Spotlight on Broadstairs, Kent. Find out why Dickens loved this seaside town

PUBLISHED: 13:42 19 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:42 20 February 2013

Dock

Dock

Known as Star of the Sea, you'll quickly realise why Dickens loved this charismatic seaside town with its beautiful beaches and bays...


Broadstairs is a lively, happy town, surrounded by

seven beautiful sandy bays; theres a splendid promenade with lovely gardens and plenty of interesting little shops, plus a

wealth of literary associations.

Charles Dickens spent much time here and there are countless references to the great writer as well as a

Dickens House and an annual Dickens Festival. Bleak House the dramatic clifftop mansion visible for miles around was where he wrote part of David Copperfield.

August is traditionally Broadstairs Folk Week, when the main streets

are closed to traffic and venues all around town are taken over by musicians and dancers.

Around town

There are five car parks, and plenty of on-street parking (apart from during Folk Week, when car spaces are likely to be rare). Dickens House (it doubles as the Tourist Information Centre) is in Victoria Gardens, the seafront road, one of a number of grand, sparkling-white buildings.

The seafront itself is at a lower level, and here youll find the Promenade,

a number of beautifully landscaped gardens, the bandstand and beach.

The steeply rising High Street leads away from the sea and as well as the shops youll find Raglan Place, a

neat row of charming old cottages.

Key roads include Albion Street, with the handsome Royal Albion

hotel and some beguiling alleys that lead to the seafront. Harbour Street

is also particularly attractive, with

the old Curiosity Shop Tea Rooms, next door to which is a square of cottages and a wishing well; further down here is York Gate.

Where to eat and drink

The Posillipo (%01843 601133) Italian restaurant is described as a slice of Naples in Kent, and specialises in seafood, as does the excellent Tartar Frigate (% 01843 862013), one of the only 18th-century flint restaurants in Kent, with views across Viking Bay. Phileas Fogg (%01843 866500) offers authentic dishes from around the world.

A great pub thats also right on the beach is The Pavilion (%01843 600999), and other fine drinking places include Ye Olde Crown (%01843 861747) the White Swan (% 01843 863051) and the

Dolphin Inn (%01843 861056).

Where to shop

A fine range of high-street stores at nearby Westwood Cross Shopping centre, as well as a 10-screen multiplex cinema, but in town most of the shops are small and individual.

Albion Street has two antique shops and three bookshops, there are several art galleries and antique shops, three bookshops, craft shops and a number of fashion outlets, as well as some good gift stores. Broadstairs Farmers Market is held on the harbour on Sundays from 10am-3pm.


What the Dickens?

Broadstairs is a lively, happy town, surrounded byseven beautiful sandy bays; theres a splendid promenade with lovely gardens and plenty of interesting little shops, plus awealth of literary associations.Charles Dickens spent much time here and there are countless references to the great writer as well as aDickens House and an annual Dickens Festival. Bleak House the dramatic clifftop mansion visible for miles around was where he wrote part of David Copperfield.August is traditionally Broadstairs Folk Week, when the main streetsare closed to traffic and venues all around town are taken over by musicians and dancers.
Around townThere are five car parks, and plenty of on-street parking (apart from during Folk Week, when car spaces are likely to be rare). Dickens House (it doubles as the Tourist Information Centre) is in Victoria Gardens, the seafront road, one of a number of grand, sparkling-white buildings.The seafront itself is at a lower level, and here youll find the Promenade,a number of beautifully landscaped gardens, the bandstand and beach.The steeply rising High Street leads away from the sea and as well as the shops youll find Raglan Place, aneat row of charming old cottages.Key roads include Albion Street, with the handsome Royal Albionhotel and some beguiling alleys that lead to the seafront. Harbour Streetis also particularly attractive, withthe old Curiosity Shop Tea Rooms, next door to which is a square of cottages and a wishing well; further down here is York Gate.
Where to eat and drinkThe Posillipo Italian restaurant is described as a slice of Naples in Kent, and specialises in seafood, as does the excellent Tartar Frigate, one of the only 18th-century flint restaurants in Kent, with views across Viking Bay. Phileas Fogg offers authentic dishes from around the world.A great pub thats also right on the beach is The Pavilion, and other fine drinking places include Ye Olde Crown the White Swan and theDolphin Inn.
Where to shopA fine range of high-street stores at nearby Westwood Cross Shopping centre, as well as a 10-screen multiplex cinema, but in town most of the shops are small and individual.Albion Street has two antique shops and three bookshops, there are several art galleries and antique shops, three bookshops, craft shops and a number of fashion outlets, as well as some good gift stores. Broadstairs Farmers Market is held on the harbour on Sundays from 10am-3pm.

Bay Watch



Botany Bay

This natural bay with chalk cliffs, near Margate, was the site of a battle between smugglers and revenue men in the 18th century. Walk along the clifftop to Ramsgate.

Kingsgate Bay

Overlooked by the Captain Digby pub and Kingsgate Castle (now private flats), this bay has a fine secluded sandy beach and some of the best sea caves in the UK.

Joss Bay

Just beyond Kingsgate Castle and popular with surfers, the surfing school is based there (see pxx). Surfboards and wet-suit hire.

