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Guide to the best Kent beaches

PUBLISHED: 13:41 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:43 24 May 2018

The seafront at Hythe (photo: Rachel Beer, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The seafront at Hythe (photo: Rachel Beer, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Archant

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Littlestone Beach

Satnav postcode: TN28 8NQ

Littlestone Beach is a large beach where the sands at low tide spread out about half a mile. There are plenty of pubs, a slipway and picnic sites to enjoy. The beach is also a popular destination for Sand yachting.

St Mary’s Bay

Satnav postcode: TN29 0RN

St Mary’s Bay is a long sandy beach which stretches north to Dymchurch and south to Littlestone-on-Sea. It offers safe bathing and, at low tide, the sands extend out about half a mile.

St Mary's Bay - Kent

Dymchurch Beach

Satnav postcode: TN29 0NL

Dymchurch beach possesses a wide expanse of sand that is perfect for sunbathing. And if you ever tire of the sands then the nearby miniature railway is a useful distraction. Opened in 1927, it’s reported to be the world’s tiniest.

Hythe

Satnav postcode: CT21 6DE

A steep shingle beach, with a promenade running behind it, Hythe is a great place for angling, sunbathing, swimming, kite-flying and water sports. Nearby Fishermans Beach is a working beach, where catches are processed and prepared for delivery to hotels and restaurants. A retail shop provides fresh, smoked and frozen fish and also shellfish.

Hythe seafront

Sandgate Beach

Satnav postcode: CT21 5RJ

Sandgate Beach is an area of shingle beach on the Folkestone Leas end of Sandgate, which is well used by locals. In the past it has been frequented by naturists. But the recent enforcement of an ancient council byelaw has limited instances of disrobing.

Folkestone Beach

Satnav postcode: CT19 6AU

The sand and shingle beach in a bay, Folkestone Beach, is a great place to collect fossils or go fishing. Best of all is the lift that takes you to the beach. Recently re-opened by the Folkestone Leas Lift Community Interest Company, this water-powered funicular offers a stylish way to descend to the beach below.

Folkestone beach

Dover Harbour Beach

Satnav postcode: CT16 1LA

Dover Harbour Beach is a shingle beach sheltered within the harbour walls, known locally as being a magnet for the sun. Fans of the more exotic might find the occasional sighting of seals within the harbour to be an added draw.

St Margarets Bay

Satnav postcode: CT15 6DX

St Margarets Bay is renowned for being the closest point to France and consequently where Channel swimmers begin their marathon 21-mile swim. The white chalk cliffs above the bay are said to be the first place the sun reaches each morning on mainland Britain. The beach itself is a mix of sand and shingle.

A view along the beach St Margarets bay Kent [shared]

Deal Castle Beach

Satnav postcode: CT14 6HY

With a long stretch of open shingle, popular in summer with residents and visitors alike, Deal Castle beach is a great place for sailing, sea canoeing and windsurfing. For history buffs, nearby Deal Castle is also worth a visit.

Sandwich Bay

Satnav postcode: CT13 9QB

The whole of the beach at Sandwich is a long sandy bay. At the southern end there’s a steep stone beach which protects a private estate. Parts of Sandwich Bay are owned by the National Trust, so access to some areas may be restricted to protect breeding birds.

Sandwich Bay

Ramsgate Main Sands

Satnav postcode: CT11 8JD

The good, old-fashioned beach resort of Ramsgate Main Sands is a magnet for families in summer. The Royal Harbour (a title bestowed on it by George IV in 1821) and marina (where you can get that seaside grub like fish and chips and ice cream) is right next door and there are children’s rides on the beach itself.

Ramsgate Western Undercliff

Satnav postcode: CT11 9PH

Although the main beach at Ramsgate doesn’t get that crowded, for those who desire a degree of seclusion while still being near a big town, then the small, sandy beach of Ramsgate Western Undercliff is well worth a visit. It also has the added bonus of a sea-water bathing pool at the west end of the beach.

Ramsgate Western Undercliff

Broadstairs Viking Bay

Satnav postcode: CT10 1QS

The main bay in Broadstairs, Viking Bay, is easily accessible for all now that it has a lift open daily during the summer. Fans of the traditional English seaside experience are well catered for here, with ample tea-shops, ice cream stalls and children’s rides.

