Ten Ultimate Truths about Moving to Whitstable from London

Well, you’ve had the playful, yes, slightly banal and cheeky me so far, but the avalanche of continual criticism has led me to dwell a little on Shitstable and why the crap anyone would move here in the first place.  Or, indeed, if you were born here, why you would stay.  So here is it.  An utterly serious critique, arse-and-all look at the good, the mediocre and the utter dog shite that is Whitstable living.  Imagine this is advice to the young me, all full of hope and expectation, five years ago…

1. You will never, ever be a local.  Although obvs I’ve proved that total assimilation is possible as I am completely integrated and valued here, there is a strata of resistance in this town, that is impenetrable.  Imagine you are the TBM that triumphantly suceeded in linking the UK with mainland Europe for the first time since the ice age?  Well  if you used that to attempt to penetrate the stony arse faced resistence of certain locals to ‘outsiders’ it would shatter, splinter and kill everyone working on it.  It would be a blood bath.  Don’t bother trying to be ‘one of them’.  Work on the nice one’s and ignore the piss takers.  This is largely about class. 

2. ‘We preferred Whitstable when it was shit’.  This is a widely propogated MYTH and it needs to be challenged and corrected.  I’m happy to do that.  The supposition is that certain elements if the town believe Whitstable  was shit before the DFLs injected some much needed cash into the local economy – but they would have much preferred it to stay like that.  Well, HELLO!  We were there too!  When it was shit!  Right back in the early nineties.  Here are 5 reasons why the Shitness was Good and 5 reasons why the Shitness was Bad.

  5 Reasons Why the Shitness was Good

1. It actually had fucking CINEMAS.  When me and the Mrs first came down there was NOTHING.  Now can you imagine?  We were young, used to London.  Film culture was accessible, vibrant and varied.  Then NOTHING.  Thank GOD the owner of the fish restaurant opened a flea pit upstairs.  We saw Resevoir Dogs there, I fell asleep during The English Patient, loved Kidz and Natural Born Killers and barely managed to endure 8 Mile (don’t bother) there and – like in London, you could drink alcohol!  However, the projection was shit ( I think he was shagging someone) and the seats left you with the slight feeling that you’d been violated.  Whitstable, as I vaguely understand it, has a rich history of picture palaces – The Oxford, another that is now Budgens, another tiny one that was in Harbour street and a large cinema that I remember the giant empty hulk of in Tankerton by the tennis courts.  Then, due to shoddy management and terrible audience development (and seats that probably gave you crabs), the cinema above the fish restaurant shut.

Now guess what?  NO FUCKING CINEMA!  Do not worry, I have my own plan for the Harbour which I will reveal in a separate blog.  I am working with a local architect (who I lift very heavy weights with) on a strategic plan for the Harbour development.  I’m seeking out private finance right now and negotiating a buy out deal for Bretts.

2. There were less shite shops.  Is that really ‘our fault’?  There were also cool places like the Assembly Rooms with its weird sprung floor and Johnny’s Art House.  My wife loved the Magic Wardrobe too.

3. The Beach – less crowded.

4. You could get a bloody table for dinner without booking three weeks ahead.

5. The pubs – there were more of them.  The beer was dirt cheap.  I occasionally got a lock in – usually only if I was in the middle of a game of pool (I hate pool.  Only did it to get a lock in) or in the toilet for a really long time.

Ooh, I’m going to stretch to a contentious 6 now…


5 Reasons Why the Shitness was BAD

1. It looked shitter.  I know I go on about Kath Kittywhatsherfuckingname bunting, but at least DFLs plant flowers and paint their front doors and windows and remodel their houses to look less old and knackered.  A greater inward investment means the council pay for better lighting, more planted municipal flowers, better pavements, roads, cleaner streets etc etc.  Sorry?  Is this boring you?