North Foreland

Beside Joss Bay and most notable for the North Foreland lighthouse, Englands oldest working lighthouse.

Stone Bay

Approached by a descending footpath from Stone Road or steps from the Eastern Esplanade (disabled access). Has chalk cliffs, rock pools and a promenade.

Viking Bay

Largest of the bays, directly below the town, has a harbour and sailing club, promenade, harbour pier and boardwalk. Host to Kent Surf school, surf ski, donkey rides, Punch & Judy.

Louisa Bay

Sandy bay ideal for rock pooling and sand castles. Childrens activities and disabled access.

Dumpton Gap

Most southerly of the bays, with rocks, a promenade and a low-tide walking route to Ramsgate. Disabled access, but its very steep.


Botany BayThis natural bay with chalk cliffs, near Margate, was the site of a battle between smugglers and revenue men in the 18th century. Walk along the clifftop to Ramsgate.

Kingsgate BayOverlooked by the Captain Digby pub and Kingsgate Castle (now private flats), this bay has a fine secluded sandy beach and some of the best sea caves in the UK.


Joss BayJust beyond Kingsgate Castle and popular with surfers, the surfing school is based there (see pxx). Surfboards and wet-suit hire.


North ForelandBeside Joss Bay and most notable for the North Foreland lighthouse, Englands oldest working lighthouse.


Stone BayApproached by a descending footpath from Stone Road or steps from the Eastern Esplanade (disabled access). Has chalk cliffs, rock pools and a promenade.


Viking BayLargest of the bays, directly below the town, has a harbour and sailing club, promenade, harbour pier and boardwalk. Host to Kent Surf school, surf ski, donkey rides, Punch & Judy.


Louisa BaySandy bay ideal for rock pooling and sand castles. Childrens activities and disabled access.

Dumpton GapMost southerly of the bays, with rocks, a promenade and a low-tide walking route to Ramsgate. Disabled access, but its very steep.


Festival



Folk Week

5-12 Aug

Festival of music, song and dance. Hundreds of events, concerts, shows, dancing in the streets, workshops, craft fairs and ceilidhs. Among headliners, this year are: Barbara Dickson, Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, Roy Bailey, Heidi Talbot with John McCusker and Boo Hewardine and Les Barker, Vin Garbutt and the Home Service. Key venues are the concert marquee in Pierremont Park, The Pavilion pub, the bandstand, the Sailing club, The Crampton Museum and various pubs, church halls and cafs around town.

Water Gala

17 Aug

A family funfair, childrens competitions, decorated beach huts, sandcastle building, musical entertainment, water-based activities, Teddy bears picnic, firework finale

Broadstairs Food Festival

30 Sep-2 Oct

Held in Victoria Gardens and Victoria Parade. More than 70 stallholders will present the best of Kents produce.

Folk Week5-12 AugFestival of music, song and dance. Hundreds of events, concerts, shows, dancing in the streets, workshops, craft fairs and ceilidhs. Among headliners, this year are: Barbara Dickson, Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, Roy Bailey, Heidi Talbot with John McCusker and Boo Hewardine and Les Barker, Vin Garbutt and the Home Service. Key venues are the concert marquee in Pierremont Park, The Pavilion pub, the bandstand, the Sailing club, The Crampton Museum and various pubs, church halls and cafs around town.
Water Gala17 AugA family funfair, childrens competitions, decorated beach huts, sandcastle building, musical entertainment, water-based activities, Teddy bears picnic, firework finale
Broadstairs Food Festival30 Sep-2 OctHeld in Victoria Gardens and Victoria Parade. More than 70 stallholders will present the best of Kents produce.


Broadstairs is on the eastern edge of the Isle of Thanet, between Margate and Ramsgate. Youll find it on the A255 about 20 miles from Dover and 80 from London. There are rail links to London (taking about two hours) and other Kent towns and good bus and coach connections
Traveline 0871 200 2233
Satnav postcode: CT10 1QS

More from Out & About

Kent Life looks at the environmental impact of the clothes we wear and why we need to be checking our shopping habits and wardrobes

Read more
Monday, March 30, 2020

We’ve teamed up with Island Cottage Holidays and Isle of Wight Distillery to offer one lucky winner the chance to win £500 of holiday vouchers and a gin set

Read more
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Animals are always a source of joy so we have gathered some zoos and wildlife parks across the country (and beyond) that are livestreaming animal enclosures

Read more
ThereWithYou

Towered over by its iconic cathedral, the streets of this city have so many stories to tell

Read more

With Ash dieback on the increase, we look at how a Kent project is celebrating this much-loved tree’s special place in local culture

Read more
Monday, March 23, 2020

Thanks to the Guardians of the Deep project, Kent now has 11 Marine Conservation Zones

Read more
Friday, March 20, 2020

Kent has many castles and stately homes, but we have hand selected the ten best castles in Kent for you to visit

Read more

Admired by ancient royalty, set on a peaceful creek and packed with all kinds of attractions for modern visitors, we explore the historic streets of Faversham

Read more

With exciting news about the future of Betteshanger Park, a vibrant, artistic community - and great fishing, Deal stays true to its roots while appealing to modern visitors

Read more
Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 marks 125 years since the founding of the National Trust - and Kent has always played a huge part in its story

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life