A day in beautiful Broadstairs, Kent

posted in: Blog, UK | 54
Chalk stacks in Botany Bay, Broadstairs
We thought the chalk stacks were amazing!

I had heard great things about Broadstairs in Kent, but wasn’t sure what to expect when we had a day to spend there over Christmas. Our eventual destination was Margate (and you can read about that in this post), but we decided to spend our first night in Broadstairs, a place we had never been.

For those who don’t know the area at all, Kent (often described as The Garden of England) is on the southeast corner of England and full of beautiful scenery, castles and of course, gardens. It’s also easy to get to, by train or rail, and it took us less than two hours to get there from our part of London.

Eating ice-creams from Morelli's, in Broadstairs, Kent,
We couldn’t resist some ice-creams from Morelli’s

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and parked our car in the middle of the town (not something you can do quite so easily in our home town of London!). We decided an ice-cream was a must (how could we not, when were right next to Morelli’s, a 1950s styled ice cream parlour?) and then we dropped into the Old Curiosity Shop Cafe where we all enjoyed a hot drink too.

We loved this small cafe with its own well – said to be used by smugglers in the past to store their wares, and which has a real skeleton at the bottom of it (fortunately it’s no longer used to pull up water). Broadstairs was known to be a haven for smugglers in the 18th century and there are said to be a maze of tunnels and caves still in existence which were once used regularly. There are also a number of Titanic themed items on show at the cafe.

The Old Curiosity Shop cafe, in Broadstairs, KentOnce we had some energy, we decided to go for a walk. We were right next to the horse-shoe shaped Viking Bay which was really lovely and right next to the harbour, and had a wonderful, brisk walk along the shore, picking up seashells, and just enjoying the tranquility of it all (along with the fresh air of course).  The whole Thanet area (Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate) boasts a grand total of 15 spectacular sandy beaches, and also has more Blue Flag beaches than any other district in England.

Robert in Viking Bay in Broadstairs, Kent
Robert at Viking Bay

Viking Bay was huge – we couldn’t believe the size of the beach – and it must be perfect for families in the summer, when I think there are lots of things going on such as rides and surfing. It was even lovely in winter – and Robert just had to dip his feet in to try the (very) cold sea!

After our seaside wander, we decided to have a look around the town which was really charming with its narrow streets and lovely array of shops, restaurants and pubs. There was also a fabulous looking tiny cinema (we were really sorry this was closed).

The sea and shoreline along Viking Bay, Broadstairs, Kent
The scenery along Viking Bay was incredible

We then got back in our car and drove to the Botany Bay hotel, which was a real find and in the most glorious location, right on top of the bay (the views from our room were lovely). We stayed in a lovely family suite which was huge and which we thought was pretty good value (£135 including a great breakfast). The kids had single beds and there was a huge TV too, plus more than enough space to play some games.

As we only had a day in Broadstairs, we did not have time to visit the Bleak House museum (Charles Dickens used to live and work in the area, as you might have been able to tell from the Dickens references in the piece), or the Crampton Tower Museum (we’ll just have to come back). But the next morning we did have the most glorious walk along Botany Bay which was so beautiful that we’d recommend you go there as soon as you can!

What was really fantastic was the chalk. I know that sounds odd, but this whole area (like Dover, which is not far away) is edged by remarkable chalk cliffs and you can see the most wonderful chalk stones on the shores (see the picture from Viking Bay above for an example). At Botany Bay, we were also amazed by see towering chalk stacks. They were absolutely beautiful, and looked like something quite otherworldly.

Us at Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent
Us at Botany Bay, Broadstairs, Kent

We walked for a long time, enjoying the unseasonably good weather, the views, and at one point a flock of birds flying together over the water. It was a joy.

I can quite understand why Broadstairs was a popular Victorian seaside resort – and also why it would still appeal today. It’s all very walkable, with gorgeous scenery, clean beaches and enough to do to keep all members of the family interested (including mini golf). If you walk along to Kingsgate Bay, you can seven see Kingsgate Castle, which we came on quite by chance. It’s that kind of a place.

Find out more about this area from the Visit Kent website, and don’t miss our post on our trip to Margate (and watch our video!)



Travel Notes & Beyond

54 Responses

  1. Louise

    I have a fascination with Broadstairs but yet to visit. We are going to Canterbury in the next few months though so this will definitely be on the to do list it looks beautiful. x

  2. Orli

    I have never been to Broadstairs, but It looks like such an amazing place to visit. I love the beach, and this one looks really pretty. Great photos. So happy you had a good day 🙂

  3. Kara

    I love a bracing walk along the beach and when we visit our relatives in Kent will make sure we pay Broadstairs a visit

  4. Mrs M

    Wow – this is an area I’ve never been to but it looks fabulous, will have to add it to the ever-increasing list!

  5. Jen

    I have never been to kent (other than to travel from to France) it really is the other end of the country for us! One day we might have a holiday there. It looks fab even in Winter.

