Towns in Kent
Towns in Kent
Broadstairs is perhaps most famous for being the summer residence of the author Charles Dickens. Museums in Broadstairs tell the story of Dickens and the town plays host to a Dickens Festival every June. The town was also the residence of Bagpuss creator Oliver Postgate.
Broadstairs is an attractive seaside location with impressive cliffs and fresh sea breezes cooling even the hottest summer days. Situated between Margate and Ramsgate, Broadstairs is ideal for walkers. Both towns can easily be reached on foot, and the walks take tourists through pleasant park land or along the coast, depending on the direction chosen. Walking tours are arranged by St Peter’s Village Tours, and there are a number of options for exploring the area with a guide. Available walks include routes around local churchyards and World War II monuments.
In summer, Broadstairs is a great place to take the kids to enjoy a dip in the sea on the Blue Flag certified beach. The beach is sandy and ideal for holidaymakers who wish to sunbathe. For those who prefer dry land, the Lillyputt mini golf course is a great place to get some fresh air and sunshine.
Broadstairs’ history is rooted in fishing and the local housing is typically made up of traditional, quaint cottages. There are plenty of local pubs offering traditional real ales, and small independent shops in the town sell hand crafted jewellery and second hand books.
The range of eateries in Broadstairs is particularly diverse, with cafes and bistros available in many picturesque locations including clifftops and kiosks near bandstands. The town is famous for authentic Italian ice-cream. The local promenade comes alive with bursts of floral display in summer. Good wheelchair access is provided around the town and some local beaches are wheelchair accessible.
A popular destination for tourists for almost three centuries, Margate is now served by its own railway station. It offers various attractions, museums and outdoor activities, including mini golf, the grade II listed Scenic Railway and two theatres. The well known Margate Museum is dedicated to the history of the town and recently ran a Mods and Rockers event, telling the story of the fierce rivalry between the two subcultures in the 1960s.
Local legend suggests that the grade I listed Shell Grotto in Margate could have been a pagan place of worship, but as yet its existence is completely unexplained. Discovered accidentally in the early 19th century, it is a 70ft network of tunnels decorated in elaborate shell mosaics and can be easily reached from the train station and seafront.
Ramsgate is a coastal town and a port. Famous for being a holiday destination for the young Queen Victoria, Ramsgate remains very popular with tourists.
Like many neighbouring towns, the Main Sands beach holds Blue Flag status. Many visitors crossing the English channel by ferry from Holland arrive here. It is situated approximately one hour’s drive from the M25, the road which surrounds the city of London. It also benefits from a high speed rail link to the capital.
A historic fishing village, Ramsgate’s history stretches back thousands of years. There are hundreds of listed buildings to admire in Ramsgate, and three important churches, including the church of St Laurence-in-Thanet which was originally built in 1062.
The most famous landmark in Ramsgate is the harbour, built between 1749 and 1850. It also has a Royal Marina where 700 boats are moored, and a Maritime Museum which gives an insight into the history of the harbour and fishing traditions. On top of the museum building, the clock is used to calculate Ramsgate Mean Time - a genuine timezone approximately five minutes faster than the official time in the UK.
There is also a quirky pinball museum in Ramsgate which has 30 machines from the 1950s to the present day. Read more
Facilities and transport links in Whitstable have evolved around its two most important industries: shellfish and tourism, although the town also has plenty for arts and culture lovers, as well as anyone interested in British transport and maritime history.
Inhabited since ancient times, Whitstable has developed excellent transport links. The first ever steam railway was installed to link Whitstable with Canterbury to enable coal to be loaded onto ships in the local port.
Whitstable has been popular with tourists since the 18th century. The coastal location provides a unique insight into the previous lay of the land in the area: The Street is a shingle ‘road’ which stretches half a mile into the sea. It is only visible when the tide is out and is the last remnant of the ancient coastline in East Kent.
The Romans first came to Whitstable in search of oysters and the town still hosts an oyster festival dedicated to this seafood delicacy every year. The harvesting of oysters has declined in recent times due to unfavourable conditions in local sea water, but the town has always been famous for harvesting shellfish, and many local restaurants continue to promote the delicacies brought in by local fishermen. The local Museum and Gallery offers various exhibits, many of which are themed around local maritime history.
