Whitstable Oyster Festival, Whitstable, Kent, (July)
The seaside town of Whitstable really comes alive each summer for its annual Oyster Festival in July. It’s a key date for foodies in Britain who come to enjoy the town’s party atmosphere all in homage to the world famous Whitstable oyster.
A fabulous fun-filled festival not just for foodies but for all the family. You’ll enjoy a great day out at this quirky and characterful seaside resort where the focus is on good old-fashioned entertainment and eating. Think all things oyster related but also picnics on the beach, crabbing, kite flying and brass bands. Due to its popularity, the festival has moved from Whitstable harbour to a new home on Tankerton Slopes.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Watch the festival parade
- Feast on oysters
- Take part in festivities
- Family fun day out
Discover Whitstable’s Oyster Heritage
The Whitstable Oyster Festival has been running since 1985, but the cultivation of oysters in the area began during the Roman occupation when oysters were exported to Rome. The festival can be traced back to Norman times when local fishermen would hold a thanksgiving service in the summer months.
Know Your Oysters
The British native or ‘flat’ oyster for which Whitstable is known, spawns from May to August so it can’t be eaten at the festival itself. The oysters shucked at the festival are the more common rock oyster first introduced from the Pacific specifically for farming.
Give Thanks To The Oyster
The festival kicks off with the ‘Landing of the Oysters Parade’ when the oysters are brought ashore for a formal blessing before being distributed to the town’s restaurants.
Take Part in the Festivities
As you’d expect, there’s an oyster eating competition which is very popular. Other activities include a food fair full of delicious Kent produce; an oyster food fair; the ‘Mud Tug’, a tug-o-war on the beach; a children’s tea party and live bands.
- Bring your walking shoes – you can walk everywhere in Whitstable but there are also great walks along the coast
- Walk along the Crab and Winkle Way for lunch at The Goods Shed in Canterbury
- Head to the Whitstable Oyster Company for dinner. It’s in an old warehouse right on the beach
- It can get very busy so if you don’t fancy the crowds, weekends in the autumn can be a lovely time to visit when there’s still a buzz around the harbour
Oysters should smell of the sea and nothing else – ‘if in doubt, throw it out’.
Whitstable Oyster Festival is a fabulous doggy day out for me. Do they have a dog show?