With my birthday looming, the search was on to find a house by the sea for a weekend of celebrations.
Whitstable, the quaint fishing town on the North Kent coast fitted the bill perfectly.
Having day tripped here a couple of times previously I had a good idea of what to expect and was excited at the prospect of an extended stay with friends.
After a bit of scrolling through airbnb I plumped for an early victorian fisherman's cottage named The Ventings, a 3 minute walk from the beach.
The property was exactly what we were hoping for, light and airy, full of character with a good dining space, a cosy lounge with log fire and the most comfortable beds you could wish for!
The great thing about Whitstable is that it is relatively small so everything is close together.
There are eateries galore sat alongside quirky boutiques, record stores and pubs.
We were a 2 minute walk from Harbour Street which made sourcing supper on the first eve a doddle - fish and chips from VC Jones washed down with birthday bubbles.
We were advised to book well in advance for all of our foodie forays, but even when trying to arrange weeks ahead it was still impossible to bag a table at some of the more popular joints (better luck next time for the Sportsman, Wheelers, JoJo's et all)
Nevertheless we enjoyed a decent brunch at Samphire, great sandwiches at Elliotts and a fabulous dinner at East Coast Dining Room where the service was gracious, wonderfully warm and welcoming and the food outstanding.
Down on the beach front and harbour there are countless opportunities to sample some of the local seafood, The Forge is a popular spot for oysters.
To offset all of the feasting going on, we decided that a good, long walk was in order.
We set off in the direction of Herne Bay.
Pausing for a drink at Divers Arms, a traditional pub packed with nautical artefacts, we got acquainted with the locals.
Before tackling the 5 mile stretch back home again.
The Old Neptune is another great wonky old pub that sits literally on the beach.
Perch at one of the outside picnic tables at the end of the day to enjoy a spectacular sunset.
The average journey time from London to Whitstable is 1 hour 32 minutes.
Trains depart from London St Pancras, London Victoria and Cannon Street.
The drive is around 1 hour 45 mins.
The Ventings, sleeps 6, from £170 per night through Airbnb
VC Jones, fish & chips, 25 Harbour Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1AH (closed Monday)
Samphire, Kentish Bistro, 4 High Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1BQ
Elliots @ No1. Harbour Street, Coastal Kitchen, 1 Harbour Street, Whistable, Kent CT5 1AG
East Coast Dining Room, 101 Tankerton Road, Whitstable, Kent CT5 2AJ (closed Monday & Tuesday)
The Forge, 1 Sea Wall, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1BX