Joss Bay

Satnav postcode: CT10 3PG

The quiet, sandy Joss Bay, sheltered by white chalk cliffs with rocks at either end, is very popular with surfers (wind and tide permitting). The bay was named after an 18th-century smuggler Joss Snelling, head of the Callis Court Gang.

Joss Bay_134

Stone Bay

Satnav postcode: CT10 1ED

A quiet arc of sand cradled by chalky cliffs, Stone Bay is a great place for kids to go rock pooling. Access is via one of two steep flights of steps (the beach is the setting for John Buchan’s novel, The 39 Steps), or along the promenade from Viking Bay.

Botany Bay

Satnav postcode: CT10 3LG

So named because smugglers who were caught were deported to Botany Bay in Australia, this quiet sandy bay is the most northerly of Broadstairs’ seven bays. It’s great for swimming, perfect for families, and has lots of rock pools to explore.

Botany Bay Kingsgate

Margate Fulsam Rock

Satnav postcode: CT9 1HN

The sandy Margate Fulsam Rock beach has a harbour wall at the western end and a lido at the eastern end. There are extensive underwater rock formations just offshore along the length of the beach which are exposed at low water. At times the beach cannot be used as it gets entirely covered by the incoming tide.

Margate Sands

Satnav postcode: CT9 1XJ

Margate’s main beach, Margate Sands, is some 200 metres long and comes with a promenade, tidal bathing pool and children’s rides. This is a very popular resort bay and can at times get quite crowded.

Margate

Westbrook Bay

Satnav postcode: CT9 5DW

Westbrook Bay is a sandy beach with shallow waters perfect for young children to paddle in. It is popular with windsurfers and kite boarders, with the nearby attractions of Margate too.

St Mildreds Bay

Satnav postcode: CT8 8AU

St Mildreds is a sandy bay with a promenade, cliffs and many interesting rock pools for kids to investigate. Behind the sea wall, pretty beach huts are dotted about and a succession of friendly cafés add a continental flavour.

St Mildreds Bay 1

West Bay (Westgate)

Satnav postcode: CT8 8QG

West Bay in Westgate is a sandy bay with rocky areas and cliffs. The sand here is good for sandcastles and there are lots of little rock pools to explore. Although the sea encroaches somewhat when the tide comes in, once out the children can paddle happily in the shallows.

Minnis Bay

Satnav postcode: CT7 9QR

In comparison with the nearby resorts of Margate and Broadstairs, this sandy bay has a rural feel. By day, there’s plenty to keep you occupied, with kite-boarding and windsurfing lessons, seal-watching boat trips and coastal walks.

Looking west from near Minnis Bay

Herne Bay

Satnav postcode: CT6 6BA. Herne Bay Central satnav postcode: CT6 8RH

Herne Bay has everything you could you ask for from a Victorian English seaside town: wooden beach huts, a shingle beach and fish and chip shops galore. There used to be a lengthy pier here once but a fire destroyed the central section some years ago, leaving the end of the pier isolated out to sea.

Tankerton Beach

Satnav postcode: TN29 0TY

From the attractive Marine Parade, grassy banks slope down to the shingled Tankerton Beach, passing some pretty wooden huts along the way. At low tide a long pleasant walk can take you right out to sea - ideal for paddling and exploring the rock pools.

The Street, Tankerton.

Whitstable West Beach

Satnav postcode: CT5 1FB

Affectionately known as Islington-on-Sea, gentrified Whitstable was in the forefront of the recent British seaside revival. The beauty of the long shingled West Beach is complemented by jaunty beach huts, ramshackle wooden groynes and oyster stalls at the harbour.

Leysdown on Sea

Satnav postcode: ME12 4QB

On the Isle of Sheppey, Leysdown on Sea is a sandy beach bounded by flood defences and backed by a promenade. It’s a very peaceful beach with shallow waters; ideal for a paddle.

Leysdown-on-Sea

Sheerness Beach

Satnav postcode: ME12 2TF

Near the mouth of the Thames and Medway estuaries, Sheerness Beach is a shingle beach, bordered by a wide expanse of green open space which leads to the promenade. Gardens separate the town centre from the beach.

Minster Leas

Satnav postcode: ME12 2EG

Minster Leas is a long sand and shingle beach facing north-east on the Isle of Sheppey, retaining a rural character. The beach is backed by marshes and the historic town of Minster.

Shingle Beach Minster Leas

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