2. The drugs.  No one really likes to discuss this do they?  Hmmm?  Rather point the finger at  Brown Town up the road or the Planet Thanet in the dark beyond, but Whitstable, sorry, Shitstable has and has always had a GIANT drugs issue.  Just try and get your prescription in under and hour on ‘methedone day’ at Boots.  I tried to ignore the drugs situation in the 90’s like lots of us did.  We brought our own, highly superior stuff with us thank you, but spent many an evening throughout the 90’s observing the terrible states people got themselves in.  I managed to personally avoid any local brush with drugs apart from one evening.  One really, really terrible evening. But I’m not prepared to talk about that without a lawyer.

3. The Food.  Now I’m on really dodgy ground here.  We patronised the fish restaurant for years when we were young, largely because everyone from London did then.  Looking back, it was the ambience of the place that was great, the sunsets, the way the skinny ballet dancer of the waitress never wore a bra, but the food was just….grilled fish.  Fucking expensive, grilled fish.  Deliah’s was fab, but that was it.  Well. Apart from the French place in Harbour Street.  Most dyslexic menus I’ve ever read.  Mackerelly on toast and Salaman Rushdie salad.  Fab.  Soooo, that’s why I think a bit of competition is good.  Now there is the Michelin starred Sportsman, the Pearsons, which apparently is good (not into celebrity chefs), Salt Marsh at the the back of the best DFL pub in town, Samphire, The Oxford and JoJos (she’s not from Whitstable though, she’s from up North and don’t bother going if you like to eat clean.  It’s all deep fried.).
Burger Bros are a pop up that have been slated by certain elements.  They are run by a massive gent who looks like a criminal.  He’s from Sheppey.  No they’re not from Whitstable, but that’s hardly posh is it?!

4.The pubs.  Ok, there were more.  The beer was cheaper. But they were SHITE and full of dick heads.  Scary, tacky, smelly.  Need I go on?  I even had the misfortune to wander into one (not far from my own Victorian cottage now) that was showing HOME PORN every Saturday night and advertised that they had a girl from Herne Bay upstairs for consensual ‘massage’ every Thursday.  Classy!

5. Crime and  Violence.  Again, like the Drugs.  no one really likes to talk about this…except me!  Consider the following before you move here:

a. Kebab shop fights.  Not just between the men, hhooo nooo.  Watch those drunk young ladees give it sum.  Also, I watched a young man have his kebab ninja kicked right out of his hands as he was about to take his first bite.  There are A LOT  of ninjas in Whitstable.

b. I was enjoying a Christmas Eve at an old pub up on Tankerton slopes one year in the 90’s when a MASSIVE  fight broke out.  It was like watching a Western – one pumped up pikey on steroids and Hurlimann threw one bad punch and the whole sorry lot of them were thumping each other.  We just sat frozen until the police arrived.

c. Crime.  Very upsetting.  We brought two fold up bikes down in the early 2000’s and they were nicked when we had a coffee.  Then someone tried to sell the same bikes back to us outside Bruce Randall’s.  I’m ashamed to say we bought them.  No one ‘buys’ a bike in Whitstable.  They just ‘acquire’ one.  FACT.

d.  Two people have had their ears bitten off in Whitstable in  20 years.  WTF?!

 3. It’s a much happier experience being a DFL woman.  I will expand on this in a later blog – I have DFL women archetypes that I would like to explore with you, but for now, let’s say that DFL men fall into two categories:

a. Put upon spineless, emasculated ‘stay at home-your career is over’ DFL men, who pretend the company of small children is better than the thrill of  a proper job.  They get thinner and thinner because they can’t see the point in eating, while they spend all day every day feeding their plump London children.  All the while SHE is up in town, doing important shit.

b. ‘I didn’t want to move here’ poor bastards who, having married their dream girl, realised she’s turned into a different person once pregnant.  She’s life-managed them into a semi-rural existence that is TOTALLY NIHILISTIC to his career.  So, the poor bastard has to get  up at 5 am to get the ‘fast’ train to where he used to be able to get to work in 20 minutes JUST SO SHE CAN SIT ON THE FUCKING BEACH.

