Travel - A weekend in Whitstable {with lunch at The Sportsman}

August 25, 2016

It's Ben's Birthday today. To celebrate we're hosting a big BBQ at ours this evening, there will be lots of cake and a build your own burger bar. I never know what to buy Ben for his Birthday so this year I decided to take him to Whitstable for a night. We've always wanted to go, and on reading the Easyjet magazine that was stuffed into the back of our seat on the flight back from Venice, we read about the Sportsman Pub just down the road from Whitstable. Michelin starred food in a laid back setting. So I had a google and booked us a little fisherman's hut for the night and lunch at what is now known as the UK's number 1 restaurant! It was a lovely short break last weekend with one of the best lunches we have ever had. It's always lovely to escape for to the seaside, even just for one night. Some photos below if you'd like to see. 

We set off on Sunday morning and got to Whitstable just as the high street was opening up for the day. It's not a huge town but just big enough with old streets and independent shops. We spent a couple of hours mooching around the town before our lunch booking. There were old fashioned greengrocers, art galleries {Frank was our fav}, florists with vintage ladder displays, a retro lighting store which I was lusting over as well as gift shops with unusual finds. 

From the high street we wandered to see the harbour and along the seafront to find the beach huts. It was grey and cold to start with that morning - the remnants of the crazy August storm the day before, we huddled up in fleeces wondering where summer had disappeared to. The town was still so pretty despite the lack of sunshine and blue skies. 

There were oyster shells everywhere. The town is famous for them.

Hydrangea goals!

At 1pm it was time for lunch. We were so lucky to get a cancellation as a booking at the Sportsman. I booked back in early June, thinking there would still be plenty of time to arrange somewhere to stay and get a table. But little did I know that the Sportsman gets booked up months in advance! I emailed and asked for a booking and very very fortunately got a cancellation for lunch on the Sunday. It's since been crowned best restaurant in the whole of the UK so I would imagine getting booked in now is even harder. It's been affectionately called 'the grotty pub by the sea' and it was definitely a case of not judging a book by it's cover. Yet it serves the most incredible food! It's held a michelin star for eight years now. You won't be seated with menus to browse over, instead there's just a single blackboard with the day's choices on to choose from and order at the bar. There's also the option of the daily tasting menu. 

We were seated in a cosy corner and ordered Crab {which was unlike any other crab we've ever ever tasted} and smoked Mackerel with apple on soda bread. Wow wow wow, it was the best thing I've had in such a long time and not flavours I'd think to put together. There was a bit of a mix up in the kitchen so we got to have the roasted carrot and burrata too which was delicious. 

Even just the bread we had was amazing, all made in house as well as the butter being churned in the cellar.

We both had roast lamb for our mains, three different cuts which were melt in your mouth gorgeous. Definitely the best lamb I have ever eaten! I had mine sans potato as I'm not a fan but Ben adored the fluffy dauphinoise it came with.

The pudding was a highlight {such a sweet tooth as always} and we both had plum souffles with plum ripple ice cream. So cloud like and delicious. I could eat it all again and again. 

After lunch, with full tummies, we drove back to Whitstable to pick up our keys for the fisherman's hut. There are six or seven converted huts right on the beach, they're over a hundred and fifty years old. It's owned by the Continental Hotel so we checked in and went to find our hut. The sun had come out by this point too yay!

We rented Hut 7 for the night, I think the only one without a sea view. But literally a twenty second stroll to the pebbled beach so we didn't miss out on too much. It was dinky with a tiny staircase and a ceiling so low Ben had to duck his head downstairs but very sweet and perfect for one night. It had a little kitchen and sofa downstairs that we didn't need to use but always handy to have. I loved the nautical feel with the whitewashed panelled walls and deck chairs hanging up.

The boats were literally outside our front door. I always love that you know you're by the sea with the sound of seagulls and boat masts jangling in the wind. 

It was a windy day when we visited so the sea was extra choppy! 

With the sun shining we headed to the beach that afternoon and walked along the coast. Some of the properties right on the beach were gorgeous and there was a buzz in the air on that sunny Sunday with boats whipping around on the sea and people sitting outside pubs and oyster shacks enjoying the weather.

So windswept!

Later on, for dinner we headed to the famous Lobster shack and sat overlooking the sea before an evening walk along the beach as the tide went further and further out. We'd hoped to see a sunset but the clouds rolled in, boo! We walked back the long way through the town as it got dark and then snuggled up in our hut for the night. 

The next morning we woke up to blue skies and sunshine flooding in. Breakfast was included at the Hotel Continentale {a nice bonus, I didn't realise when I booked it!} so we walked along in search of eggs and pancakes before deciding how to spend the rest of our day. 

In the end the weather wasn't brilliant so we decided to drive along to see Broadstairs beach and Botany Bay and a quick visit into Margate aka Shoreditch on Sea before heading back home. When I told my parents that we'd been to Margate they both instantly said 'Margate, why would you want to go there?!'. I think it's had a bad reputation in the past with half the town pretty much boarded up. But the other half is definitely on the up and the Hipsters are moving in. It's got the Turner contemporary gallery, a big sandy beach, Dreamland which looks amazing and the old town with very on trend art galleries and vintage/retro shops. There's a pizza place called GB pizza which has rave reviews would have loved to have tried if we'd have had more time. The properties there are gorgeous pretty old Victorians and there's a high speed rail link to London. Surely over the next few years it will be jam packed?? 

Oh and how could I forget this doortrait. I mean heart eye emoji!!! The best. 

It was only a small taster of Kent and if we'd have had longer {and better weather} then Faversham and Canterbury would have been nice to visit. We've loved Rye {a bit further round} in the past {remember this post?}. It's definitely not as postcard perfect as parts of Devon, Cornwall or Norfolk but has charm nonetheless {takes a fraction of the time to drive to} and gave us a lovely mini break.

So Happy Birthday Ben. I love adventures and spending my days with you. 

R <3 xx 

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  1. Looks like a great birthday!

  2. I love this post!! I live in Broadstairs and don't often venture to Whitstable so after reading this post I feel like I'm missing out! The Sportsman sounds great, the food sounds incredible and I'm now dropping hints to my boyfriend to get a table booked for my birthday in February!!


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