange Head and Spy Plane and the inimitable Trouser Trumpets

·    Landing and Parade: 3-5.30pm, Sat 27th July, Long Beach and through the town:

The traditional Landing of the Oysters followed by the Town Parade, this year themed around “Fishing in the Deep Blue Sea” featuring Whitstable schoolchildren, the town Giant and guest and music from Samba Pelo Mar along with the new Native Oysters Marching Band .

·    Sea Sunday Service, 9.30-11am, Sun 28th July, St. Alphege to Whitstable Harbour: a gentle start to the day with this traditional community service and parade

·    Mud Tug, 12noon-2pm, Sun 28th July, Beach Walk/Long Beach: good dirty fun

·    Oyster Challenge, 3-5pm, Sun 28th July, Whitstable Harbour: eat six oysters and down half a pint in the fastest time; only for the brave

·    Crabbing, 4.30-5.30pm, Mon 29th July, Horsebridge/Reeves Beach: prizes to be won for the biggest, smallest, ugliest, prettiest and angriest crabs (register from 4pm)

·    Blessing of the Waters, 6.45pm, Thur 1st August, Sea Wall/Reeves Beach: traditional festival seashore service

·    Grotters and Fireworks Finale, 3-5pm and 9.45pm, Fri 2nd August, Horsebridge to The Old Neptune beach: Whitstable’s own brand of oystershell castles illuminated at dusk to accompany spectacular fireworks at sea

New in 2013

·    Christine Walkden Gardens Talk, 4.30pm, Tue 30th July, Whitstable Castle: the nation’s favourite horticulturalist

·    Peter Cushing outdoor film screening, 9pm, Wed 31st July, Tankerton Slopes: commemorating Whitstable’s most famous actor in his 100th anniversary year with a Dracula horrorfest special

·    Ale and Oysters Tasting, 8pm, Thur 1st August, The New Inn: Whitstable’s finest ingredients brought together

·    Images from the Shell Advertising Art Collection, all week, Whitstable Museum & Gallery: the artists of the 1920s in Shell’s famous campaigns

For Children

·    Festival Workshops, 10-11.30am, weekdays, Yacht Club: beachside creative activities for 7-10 year olds with exciting new theatre company WrongSemble. Puppetry, kite-making, seaside games, pirates and carnival themes explored throughout the week

·    The Community Chef @ The Harbour, 12noon-1pm, weekdays, Whitstable Harbour: foodie activities for families

·    Beach Hut Tales, 12noon-2pm, weekdays, West Beach: storytelling with Emily Guille-Marrett and Cassie Fuller Stafford

Special Events:

·    Punch & Judy, 2.30 & 3.30pm, Mon 29th July, Whitstable Umbrella Centre: with festival favourite Professor Des Turner

·    Crabbing, 4.30-5.30pm, Mon 29th July, Horsebridge/Reeves Beach: prizes to be won for the biggest, smallest, ugliest, prettiest and angriest crabs (register from 4pm)

·    Let’s Go Fly a Kite, 2-3.30pm, Tue 30th July, on Tankerton Slopes

·    Oystercatchers Treasure Hunt, 2-3.30pm, Weds 31st July, Whitstable Castle: storm the Castle and find the pirates’ loot

·    Whitstabubble Beach Party, 2-3.30pm, Thurs 1st August, Tankerton Slopes: giant bubbles and party fun

·   Grotters! 3-5pm, Fri 2nd August, Reeves Beach: oystershell castles

Workshops and taking part:

·    Pearl Dive, 12noon-2pm, Sat 27th July, Whitstable Swimming Pool: fun diving competition for children

·    Seaside tile-making, 10am-1pm, Mon 29th July, Horsebridge Arts & Community Centre

·   Pavement artists, 1-2.30pm, Mon 29th July, outside Whitstable Library: creative chalking with artist Stephen Hal

·    Driftwood jewellery making, 10am-1pm, Tues 30th July, Horsebridge Arts & Community Centre

·    Seaside collage workshop, 10am-1pm, Weds 31st July, Horsebridge Arts & Community Centre

·    Paul Bommer screenprinting workshops, all day, Weds 31st July, The Print Block

·    Storytelling with Scandalmongers, 11am, Thurs 1st August, Whitstable Library

·    Arts & Craft at the Museum: Stephen Hall pinch pot workshop, 11am-1pm, Thurs 1st August, Whitstable Museum & Gallery Events Room


Rail: Whitstable is easily accessible by rail with regular trains from London Victoria (1hr 30mins) and from Thanet.  There are daily promotions on South Eastern Railways so please check the website for more information: www.southeasternrailway.co.uk.

Whitstable railway station is a short ten-minute walk from the town centre. 

Bus: Whitstable has a regular bus service to and from Canterbury and Herne Bay.