4.  Whitstable IS  cultural wasteland compared to London.  Ok, there are ‘hotspots’.  The Whitstable Biennale (none of the locals get it. They don’t even understand that it runs every other year. Lol), some other stuff Whitstable 365 etc, but really, compared to the free, wonderful INTERNATIONAL CULTURE available in London, Whitstable is a white dog turd of culture.  Rare, unpleasant, best ignored.

5.  Prepare to do a pretty savage Personal Identity MOT!  This is strongly linked with number 1 but subtly different, whereas number 1 dealt with class prejudices, this deals with JEALOUSLY about ego and success.  Locals in Whitstable (bar a couple of big tattoeed exceptions) are very short of self confidence.  They HATE anyone who is successful or is prominent about their achievements.  By all means, come here if you are famous, but don’t fucking talk about it, don’t acknowledge it.  Please, please, don’t expect any one to respect you for it!!  Ho, no.

6.  Like moving, or any change really, don’t let expectations exceed reality.  And when the reality kicks in, just think, well, you know what, I made that decision, I’ve got to deal with it.  My reality?  The weather.  Ok, bit stupid maybe but I thought it might be hotter here than London.  It’s not.  It’s windy and very cold in the winter.  But hey!  I got into kite surfing instead.  It’s the source!

7. Okay, okay, let’s have some positives…um, kitesurfing 7 days a week, Georges mini market (seriously man – I shit you not!), micro breweries and micro pubs – Tankerton Arms and the Black Dog, live music in the pubs in town – fucking A.

8. Some big negatives I will deal with comprehensively in other blogs.  Housing (not social obvioulsly), and parking.

9.  Shopping.  Fucking terrible.  Still have to come to London to get what I need.  No Waitrose or M&S local.  No one has anything to eat in the evening.

10. Okay.  Lastly, the worst thing about the town is?……The DFLs!  Yes, I am one, but I’ve been here for ages.  I’m massive friends with locals.  Even the ugly, gobby ones!  I’m going to save my DFL rant up for another night.  It’s a bit epic.

So – sorry it’s been a saga.  Sorry there are not images.  Actually, I don’t care.  If you’ve got this far, well done.

Final random list of things currently getting on my nerves, seeing as I’m on a roll…

Small children.  Just wandering about.  Getting in the way

Elderly people, driving.

Idiot people, chatting by zebra crossings.

Ahh.  I think that’s it for now.  We’ve been in Cornwall for a few days so it’s nice to come back now the town is a bit less mad.  Be interested to see if other DFLs feel the same.  Lol!  BTW  – hello Mumsnet!  Lol!

Laters. x



15 thoughts on “Ten Ultimate Truths about Moving to Whitstable from London

  1. Dear Mr Blaine,

    Although your commentary (or should I say rambling) is mildly amusing in parts, it is yet again flawed in many aspects. There are so called internet ‘trolls’ and ‘keyboard warriors’ out there who like nothing better then to make people’s lives miserable, but I just want to make it clear at this point that I’m not one of them.
    I felt the need to respond to your blog as I really struggle to comprehend how an intelligent fellow like yourself fails so miserably to grasp why your pompous, inflammatory remarks insult said ‘locals’. Anybody who is ’embedded’ and ‘embraced’ by the locals (like you proclaim) would know that ‘Shitstable’ is a loving term for the town used jokingly amongst people who have lived here and have the right to say it. You on the other hand (although you have 5 years ‘service’) do not my pedigree chum.

    Where shall I start?

    “You will never be a local”

    This is complete bullshit. I have numerous friends who have moved to Whitstable from London or further afield (the aforementioned Northern Nikki from JoJos) who are considered locals.

    Do you want to know their secret?

