Looking to experience England away from the crowds? Visit the Whitstable Oyster Festival in a charming town by the sea.

Escape the English coast at the Whitstable Oyster Festival
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In a world that seems far removed from the bustling streets of London, Whitstable is an idyllic sea-side town in the county of Kent. Every summer, people in the area flock to Whitstable for the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival. The festival represents a modern interpretation of ceremonies from as far back as the 1200's in which local fisherman would annually celebrate the year's catch and their own survival. This is recreated every year in "The Landing of the Oysters", a highlight of the festival where oysters are brought out from the sea and blessed by Whitstable's Town Mayor. This is followed by a huge parade through the town, and the blessed oysters are handed out to local restaurants and inns along the route.

In the days that follow, crowds enjoy the sunshine and hundreds of food and drink stalls around the harbour. It is no surprise that the local seafood is the highlight, with ample opportunities to try Whitstables own famous oysters. There are also terrific representations of Kentish cuisine, with local restaurants offering visitor's a taste in true pop-up shop fashion. Don't miss the beer stalls where you can sample Kentish ales and lagers made from world famous Kentish hops harvested every September. 

For a truly off-the-beaten path English holiday, the Whitstable Oyster Festival is a rare gem. Whitstable is full of charming bed and breakfasts if you'd like to extend your stay. The Whitstable Oyster Festival will run from July 27-August 2, 2013.

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