Harbour Cottage, Whitstable

Exterior of Harbour Cottage, Whitstable

What’s Harbour Cottage like?

This small but perfectly formed dog-friendly cottage is in the heart of Whitstable, just steps from the harbour and the main shopping streets. Once upon a time, it would have been home to a fisherman’s family but the front part of the Victorian property has now been transformed into a cosy bolthole for two. It is connected to Garden Cottage – the larger house out the back.

Ernie asleep on the sofa at Harbour Cottage, Whitstable

How dog-friendly is Harbour Cottage?

Very – and there’s no extra charge for pets. Owner Polly is passionate about dogs and does a lot of work for rescue charities in Spain. The money she makes from Harbour Cottage helps to fund this, which I think is really lovely.

You will need to bring your own bedding, food and bowls for your stay but really, the rules are very relaxed – essentially, treat the cottage as if it’s your own and look after it. Helpfully, the flooring is very dog-friendly, being a mix of wooden boards and tiles, and throws are provided for the sofa. There are also lots of recommendations for good walks and dog-friendly pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Lounge at Harbour Cottage, Whitstable

Tell me more about Harbour Cottage

The quirky little cottage has a real artsy, bohemian vibe to it. The light and airy lounge has a lovely wood-burning stove, comfy sofa and table for two as well as a well-equipped kitchenette. Upstairs, you will find a small shower room and spacious bedroom with double bed and colourful mismatched furniture.

There are a whole host of books to read, DVDs to watch and board games to play, as well as lots of literature for local attractions and maps to plan walks. Complimentary toiletries are also provided and owner Polly’s artwork adorns the walls, which is a nice personal touch.

Guests have the run of the cottage, which is the front part of a large Victorian building with its own entrance. It is the perfect size for couples but can comfortably sleep three, thanks to an additional pullout bed. Bexley Street, where the cottage is located, is mostly pedestrianised so is very quiet. You can often park for free right outside but if not, there are usually spaces on the surrounding streets.

Kitchen at Harbour Cottage, Whitstable

What’s the food like at Harbour Cottage?

Harbour Cottage is a self-catering property but a few essentials are provided, such as tea, coffee and sugar. The house is just steps away from Harbour Street, however, where you will find countless pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as a couple of small supermarkets.

Many of the shops, pubs and cafes in Whitstable welcome dogs and the recently-refurbished New Inn is one of the closest to the cottage. It serves reasonably-priced pub grub, has a different Gin of the Week and regularly hosts live bands. The Beach Café is also a great option for breakfast or lunch. It’s very popular with both locals and visitors – we counted five other dogs when we visited!

Are there resident dogs at Harbour Cottage?

Owner Polly has two rescue dogs from Spain – Podencos Lupi and Farru – while Andy and Sarah, who live in Garden Cottage and help with the day-to-day hosting, are the proud owners of Podenco, Bonesy. You may well bump into them all!

Old Neptune pub on beach, Whitstable, Kent

Where are the best dog walks near Harbour Cottage?

Whitstable is famed for its oysters so head to the harbour, where you’ll find wooden fishing sheds and seafood shacks serving up the freshest catch of the day. Turn left and stroll along the boardwalk to West Beach, passing the Old Neptune pub (above) and ogling the beautiful seafront homes along the way. Dogs are allowed on the shingle beach all year round.

In the opposite direction, the seafront path will take you towards Tankerton and Herne Bay, where you will find colourful beach huts and wide grassy slopes that are perfect for dogs to explore. You can walk from the heart of Whitstable to Tankerton’s Fraser Hill in around 30 minutes.

A clifftop walk at Reculver is also a must – use the imposing twin towers of the medieval church as a landmark. Built on the site of an ancient Roman fort, the towers have been used to help guide ships at sea for centuries. Soak in the views and visit Reculver Country Park on this 3.5-mile circular walk, as recommended by Explore Kent. For more ideas when it comes to things to see and do, check out my Ruff Guide to Whitstable.

Handmade sign for Harbour Cottage, Whitstable, with waves and a seagull perched on top

What Ernie loved about Harbour Cottage

Being so close to the beach, getting lots of fuss at all the local pubs and cafes, the fact that almost everyone in Whitstable has a dog!

What I loved about Harbour Cottage

The fantastic location, the wood-burning stove, the rustic decor

How to book Harbour Cottage

Stays at Harbour Cottage start from around £50 a night. Bookings must be for a minimum of two nights. For more information about the cottage, check out the Airbnb listing.

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