    They are not complete and utter shit stains on humanity. They are not so far stuck up their own arses that they brush their teeth with toilet paper as opposed to tooth brushes. They make friends with people as opposed to ‘integrating’ and don’t feel the need to self proclaim their ‘value’ to the community. They are real, not fake, which leads me onto my next point.

    “It’s about Class”

    What a load of horse shite!! You might as well of said “It iz because we iz black” in an Ali G voice!! Having lived here for 5 years, you obviously know about the 2 private schools on the outskirts of Canterbury, just past Blean (Kent College and St Edmunds). There are many people who attended these schools who are treated as locals of the town just the same as the tattooed ‘hardman’ propping up the bar in the Naval on a Friday afternoon. They don’t feel the need to brag about money or wealth; they just get on with their lives treating people as they wish to be treated. I lived in Chestfield for most of my youth and if you know the town the way you say you do, you will know that there aren’t too many ‘karate kids’ in that neck of the woods kicking kebabs out of people’s hands.

    Believe it or not, Whitstable has actually had famous people who were born and raised here and managed to stay the same. I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of sharing conversations with Peter Cushing on the beach on numerous occasions over the years, talking about things as varied as Star Wars through to football. Never did he feel the need to talk about the lack of an ‘M&S Local’ or Waitrose. He understood what the town was all about and loved it for that reason.

    You my friend, obviously do not.

    I’m also friends with someone who is actually famous and still alive (surprisingly) from Whitstable, Duncan Roy. Now he has actually won a BAFTA and their website still has a record of this. He now lives in Malibu and has regular visits from the Coen brothers, Pink and other celebrities. He may put on a persona around such folk, but when he comes back to Whitstable it’s the same old Duncan.

    The rationale behind this?

    Because people in Whitstable can spot a fake a mile away!! We don’t care if you’re David Cameron or Nasty Nick from EastEnders. The secret is to not be an arsehole which you seem to be struggling with Conrad.
    Many, many people have moved down from London and been made welcome within the town. My parents are Londoners, as are a lot of peoples from Whitstable. The fundamental difference between them and you is that they loved the town for what it is and didn’t seek to change it. They didn’t feel the need to go back to London because they missed Waitrose; they bought food from the harbour or greengrocers and actually cooked once in a while.

    Your rambling has made you come across as the frustrated male you described above, the one whose wife has forced him to move here taking the kids to school in the morning and living a bored, mundane life.

    It’s time you woke up and smelled the sex wax on your Kiteboard!!

    You’re stuck here mate, why not embrace it for what it is or sell up and go back to London?

    People from Whitstable don’t hate all DFLs; they just hate the ones who feel the need to draw maps about where to live or whinge about the lack of Costas/Waitroses in the town (and the twats wearing only dust masks). Hopefully this will give your audience (and most importantly yourself) insight into the indigenous thoughts of Whitstable’s population.

    If I can help out in any other way, please do feel free to ask.

    P.S. You should try wearing a pair of 90’s rose tinted glasses once in a while; you may even remember why you moved here in the first place!!

    P.P.S I hope you didn’t try and block me, I’m just trying to educate you and welcome you to the community


  2. Come on CK, you’re not marking an essay now. Please do me the common courtesy of a 1/2 decent retort and please lose the fake photo… I’m sure Mumsnet want to see the real face of CK Blaine as opposed to Eric Bandholz, there really is no need to feel shy.

    I might even show you mine if you show me yours!!

    Much love


    • Oh hi. V tired. Marking essays, er, I mean, preparing for THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL! Oh, btw. Had a chat with Duncan today. Turns out he’s looking for a place to stay for a while here. I can’t obvs because of the girls but I was AMAZED he hadn’t asked you, seeing as you are such a close friend. Night night. Love you too-hoo!


  3. Ha ha touché CK, I haven’t spoken to Duncan in a while but Martin hasn’t mentioned his brother is due back and I would have thought he might let his mum know, still that’s Duncan hey!!

