A great reason to visit Kent's seaside in case you haven't been there before. For a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine that there is the possibility of a beautiful seaside life in England. Well they are wrong, because there is such a thing!
Take my favorite seaside town for example, the town of Whitstable in Kent (county), just an hour away by train from London.
Every July it hosts the famous Whitstable Oyster Festival. Large crowds of visitors come from all around to stroll through the picturesque harbor whilst tasting all kinds of locally produced food; from oysters to whitebait and from prawns to fish and chips but it’s not only about seafood here. You can also try juicy Kentish strawberries, lots of local cheeses, organic English wines (including wonderful sparkling wines) as well as a variety of locally-brewed beers and ales. The vintage bric-a-brac and arts and crafts market are also not to be ignored.
Today’s festival is a relatively modern revival (dating back to the 1980s) of a festival from Norman times. Back then when Whitstable was already an established fishing port, fishers and dredgers held annual ceremonies of thanksgiving for their survival and harvest. Today, Whitstable symbolically recreates the ‘Landing of the Oysters’, where Whitstable Sea Scouts bring oysters ashore for a formal blessing and presentation to the Lord Mayor. The blessed oysters are then passed to inns and restaurants as part of the vibrant Oyster Parade as it travels through the town center.
I had the pleasure of attending this festival twice. A few years ago, I was overwhelmed by one of the performances, male dogs from the Newfoundland Dog Club performed a series of rescue operations in the sea just offshore.
Apparently, one dog can save up to eight people at once! Also, those dogs can work in twos and threes! It was very touching to see how much effort the dogs and their owners put into these performances. One of the reasons for my emotional attachment was that my family used to have a Newfoundland dog named Grisha for over 13 years, so now I just go nuts every time I see such a dog.
Once done with eating and drinking, you can stroll down the beach in any direction but don’t worry, you will end up in one of the local pubs eventually, trust me.:)