Parking in Whitstable
There are quite a few small car parks dotted around Whitstable. These are mostly tucked away behind the buildings and shops, and from what I observed are clearly signposted, although we had found a useful map in a guidebook at our rented cottage in Seasalter (scanned and included here as photo 3). We drove into the town on the Saturday morning and were lucky enough to grab the last space in the car park in Shaftesbury Road to the south of the Playhouse Theatre, the first one we came to, having decided (I think wisely) that it would be better not to try to get too close to the sea before looking for spaces. On the Monday we risked going a little further in and found it easy to get parked in the next one, on Middle Wall. Both of these are Pay & Display car parks, as are all of them I believe, and we thought prices were reasonable at 90p an hour with a minimum of 40p. You can use a debit or credit card so no need to worry about having the right change, which is helpful.
On the Sunday we just parked in one of the residential streets south of the Tankerton Slopes area, off Northwood Road. There were no restrictions and plenty of room. But I doubt this would be the case during the summer months (we were here on a dull day in mid March) and the other car parks would also be a lot busier then too. The council website has some useful information about additional parking available on summer weekends - https://www.canterbury.gov.uk/parking-travel-roads/parking/where-to-park/where-to-park-in-whitstable/.
Getting to Whitstable
We drove to Whitstable and took a roundabout route as we spent the previous night elsewhere in Kent in order to visit Eagle Heights Wildlife Park near the pretty village of Eynsford. But whether driving directly from London or from elsewhere in the country, you will probably approach along the busy M2 and then the A299 or Thanet Way. It is clearly signposted and we found parking in town not to be a problem as long as you’re happy to settle for one of the car parks five or ten minutes back from the sea. Of course this was in March – I imagine August would be another matter!
If you prefer to come by train (which we may well do next time as I expect we’ll come direct) then it’s even easier. Trains leave from several London stations – Victoria, St Pancras and a few from Cannon Street. Journey time is usually between 1 hour 10 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes. The station is towards the southern edge of town and must be at least 10 minutes’ walk from the old centre and the sea where most accommodation is to be found so if you’re carrying heavy bags you may want to budget for a taxi – a minicab firm is based there so you shouldn’t have any problems getting one.
Buses and trains (updated)
I would to clarify the comments made by leics about buses around Whitstable. She mentions routes 4 and 6,
These are circular routes starting and finishing at Canterbury: route 4 travels clockwise, Whitstable before Herne Bay, and the 6 is anti-clockwise, Herne Bay before Whitstable.
There are also some local variations: there are the 4, 4a and 4X, as well as the 6, 6A and 6X: all of these take slightly different routes when they reach the outskirts of (mainly) Herne Bay.
Lastly there's the 5 as well, from Seasalter (to the NW of Whitstable), which travels through Whitstable direct to Canterbury, via Chestfield, and ignoring herne Bay altogether. (This is the route I use, and, as it's only an hourly service, I usually go home on the 4 if I have to wait too long - the 4 and 6 are every 10 mins or so)
Buses and trains.
There are regular buses linking Whitstable with Canterbury, Herne Bay and other nearby settlements.
Buses from Canterbury are particularly good, with several different routes (I used the 4A and the 6) running roughly every 15-20 minutes throughout the day (weekdays). Journey time is roughly 35 minutes. Some are double-decker buses, which give excellent views of the countryside if you sit upstairs.
You can find bus timetables and information on the link below.
Whitstable also has a railway station. But buses are generally cheaper than trains and, if you are travelling from Canterbury, they are also faster because Canterbury>Whitstable involves a change of train at Faversham. You can find train times, details and fares on www.nationalexpress.com
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Good trian connection to London.
If you don't drive (like me) your best bet to get to Whitstable is by train. there is a good (half-hourly) service weekdays and journey time is around 90 minutes.
The Station is a little bit away from the main part of town, but here's a tip. if you come out of the Station door, turn hard right and then follow the cycle track signs. It takes you along some footpaths and is quicker than following the main roads.
The website will help you plan your journey.
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