    I notice you’re still hiding behind a fake picture and a false script writing job though? Surely a man (or woman) with your talent doesn’t have to hide from the world? After all you’re close with the ‘Bloom’ and other such luminaries. I appreciate you may have to hang a ‘shit stick’ from your cottage to keep the hoards of baying fans away once you have un-masked, but surely you owe it to yourself to let the acclaim wash over you.

    Is it being a bit cheeky to ask what your latest script is about?

    I’m picturing a slow burning, found footage number about someone living in a small town dreaming of stardom. They have a job that they don’t really enjoy, aspirations of being a successful writer and an online alter-ego where they can vent their frustrations and dream BIG. As the film progresses, the protagonist comes across another character also living in the same town that has script writing aspirations of their own.

    This then turns into a battle of wills.

    Will the main character cast this kindred spirit from their online portal to stardom/online blog for fear of competition?

    Is the town big enough for two gargantuan egos?

    Can the DFLs survive such daily mocking/criticism?

    Every Ying needs a Yang (like Tango needed Cash) but…..

    THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE (bit Highlander I know but work with me)

    What do you think? I’m sure this would make a great first feature to be shown at Brett’s Picture House. You can take it as your own, I’m currently working on another project at the moment, Underworld:Swalecliffe (guaranteed earner).

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Sweet dreams


  4. Mr. CK B,

    I stumbled across the post above and yes made it all the way to the end. I also read my compatriot’s response which I think is entirely more well founded than the points you raise. However there are certain things I must also point out about certain DFL’s but particularly one such as your self….

    1. You’re not very bright… People like yourself are not valued here. Far from it. You are in fact the very reason that the nickname DFL has become a popular phrase and you are a somewhat typical, but sadly, predictable example. You strike me as the kind of self obsessed, over opinionated, pretentious spoiled brat that looks down on everything because they come from or have lived in London at one point in their life. You think you have the right to come to a place that survived well before you even knew it existed, and criticise everything about it that makes it what it is.

    2. You’re right this is about class and you haven’t got one fucking little bit. You fail to realise that its not just the DFL’s that bring money into the town. There is a cycle – people are born here (yes there are hospitals near Whitstable too), they grow up (and can have a night out at the real ‘Tank’ when a scuffle or two breaks out – and yes I was there that Christmas eve too and there were no ‘Pikeys’ in the place), get jobs (yes there is employment locally and not everybody in the country has to commute on a train to London to earn a decent crust or seem boastful about ‘working in the city like its an achievement in itself’!!) and have family’s (that they hope to bring up giving them the knowledge that it is a big wide world out there without everything revolving around any one place. That they can have opinions but sometimes people won’t appreciate hearing them). The people of Whitstable obviously couldn’t have hoped for such an existence if the DFL’s hadn’t ‘changed our economy’. We should be eternally grateful to the people that come to the town, for making the place so nice and giving us the nice places we can spend our money in to eat. Turn the clock back to 1980’s / ’90’s London – are you really naïve enough to think that a lot of places in the UK haven’t improved as economies generally grow stronger and that it was down to a few people from London that brought this change about. I think you over value what you must have heard from the other DFL’s… Class – PLEASE!!

    3. The comparisons you make… Only lead me to believe that you have been brought up somewhere in an SW7 post code. My wife is from London. However she appreciates the town for what it is and the fact that we are lucky enough to live here these days. There are places that are a hell of a lot worse. My wifes nan and grandad still reside in London (not SW7 I’d add) and visit and stay in local hotels here once a year . They really, really enjoy the time they spend here and everything about the town. And if they lived here they wouldn’t be looking for a late night snack at the local Waitrose – they would stock up during the day at Tesco Metro. They wouldn’t complain about the locals or worry if they were accepted but again sadly, they would probably overhear conversations between people like yourself and feel sick to the stomach that you can be regarded as a voice of the DFL’s. Its embarrassing

    4. Not every town needs a cinema. It would be nice to have a cinema yes, but, and you are a perfect example, some people are never happy. My friends and I valued the cinema for what it was and was sad to see it go. It may not have been the best but lets face it – we weren’t attending the Cannes Film Festival. I may not be as well studied as a film critique and thespian such as yourself but I saw ‘Kids’ there too and was shocked – due to film content, not how sticky the seats were. Still I suppose in your plans to develop the harbour you will squeeze in an Imax theatre as it is obviously what the town is crying out for. You really haven’t got a clue.

