Think fresh salty sea air. Gorgeous rustic fisherman’s cottages. Oysters. And, a vast expanse of shingle beach sloping towards the sea. This is Whitstable. At just over an hour’s drive from London (for us), this is our go to beach in Kent. We love it, especially on a sunny and warm day, when the place buzzes with energy and people. We’ve been many times before, as a couple, with a baby, and now with a toddler, and have done things a little differently each time. If you’re thinking about taking a toddler to Whitstable here are my top tips.
Top tips for taking a toddler to Whitstable
- The beach is stony and pebbly, and slopes fairly steeply towards the sea at high tea. But that’s ok. Our little one loved playing with the stones, bashing them together and throwing them. Take a light weight buggy, so you can easily carry it down the beach. It’s best to set up against a breaker so you’re out of the wind, and have a little bit of shade. For next time we will also take some beach shoes for our daughter, so that she can run around on the beach without hurting her feet.
- On the harbour wall, running out to sea at the far end of the beach, there are children catching crabs in their buckets. This is a nice activity to do with your toddler or child showing them what a crab looks like, and the basics of fishing too. Although I’m pretty sure that our daughter would be scared if she saw a crab.
- When it’s nap time you can take a stroll along the coastal path, or the Saxon Shore way. The path is flat and runs along the entire length of the beach, and it goes on for miles beyond that. It’s perfect to see the sights and sounds of Whitstable, including the beautiful beach huts and fishing boats.
- There are many fish restaurants on the beach, and many provide takeaway service so you can take your fish and chips, and drink back to the beach. On a sunny day these get really busy with fairly long queues, so my top tip would be try and eat a little earlier beating the lunchtime rush. Next time we will try The Forge, so that we can enjoy chips, and a beer in a plastic pint glass on the beach. Perfect.
- This time we opted for a toddler friendly meal and some much needed time out of the sun, so we went to Prezzo. There are a couple of chain restaurants in Whitstable, which does make it a little easier if you have a young child who has a love for pasta.
- For a toddler there is always something to look at when walking around Whitstable, providing constant entertainment. There are boats, birds, fish, airplanes, the sea, people, and dogs. The list is endless, and our daughter loved pointing at everything.
- If you have an ice cream loving child, like we do. There is an abundance of ice cream vans all serving up the classics, and fresh ice cream too. Our favourite at the moment is a traditional 99 with a flake, and I think I gave most of this away to our daughter.
On to some practicalities…
If you’re wondering about parking, we always park in the large car park on the other side of town. It’s about a five minute walk to the beach, takes cash and card payment, and has toilets. My other tip would be to make sure you have cash on you for food and drink, as we were caught out in one place we tried to get into.
So those are my top tips for taking a toddler to Whitstable, and enjoying a day out. If you’re reading this and thinking about going, then go it’s great.