Whitstable was famous for its 'Native Oysters' which were collected from beds beyond the low water mark from Roman times until the mid-20th century. This is celebrated at the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival, which takes place during the summer.
In 1830, one of the earliest passenger railway services was opened by the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway Company. In 1832, the company built a harbour and extended the line to handle coal and other bulk cargos for the City of Canterbury. The railway has since closed but the harbour still plays an important role in the town's economy. The railway route is now a bike path which leads to the neighbouring city of Canterbury.
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