    5. Jealousy – you are clutching at straws with this one. People in the town are not jealous of their ‘more successful’ formerly London based counterparts. But most people (from all parts of the country) can’t stand others who think they are better because of what they have or what they earn. Shallow people who go on and on grotesquely about what they have and where they’ve been are boring and I think you are confusing people not paying interest to you with jealousy.

    6. Cultural wasteland – are you for real? With a population of circa 30,000 don’t you expect it to offer a little less than London can by way of culture. Refer point 1 – not very bright

    7. Drugs – you’re allowed to ‘bring you’re own that are better quality’ but you don’t want to see other people doing them – hypocrite. You can see a snapshot of people in a small town a lot easier than in a big city. You need to open your eyes when you’re in London

    8. Pubs – there are still shit pubs in the town but there are a lot of better ones aswell. It depends what you’re looking for.

    9a. Crime and violence – when I was 6 my brothers bike got stolen from outside Bruce Randall’s funnily enough. He learnt a lesson – buy a fucking bike lock. Refer point 1 – not very bright…

    9b. How short sighted you are to think that because Whitstable is a small town that it should be a completely peaceful, blissful place with no trouble. You obviously have not been Bow or Plaistow recently when kids get stabbed in the middle of the day… on a bus. I am lucky enough not to have experienced something that horrible. I am aware regarding one of the ‘ear incidents’ that the guy that did the biting didn’t start the fight. Doesn’t make it right but people don’t go around looking to take chunks out of each other for kicks.

    10. The weather – you didn’t realise it was going to be windy by the sea (refer point – not very bright) but now embrace it as wicked massive kite surfer. Unbelievable

    Finally – Massive friends with locals – doubt it…

    A lot of things are referring to point 1 my friend…


  5. Wow! …. Reading Conrad’s and Sellseys article and reply respectively has left me somewhat more confused.

    I moved to that seaside town between Bexhill and Rye,,, that one, you know! the one which name begins with ‘H’,,, I moved there after 23 years in Londonm because London got horribly expensive and, fate pulled me along to here,,,,
    So I literally tossed a coin in the air and there i went. Beautiful place, visually, no question. I could not believe my luck in the beginning,,, Beautiful flat!, beautiful architecture!, cheap! , By the sea!
    ……But a few months in the truth began to surface – i’d get a recurring feeling, a gut feeling that told me ‘this place is a bit strange’ …… And sooner later, I’d arrive t the very assertive conclusion that it is a place with a concentrated pool of very flakey, superficial, fair-weather people. People with no vlaues…People with no integrity , but with a lot of ego,,,,, Oh and ‘artists’ galore; artists who never achieved much anywhere,,,, and who are not very good; and tons of wanna be rockstars,- too fast on the fretboard but absolutely no charisma,or originality, let alone worldliness.
    Dismayed and without money i had to stay,,, ALthough a journey sure it was,,, One where i got tested as a person,

    A few sour grapes later, and in the face of such epiphany,,, I began avoiding them all, and concentrated on my career (mainly in London – a pain to travel to, from here) and on jogging by the sea. late night walks, etc
    NO more , literally no more giving my time to these idiots … i;d turn down the odd invite for a drink , if i doubted the person’s integrity ,,, even at very lonely moments i’d pass on the option of such quick ‘cures’. I have inner strength and integrity. That much i know.