On the outskirts of Whitstable, explore the ancient forest and impressible flaura and fauna in the 11 square mile Blean Woods. Rare butterflies and other wildlife live in this impressive managed forest. Read more
Canterbury is a city rich with history and features prominently in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The city is surrounded by countryside and coast which makes it a fantastic base for exploration on any outdoor holiday, as well as being extremely convenient for visitors who are on business trips and city breaks.
Tourists can enjoy a plethora of museums, events and attractions dedicated to the city’s Roman, Viking and mediaeval roots, including the Canterbury Roman Museum which is situated entirely underground, taking in many original Roman buildings which form the basis of the exhibits. The Canterbury Heritage Museum is a more general exploration of the history of Canterbury and pays homage to some of the celebrities who lived and worked in the area. Both of these museums are part of the Beaney complex, a larger site dedicated to arts and culture. The complex also contains a modern lending library.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Canterbury is the cathedral. It is the oldest cathedral in England and 104 Archbishops have been situated there. Another church in Canterbury, St Martin’s, has been in use since Roman times. Together with the ruined abbey of St Augustine, the two form an important UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visitors to Canterbury also enjoy exploring the ruins of the castle. The Reculver Towers site in the Canterbury countryside was once a Roman Fort and is now a designated ancient monument. The Reculver Towers are set on the seafront within a stunning coastal country park. Even in winter, visitors enjoy visiting the park to see the flocks of migrating birds. It has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and holds a Green Flag award. Opening hours change with the seasons.
Canterbury offers a great many high street stores and nightclubs, as well as plush, modern accommodation in the city centre. Independent stores line the King’s Mile, a popular destination for tourists who wish to buy souvenirs of their visit to Kent. River tours offer a popular option for exploration of the city from the comfort of a rowing boat complete with a tour guide.
The town of Sandwich is said to be named after the fourth Earl of Sandwich who first invented the idea of eating meat between pieces of bread. Although Sandwich is further away from the coast than its neighbouring towns in Thanet, it has many historic and listed buildings which are relics from its former glory as a busy port: the first ever elephant to be landed on British shores arrived in Sandwich in 1255. In fact, the history of Sandwich can be traced back to Roman times thanks to the Richborough fort which served as a defence against Saxon pirates. The fort can be reached by road or by a river bus service on the River Stour. One of the original town gates, built in 1384, is still standing in the town. Later in its history, an influx of Dutch visitors brought new types of crops to Britain. Local attractions include the historic Guildhall Museum and the White Mill Rural Heritage Centre which is housed inside the only remaining windmill in Sandwich.
Sandwich is located near to three nature reserves and an educational bird sanctuary, the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust or SBBOT. There is a Coarse Fishery nearby which offers ideal fishing conditions for anglers of all abilities.
Golf enthusiasts visit Sandwich for its two impressive golf courses which are located in close proximity to each other. Prince’s and Royal St George’s share the same impressive coastal views. The latter regularly hosts the Open Championship and has done so since 1984. Prince’s has so far only hosted the Championship once.
The town of Sandwich has a railway station and is easily accessible by road from Canterbury and Dover.
Dover gets its name from the River Dour which flows through the Thanet region of Kent. Like many nearby towns and cities, its history stretches back to the Stone Age. The Romans built roads to link the town with Canterbury, strengthening its long-held position as an important port in the south of England.
The famous 350ft white cliffs of Dover are clearly visible as ships approach from mainland Europe, and have long been an iconic symbol of sea travel to and from England. Various attractions, walks and World War II sites are based in and around the cliffs which get their white-grey appearance from their chalk, flint and fossilised algae composition. Walking is popular around the cliffs but visitors are encouraged to stay on marked paths due to the possibility of erosion.
Nowadays, shipping companies offer regular ferry services from the Port of Dover to the French ports of Calais and Dunkerque. Cruise ships also use the port. Hovercraft and catamaran services, as well as many ferry services, have been withdrawn in recent years, possibly as a result of the Eurostar terminal in Folkestone becoming more popular. The Channel Tunnel service gives holidaymakers and businesses easy options for transportation via rail to mainland Europe; passengers can connect to Folkestone via rail from Dover railway station.