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Whitstable

Whitstable is a small town on the north coast of Kent and has about 31,000 inhabitants. The town itself sprawls out along the coast for some 11km and lies 10km away from Canterbury.  Whitstable is 510km away from Borken. The town is heavily influenced by its surroundings, which are rural and varied. Little hedges and hills help to enrich the landscape. Many hops fields have unfortunately disappeared. On some of those that remain, you may find an old "Oast House", which are so typical for this part of the world. The "Oast Houses" were used to dry out the hops harvest. Although many examples have now been converted to family houses, they still give off a special rural charm.

As well as hops, apples and other fruit, there are also many breweries in the area. Some can be found the vicinity of Faversham. In Whitstable there are a great many "Pubs". This is not so much due to the proximity of the hops fields and breweries, but rather to the fact, that Whitstable was a seaport and of course, like all harbour towns, offered a home away from home for sailors.

In the town itself, you will find many interesting, old buildings. The most interesting examples of which can be found in Harbour Street, a narrow street with colourful and charming houses. Originally Harbour Street was the high street and main business area. Today however, most of the shops have moved to the rather long High Street, Oxford Street and Canterbury Road.

Whitstable has an active sports centre with open air and indoor bowls facilities. As well as the Whitstable Town football team, there is also a golf club and a cricket club in Chesfield and Whitstable. Also well loved is the Bowling Centre, located by the harbour. Youth sailing, badminton and squash can all be played at different sports clubs around the area. Basketball, judo, karate, snooker, riding, angling and table tennis are also popular pastimes.

An important industry is and always has been, oyster farming. The shallow coast is ideal for breeding oysters, a practice which has been carried out since very early times. The people of Whitstable also harvest normal shell fish of course. The catch  used to be taken to Canterbury, where there was an important fish market.

Whitstable Castle was built in the last century by a rich business man from London. Later it was renovated and used to house the Town Council. Canterbury became the county town and administrative centre in 1974. The Lord Mayor presides over council meetings that take place at the Guildhall in Canterbury.

Whitstable is also well known for its sunsets. If you look out over the sea at sun down, you will find yourself wondering at the beauty of the sea, the clouds and the sky. Artists have long since recognised this, and make use of the wonderful light in their work.

Most of the annual celebrations take place towards the end of July/ beginning of August. Oyster Week, in the last week of July, starts with the bringing in of the oysters, followed by a parade. A thorough program of events offers, amongst other things, a 'mud run' and the 'blessing of the waters'. The celebrations end with a carnival procession through the town.

Around this time the annual yacht and dinghy regatta gets under way as well as the Thames Barge Match. From time to time national and international water ski championships are also put on. 1st May is celebrated with a traditional procession and a party in the Castle Gardens.

An excursion to nearby Canterbury is definitely worth while. Canterbury Cathedral is the centre of the Church of England.