  6. Rita Williams

    As someone who lives by Botany Bay, I can only agree with all the above, it was wonderful to visit over the years, and it is heavenly to live here, so much to see and do, and gorgeous beaches

  7. Lisa Spain

    So glad you and your family enjoyed Broadstairs and the coast line ajoining it. I’m lucky enough to live here and spend lots of time walking along the coast and beaches with my dog. I would recommend it to anyone. Its a beautiful place to be.

  8. Sue

    We were lucky to be able to move to Broadstairs a couple of months ago, and every day I can’t quite believe this lovely town is my home! Your review of it sums the town up perfectly and I’m glad you enjoyed your visit!

    • Sarah Ebner

      Oh you are lucky – I’m so glad your move turned out to be so successful! And I’m delighted you liked our write-up. Thank you for visiting!

  9. Caron

    My theatre company- Filigree Mask are working with Canterbury Christchurch University’s International Centre for Victorian Women Writers on a collaborative street theatre project for early Sept ’16 whereby our Victorian character, Lucy, will board the train at the newly opened London Victoria station (1867) bound for the south east coast and will appear at several destinations along the way in different times. She will conclude her journey in Margate at a dance at Dreamland while TS Elliot is writing The Wastelands.
    Seems that this would interest you.

  10. Carol Colborn

    I have heard about the Dover Cliffs but did not know about this! To think we were in Brighton in 2014 and this is just 2 hours away!!! Bummer.

  11. Rand Blimes

    Looks beautiful but a little chilly! Glad to see you also enjoy ice cream in the cold! My wife always thinks I am crazy when I do so.

  12. Anda

    What an incredible scene at Viking Bay! Looks chilly, but it’s so beautiful. I need to do more trips to England. I’ve only been in London but your countryside looks terrific.

  13. Shobha

    We love Kent too. It’s really easy to get too from London and feels a world away. We’ve been a few times picking one place at a time for the weekend. In addition to the cliffs, my favourite view are those oast houses – they are so cute with their little witch hat roofs. I’ve not been to Broadstairs yet and will add it to my list of places to see in Kent.

  14. Hugo

    Another reason to head out from London. We’re trying to set more time aside this year to properly explore the UK. Kent is definitely a place we want to visit!

    Cheers 🙂

  15. LeAnna

    There is always something not quite right with being on a beach and not being able to swim, lay out and soak up the rays! I think I’d rather hit this area in the summer without so many ice chunks! 😉

  16. Megan

    I haven’t been to Kent but it looks absolutely beautiful. A very different shore than what I’m used to but would love to see it in person.

  17. Janna

    Oh my viking bay is beautiful and your photos captured it perfectly! And the chalk cliffs are fascinating. Would love to see them in person. 🙂

  18. Wandering Carol

    I’ve never even heard of Broadstairs, and am always on the lookout for new places to explore in England. In fact I’ve been searching for a town not too big, not too small and with something special to rent an apartment or cottage and just write for a couple of months. Now Broadstairs is a contender. Thanks.

  19. mark

    Botany bay a bit of Australia happening there. Most likely cook named it after the botany bay you visited. looks like a great place to visit and spend some time. we love the beach and ocean

    • Geoff Lewis

      It’s actually the other way round – it was named Botany Bay because that was where they used to ship people (convicts) off to Botany Bay in Australia. 🙂

      This Botany Bay is my favourite beach anywhere, due to my having grown up just 150 yards from it. It was incredible living there and playing with my mates as kids, climbing up into the caves in the adjoining Kingsgate Bay …

      Incidentally, Morellis has been in Broadstairs since 1932, producing their own Ice Cream. There is a Morellis franchise in Selfridges in London too. 🙂

  20. Globalmouse

    Beaches in winter are the best. I love this area of the UK but haven’t been to Broadstairs but it looks beautiful – and love the cafe.

  21. Chetan Jadhav

    Hey Sarah heard for the first time about this amazing destination – Broadstairs, Kent.
    seems a quite amazing place as you people have wandered the overall place, and yeah have to check out with the tunnels and caves and especially the Viking Bay, as I love beaches.
    Thanks for posting this lovely place which was unknown. 🙂

  22. Karen

    This sounds like a fun day out! I have not been to Broadstairs, but I have been to Dover and want to return someday. I agree the chalk cliffs are just amazing to see.

  23. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    I love Broadstairs – I’ve only been on a day trip while visiting friends in Kent but we found time for Morelli’s which is wonderful, and a wander as well as time on the beach. It’s such a lovely bit of coast.

  24. Charly Dove

    I’ve heard great things about Broadstairs, it sounds wonderful and what a fabulous piece of coastline. That first photograph particularly is just awesome. I love all the white rock, just beautiful 🙂

  25. awal

    I have a fascination to broadstairs only the picture make compel to visit it how it will be in real…….i am waiting for my money grow soon so that i visit broadstairs…..

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