The Crab and Winkle Way, Whitstable, Kent
Seafood lovers will love cycling along this historic old railway line, home to the first regular steam passenger railway in the world. It’s affectionately known as the Crab and Winkle way.
The perfect cycle ride for a summer’s day. It will take you just under an hour to cycle to Whitstable from Canterbury where you can soak up the convivial atmosphere and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at one of the many seafood bars, restaurants and pubs.
- Eat brunch at The Goods Shed
- Spot local wildlife
- Enjoy a seafood lunch in Whitstable
- Good for families
Discover Britain’s Railway Heritage
Built in 1830 and linking Canterbury with the seaside resort of Whitstable, the Crab and Winkle line was the third railway line ever to be built and the first to take passengers regularly. In 1834, it issued season tickets to take people to the beach at Whitstable over the summer season. All the famous engineers of the Industrial Revolution were connected to the line. George Stephenson and his son Robert built the Invicta, the locomotive which pulled passengers to Whitstable. Thomas Telford built the harbour where the railway ends and Isambard Kingdom Brunel inspected the route’s railway tunnel. The line closed in 1952 but it’s now a popular cycle route and walk.
Cycling For Seafood Lovers
The route is just over 7 miles long and it’s suitable for all abilities. On the way to Whitstable the path passes through the Blean, an RSPB Nature Reserve with its 13th century Church of St Cosmus and St Damian. The journey also takes you through the conifer-dominated woodland of Clowes Wood, one of the best places in the country to hear the remarkable song of the nightjar. There are some uphill stretches with a 61m (200ft) climb out of Canterbury and an undulating middle section but you’ll enjoy views over Whitstable when you reach the top.
Savour the Fishy Delights of Whitstable
Once in Whitstable, you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy a delicious seafood lunch. There are seafood bars around the harbour where you can buy tubs of cockles and mussels or fish and chips. You’ll find decked champagne bars serving oysters and cosy pubs and restaurants such as The Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company and the famous Wheelers Oyster Bar with its bright pink frontage. Whitstable has some good food shops too including the Brogdale Butchers, a cheese shop and a small deli and grocers specialising in Kent produce.
Taste Delicious Kent Produce at The Goods Shed
If you’re cycling the route in the opposite direction, go for lunch at The Goods Shed. It pays homage to delicious Kent produce which is available to buy at the various stalls. Canterbury is a World Heritage Site, so there’s plenty to see and do from visiting the cathedral, to exploring the city’s lanes and historic buildings.
- You can hire bikes from Whitstable Cycle Hire (it’s advisable to book)
- If you want to eat at Wheelers Oyster Bar you will need to plan well in advance and book
- Spend a relaxing hour or two crabbing on the beach
A great doggy day out for me. Pop me in your cycling basket and let’s go!
How to Find The Crab and Winkle Way
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.