Saturday, 30 June 2012

Whitstable, Kent

Only just over an hour from home so before landing at our holiday destination we nip to the coast and visit Whitstable.
We make the Castle our first stop on a grey, drizzly and overcast day  

The earliest mention of this site in the history books is in 1588
when a copperas works was founded on this site below where the castle now stands. Copperas was for a time a sought-after mineral extract used to fix dyes in cloth and the licence to mine it was given by Queen Elizabeth I.
Throughout the centuries the castle was lived in by various business and/or political folk until 1935 when Whitstable District Council bought it.
It is now a community facility hosting weddings and business meetings, conferences and classes etc. 

The Victorian Tearooms where we had lunch

before walking along the top of the cliffs

with our binoculars we could just about see our home county of Essex on the other side of the Thames estuary
Can be seen easily on a clear day

As we walk down Tower Hill into the town we pass this pretty house and garden before entering the town and coming to 

and yes one has to squeeze in their gut and walk sideways

The Town of Whitstable grew from the main road to Canterbury, now known
 as the  high street, and the alley ways developed as local residents 
needed greater access to the sea. The multitude of alleys also served
 as convenient escape routes for smugglers, as Whitstable was, like most
 Kentish coastal towns, awash with the  illegal trade in tobacco and spirits,
 as well as people during the Napoleonic wars.

Once known as Granny Bell's Alley, due to the fact that a grandmother
 of sixteen children lived there, the reason for its present title quickly
 becomes clear as you try to pass through it! The walls on each side
 loom high and dark as the alley bottle-knecks at the Island Wall end.
 According to history, the alley way may also have got its name from
 a game local boys once played with a potentially very unamused
 overweight policeman who was unable to pursue them through this
 confined space.

A pretty cottage and garden as we walk along to the see front

where we see one of the old Thames barges returning with some sight see-ers

Time to make our way to Rifleman Cottage where there will be tea and cakes waiting for us


Elizabeth said...

Such a lovely visit.
My grandmother lived in Tankerton for the last few years of her life and I visited her often.
Glad there are good tea shops!

Elizabeth said...

In response to one of your comments on my blog:
inden is what we used to call lime trees in England years ago.
Such a pretty scent!

Terri said...

Beauty and humor! You've got it all there in the U.K.! Love the roses, and that you find uses for the old manor houses and castles. That is marvelous. Love the alley! Thanks for the tour.

Annie Jeffries said...

You have such a natural way of sharing your world and telling its stories. Visiting here is always a highlight of my week.

Mary Ann said...

What a wonderful trip, thanks for the great pictures... my husband is coming to like this blog very much!

Vee said...

I'm afraid that even if I were Twiggy, and I most certainly am not, that I wouldn't wish to walk through that alley. Too claustrophobic inducing for me! What fun stories. This is a charming community and I enjoyed seeing the regular homes as well as the castle and its beautiful garden.

Gracie Saylor said...

Thanks for letting me view some of your trip, Barbara! Castles are such interesting buildings to me...amazing but daunting to care for or live in. [I still think I would rather live in a little log cabin :)]
And the alley, oh my, hard to imagine ANYONE wiggling through!
Gracie <3

Anonymous said...

Squeeze Gut Alley makes me feel claustrophobic just looking at the picture!
The castle looks good, despite the drizzle, the gardens are very pretty.

Merisi in Vienna said...

A wonderful place, no matter the weather!

And, oh, that tearoom, out of a Jane Austen novel!

Can't wait to see what your next destination looks like.
Wishing you a restful Sunday,
wherever you are,

Cheri said...

Loved the castle and I really loved squeeze gut alley!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

It is always interesting as well as lovely to go on these little jaunts with you. You find the most charming homes and gardens to photograph, and humorous things that alley!

Glycine blanche said...

Superbe endroit. Merci pour cette belle visite. Bonne fin de journée.