Now we have slightly older children we love to explore. We always jump in the car at the weekend and find places close to home, but there is another way and one the girls really enjoy – travelling by train.
It’s something we don’t do enough and whenever we do go on the train the girls have the best time and we think ‘we should do this more often’.
Recently Southeastern Railway asked us to take a trip with them and we were so excited to travel to Whitstable, somewhere I’ve never been before. Southeastern are running a Summer offer of Off-Peak day return tickets departing London to 12 destinations in Kent including Whitstable, Broadstairs, Dover and Margate and kids (5-15) can travel for as little as a £1!
We left for our trip early on a Friday morning and decided to catch the train from London Victoria to Whitstable. There are also high-speed trains that go from St Pancras International but we decided Victoria was easy for us from Surrey and it didn’t take too much longer.
Once we were on the train the girls loved getting the backpacks out on the table we had and spent a few minutes looking out of the window at the countryside whizzing past.
The girls were so much happier than they would have been in the car, they were able to move around, spread their colouring out on the table and watch the world (and other trains) go by. We were able to enjoy our coffees and spend some uninterrupted time with them as we all got excited about a day by the sea.
We arrived in Whitstable after what was a really easy journey, it took just over one and a half hours from London Victoria and seemed to fly by.
There are so many things to see in Whitstable. I did a little research before we went and found a few places I thought we’d like, the rest we stumbled upon – I love a mixture of planning and exploring. With kids having some plans is helpful!
I knew we would have a little walk from the station but at only 10 minutes, with good signposting, it was really easy. I had planned a trip into the town first to see some of the sights so we made our way there.
We arrived in the town and loved it immediately! Every shop is gorgeous, quaint and individual. The girls found lots of places they thought were amazing especially Sundae Sundae – a cute little seaside store with adorable mini chairs outside which our girls could have sat on all day!
I found Wheelers Oyster Bar which was a beautiful pink building with a queue of people waiting for oysters, Amelie found a gift shop and put her orders in for a fishing rod and Nick spotted lots of local pubs.
After exploring the town we decided we needed lunch after the journey so we headed towards the harbour and to a restaurant I had read about online, The Lobster Shack. It’s situated about a 10-minute walk from the town and close to the harbour.
We arrived just before midday to a queue outside but quickly got inside and found a table. It’s a pick a table, order at the bar venue and even though there were long queues (it was popular) we didn’t wait long for our delicious food to arrive.
Being on the beach there are amazing uninterrupted views and access to the beach so while we waited for food the girls could play on the beach.
When the food arrived we were all excited. We thought it might be good watching everything come out of the kitchen and we weren’t disappointed. The girl’s kids meals of chicken and chips were demolished and Nick and I really enjoyed our dishes. I went for the lobster roll and Nick had cod and chips, both looked and tasted amazing.
After a lovely lunch washed down with a glass of bubbles (me) and a beer (Nick) we went to play on the beach. The girls loved running up and down the beach and the stone beach wasn’t a problem at all. Sandcastles weren’t missed as the girls got stuck into throwing stones, collecting shells and jumping!
After some time on the beach, we went for a walk along one of the promenades passing brightly coloured beach huts on the way. Evie was exhausted so we spent a few minutes enjoying the views on the walk as she fell asleep.
Once she was asleep we decided to walk back to the harbour to look at the stalls and the boats. Amelie loves watching the boats and we even saw one moving mud and sand much to her excitement!
We treated ourselves to a coffee from one of the huts and marvelled at the seafood and oysters being served at huts and restaurants. It’s a wonderful place to spend an hour or two and have lunch, the views are gorgeous.
After our trip to the harbour we made our way back to the beach area near The Lobster Shack to spend the rest of our afternoon on the beach. Evie had a really long sleep and once she was awake we decided to find ice creams for the girl’s.
We found an independent ice cream van near to some pretty pastel beach huts and ordered the girl’s a 99 cone.
We decided to head closer to the beach huts so the girls could sit down and eat their ice creams. We noticed lots of families on the beach enjoying the sunny weather and loved watching the world go by as the girls enjoyed their ice creams!
Once ice creams were eaten we enjoyed some more time on the beach chasing the waves and running up and down.
It was getting close to 5pm so we checked the train times and decided as we were having such a good time we would stay for dinner.
We hadn’t planned our dinner location so decided to head back into the town which was closer to the station to see what we could find. We stumbled upon Sale & Pepe, an independent Italian on the high street where you could bring your own bottles and with what we thought looked like fantastic pizza and pasta with a selection for children.
All the local shop owners were going in for takeaway pizza so we decided to follow the locals for an early dinner! Chatting to the staff it was fully booked in the evening so was definitely popular!
We decided on a selection of pizza and pasta, I really enjoyed my vegetarian pizza and Nick thought his ham and mushroom pizza was great! The kid’s portions were generous and the girls, hungry from the beach got stuck into their dinner.
After a lovely meal, it was time to head home. We found our route to the train station and once again really enjoyed our train trip back to London. The girls watched their tablets for some of the journey as they were so tired and we spoke to some people who recommended other Kent seaside towns for our next trip…
Thanks to Southeastern Railway for a wonderful day out, we will be back soon. Remember if you’re looking to explore over the Summer months then Southeastern Railway have a great offer to 12 destinations from London stations. From Whitstable to Dover you could be finding hidden gems as we did with your family at amazing prices! To find out more click here.