Our Guide to the Kent Coast
The Kent coast is where tradition meets modernity. A fantastic blend of quaint seaside resorts and quirky towns heavily influenced by the art scene in the region, the Kent coast really celebrates the best of British life. We have some of our best cottages located on the Kent coast, located in family favourites such as Deal, Broadstairs and Whitstable, as well as in hidden gems like Sandwich Bay and Dymchurch. With some nifty public transport links and especially easy access around the region if you’re in the car, it should never be too difficult to hop around the Kent coast on your jollies. But to help you decide where to go, we’ve written this guide to hopefully give you some holiday inspiration!
One of the many Cinque Ports in Kent during the fifteenth century, Margate evolved into the seaside resort it is today during the eighteenth century, primarily due to its good links to the Thames. Margate enjoyed prominence as one of England’s best seaside resorts until its unfortunate economic decline in the late twentieth century. However, the dawning of the 2000s brought back vigor and style to Margate and today it thrives as a vintage-esque town with a vibrant art scene and lots of family attractions.
One of the main players in the regeneration of Margate was the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. Built in 2011, the gallery is now celebrating its 10 year anniversary and is one of the town’s must-see attractions. Named after William Turner who was himself inspired by the local scenery, the gallery plays host to a range of modern and local art exhibitions throughout the year, as well as engaging with many community outreach programmes.
Other fabulous Margate attractions include Dreamland and the mysterious Shell Grotto. The former is a restored vintage pleasure beach, a fond staple of Margate life in the twentieth century. Today, Dreamland retains many of its original rides, including its iconic Scenic Roller Coaster, as well as hosting many live music events throughout the year. The Shell Grotto is a hidden gem of Margate - quite literally! Discovered in 1835 underneath the town’s surface, the Shell Grotto is a series of tunnels intricately adorned with seashells that no one has yet been able to understand why it’s there… To uncover the mystery for yourself, pre-book your visit to the Grotto, which is open Monday-Wednesday every week.
Located on the edge of the beautiful Romney Marsh, Dymchurch is a little coastal village with a large sandy beach, making it a great place for a family day out. Let the kids play in the sand while you kick back and relax at the water's edge and take in Kent’s amazing coastal views. Follow up your trip to the beach with a visit to Dymchurch amusement park, which has lots of classic rides for children of all ages for them to enjoy. With a couple of Fish and Chips shops along the promenade to complete the day, make Dymchurch your destination for a classic day out at the beach.
The real beauty of Dymchurch, however, is that it also offers amazing access to the Kent countryside, making it an ideal visiting place for walkers and nature lovers. The 10 mile circular walk between Hythe and Dymchurch takes you along the Royal Military Canal, before taking a coastal turn at Burmarsh. There are plenty of pubs, cafes and benches for you to take a break along the way, but to make the walk that little bit easier and even more scenic, hop on the Romney Marsh and Dymchurch Railway to take you back up to Hythe to experience this world-famous steam train route.
A charming fishing village, Whitstable boasts a picturesque harbour, vibrant high street and is home to the very grand Whitstable Castle and Gardens, built in the 1790s. Just a short drive from Canterbury, which is five miles away, Whitstable is the coastal choice for residents of Kent’s capital city. For those who like a challenge, the Crab and Winkle way is a hilly footpath between the city and Whitstable - it requires a lot of stamina but the views are worth it! Whitstable’s proximity to the city, while able to retain its secluded coastal feel, is what draws many visitors to the town and we have multiple holiday cottages here, should you wish to extend your stay.
Whitstable has a deep maritime history and was heavily involved in the naval aspect of World War Two. History enthusiasts may be interested to know that, during your time in Whitstable, you can book a private tour of the Greta Thames Sailing Barge, which was originally built in the 1800s, but later used during Operation Dynamo, the British effort to save troops from Dunkirk.
Staying with the sea theme, Whitstable is world-renowned for its seafood, especially their native oysters which have been caught here for hundreds of years. Our local team in Kent can’t recommend a trip to The Lobster Shack enough to sample the Oysters, which the restaurant pairs exceptionally with its Oyster beer. Out of Oyster season, The Lobster Shack still serves up some amazing seafood dishes for you to sink your teeth into.
We have a selection of homely holiday cottages in Sandwich and the surrounding areas, including Sandwich Bay. Ideal for a romantic getaway or for those seeking a relaxing holiday in an old-worldly, charming place.
The medieval buildings of Sandwich are some of the best preserved in the UK, making this little Kentish time a time capsule of sorts. Sandwich isn’t just historical on the surface, but has been an active town since the Roman era, so has a long story to tell. Sandwich is very close to Richborough Roman Fort, as mentioned in our Dog-Friendly Guide, so travelling here to expand your Roman knowledge of the area is very easy. You can also visit the Sandwich Guildhall, which has a free local museum inside, to learn more about Sandwich’s past, or for those who enjoy stretching their legs, book onto a walking tour with The Sandwich Local History Society.
Sandwich Bay is a ten-minute drive, or just under an hour’s walk, from the centre of Sandwich and is a European designated bathing area, making it the ideal spot for a leisurely swim. As the bay is a private estate, visitors must pass through the toll at either the Sandwich or Deal end of the beach, but these are clearly signposted. The beach itself is sandy and flat, as well as being dog-friendly, so it's a great place to enjoy a brisk sea walk and get some paws a little muddy!
Just six miles down the coast from Sandwich lies Deal, a town so lovely we scarcely want to share it! Having won The Telegraph’s High Street of the Year award in 2014, Deal is now recognised as a place that celebrates independent and local businesses in abundance. There are a number of art galleries dotted around Deal’s streets for you to explore and the town furthers its love for the arts by hosting its annual, 16-day long, Music & Arts Festival in June and July.
Deal is also rumoured to be the place where Julius Caesar landed in 55BC and has enjoyed a place in British history ever since. There are a number of Tudor Castles in the area you can visit, including Walmer Castle and Deal Castle, which were both built by Henry VIII. Catch up on Deal’s more recent past as a fishing and mining town at the Deal Museum on St George’s Road. To find out more about this cute town - which is also in prime position for exploring Kent - and book your stay with us, visit our Holiday Cottages in Deal page.