    I also concentrated on learning one meditative, martial discipline in particular. And I made a point of neither integrating nor taking part in the sub-standard, provincial delusion ”oh yeah ,,,, we got such an art scene” the local papers would try to convince themselves, us and others ….Almost to the point of using contacts to get write ups in London papers , etc.,… No you don’t …
    …and if Trendy DFL’s are coming down here in droves it’s not because of anything other than cheap rent…. So stop using such accident to promote yourself, ‘H’! – no one is buying it! NO one worth their salt is buying it,,, It’s a dump. It has been for many years,,, Just like Hackney,,, which, by the way, it still is pretty ugly….It just happens to have the liveliness of Dalston, through Turkish restaurants, etc

    POINT IS: The flat I rent here now is getting sold, ANd now I have the right amount of money to move OUT.
    I have seen two or three gorgeous available flats here , but it’s not about that anymore …. It is simply a moment where all factors converge for me to finally leave! (yes , people use the phrase ‘ive done my time here) sometimes…. And i need to be closer to London,,, And i am struggling to choose where,,, Affordability is crucial,,,, BUt i dont want to end up somewhere similar,,,

    I can cope with the lack of options – shops , culture , etc,,, Ill travel for that, But The social aspect MUST NOT BE REPEATED.

    I once heard Whitstable might be Ok…. but the article above has left me non-the wiser,,,, Both guys seem to have valid points.,,,, I understand what Conrad may be trying to convey here, and why…. Just as i understand the backlash too.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    i am ok . I am a friendly person,,, but of course , in as far as where I am now, once smitten twice shy,,,,
    I am at a happy , productive time in my life, …. My issues with here were nothing other than being far too close to too many people with too many problems and not a clue about the status of their very selves not a drop of humility to fix them,,,

    When i first moved here a couple of people i knew told me about the ‘large bohemian community down there’
    Rubbish. Bunch of flakey, selfish, alcoholics and drug addicts, if you excuse me…
    … later one of the natives would tell me
    ‘H’ is a town full of people who really don’t like each other that much” …
    Bang on! , I thought.

    Then there are the junkies and stuff , but they don’t really bother you,,, It’s only the so called ‘bohemians’ and of course the neighbours from hell, who abound here,,, people who have been in jail , people who have killed, people who have had their kids taken away , etc,

    I reall y have done my time here,


  6. Hmm. First, Whitstable ain’t cheap. Barely anyone born here can afford to live here. They’re forced to move to Herne Bay, or worse, Thanet. Second, Whitstable is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, shrouded in a lie. It’s like a slapper from Romford with a fresh vagazzle. Pretty on the surface, manky underneath. You could move to HB…less smack heads than H and you can literally buy anything for a pound. And it’s excellent if you need a carpet. Good luck! C.K,


  7. Interesting article and responses.

    Whitstable is a peculiar place. I grew up only visiting it on the bus from Canterbury as a poor sixth former/student, when I would hang about in the bleak beach shelters with a boyfriend or student friends, usually with a packet of chips, and go in all the charity shops trying to find interesting clothes.

    It was bleak, in the winter, and sometimes in the summer – and it was quite down at heel but somehow that didn’t matter, because there was a subculture – lots of artists, really nice looking houses individually decorated, aesthetically rather beautiful. It never felt chavvy. It was somewhere that nice, quiet, intelligent people (and some hippies) hid away in their back street rented homes, loving being alive, and loving being able to be themselves with likeminded folk around them.

    People made their mark, and in a nice way. We always went in the Neptune if we bothered with a pub. We once looked to rent a flat here ourselves, opposite the harbour – it was cheaper than Canterbury then, but it stank of fish so we declined.

    Years went by, I still went on the bus to get stuff from George’s and look at the second hand shops. Whitstable had its own character.

    Then people started to come down from the city. Suddenly, well, it felt sudden – prices went through the roof. It wasn’t sexy or secret any more. It certainly wasn’t cheap. Small groups of middle aged folk began arriving for day trips on the train, people with an eye for culture, capricious tourists, with their cameras and their expectations – like prospectors.

    I won’t say it spoiled it – I never chose to live there, it wasn’t home though I was fond of it. But things changed – charity shops became more corporate. Eccentric house decoration transformed into a ‘thing’ – shabby chic, though it’s painful to even say that phrase. It became trendy and a huge pastiche of something you couldn’t make commercial, without changing or killing it.

    People with too much money bought up the old, wonky floored cottages and painted them in the trademark white emulsion, hung bunting, put in designer kitchens. It became a massive cliche.

    And no one who grew up round here could afford to live there any more. Only if you had sold a place in the city, could you possibly afford anything bigger than a beach hut – or maybe a semi ex LA house on the Grimshill, which always was, and remains, pretty rough.

    The crowding is awful. I avoid it now – I avoid the place I used to love, because in the summer at least the streets are crammed, I mean crammed with guys in beige chino shorts, expensive sunglasses, looking for a nice wine for the party they’re hosting in their holiday cottage which stands empty for much of the time.

    Lost people, people who can’t find what they’re used to being able to buy. People judging the place (albeit usually in a favourable way). How can they be considered locals when they don’t even live here?

    It makes me feel sad. I hate the feeling it’s been taken over, and used like this. I hate that we ended up buying a place in HB, which I’ve never, ever liked, because Whitstable was so far out of reach.

    On the topic of HB, well it could be worse. It’s much nicer than Margate. It really is. There are some excellent streets here, quiet, pleasant streets mainly full of educated, or at least not distressingly uneducated folk. The sea front is better than Tankerton, stunning in the summer, never crowded. Not many trees, but neither has Whitstable.
    The shops and facilities are almost all awful, save a fantastic, huge independent toy shop, a family run cinema, and a big park which has a duck pond and free tennis courts.

    There are fights, even murders sometimes – but if you avoid the town centre after dark, you don’t see all that. The traffic is great after Canterbury (though more dangerous due to boy racers etc), we have an outstanding school nearby, the fantastic sailing club, and a few great restaurants (a wonderful veggie one for a start).

    Yes there are many old people and I wish someone would blow up the arcades – together with the whole culture of ‘olde worlde’ shite which still pervades after all these years.
    But it’s changing, slowly – I hope. And it’s FAR less pretentious than Whitstable has now become.


  8. Right whitstable used to be a nice place before the arsehole londoners moved in my family have lived in whitstable for many many years and the place has only become a shithole because of the sheer amount of people that have moved down here and our family get annoyed at the amount of dfls that have moved here and run round like they own the place so don’t slag the place off so much


  9. Hello
    My we are in our early 60s, we have always lived in London and I have always wanted to live in the country or by the sea. Now that we have retired I want to move to Whitstable and I probably do view it through rose coloured glasses. Having googled ‘living in Whitstable’ I have read numerous comments and blogs and now I am completely confused. Will we be classed as DFL even if we don’t commute for work, will we be excepted eventually. We are just a nice quiet normal couple looking for a nice place to spend our retirement. Ps… is there much racism in Whitstable.


    • You will always be classed as DFLs. Even by other DFLs. You just have to weigh up how much you really care. I haven’t got a clue whether there is much racism. The locals probably don’t have the energy to be actively racist once they’ve rubbished people from London. If you are a quiet couple, you might want to consider why Whitstable is now known as ‘White Shores’ in that London. Sort of says it all. Given your age though, you might be able to rise above the scum, blend in with all the other DFLs and buy into the collective myth that you’re fully accepted, valued and integrated. Which of course I am. Like I said in one of my very helpful and unbiased blog posts, it takes about five years and you have to graft if you want it. Knowing what I know now, I suggest you don’t bother trying to fit in. Just be DFLs. Be proud. Shun the locals and sit in Costa flicking the bird at every gap toothed scumarse that staggers past. You’ll have to fill your time somehow, especially once it’s winter. Good luck. I mean it.


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