Spotlight on Deal
PUBLISHED: 15:15 25 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:25 20 February 2013
First in the Daily Telegraph's '10 top spots to lay your beach towel', Deal is a friendly town with a romantic smuggling history, quaint narrow streets and a sensational promenade area and pier
The real Deal
First in the Daily Telegraphs 10 top spots to lay your beach towel, Deal is a friendly town with a romantic smuggling history, quaint narrow streets and a sensational promenade area and pier
Deal certainly lives up to its motto is Befriend the Stranger and has splendid Georgian white-painted terraces, quaint individual shops and artistic traditions.
There are ghosts of galleons in the Timeball Tower Museum where there was once a prosperous ship manufacturing yard, and the town won Pier of the Year in 2008.
In another era beautiful Lady Hamilton might have won Rear of the Year when she shocked Georgian Deal by cavorting with Admiral Nelson in the Royal Hotel in Beach Street. There are dens of warrens beneath some of the houses, excavated for Deals thriving community of smugglers.
Deal at a glance
There are ample parking facilities and Beach Street and Prince of Wales Terrace are the main promenade roads fronting the sea in front of Dunkerleys seafood restaurant is a grand, flower-filled promenade area.
The High Street (it becomes Victoria Road and The Strand), West Street and Middle Street run parallel to this seaside highway, these arteries joined together by smaller roads packed with atmosphere, several once being famous as smuggling dens.
The lovely town centre is largely pedestrianised, and there are some wonderful Georgian buildings in Victoria Road, whereas Middle Street is notable for Contraband Cottage and blue badges marking the house once belonging to comedy actor Charles Hawtrey and that of Admiral Nelsons friend Captain Parker.
Deal Pier, with caf bar, fishing decks and restaurant
St Georges church, a wonderful Georgian building with fine stained glass
Landmark Centre building, next to the church, incorporating the Visitor Information Centre (01304 369576) and caf
Deal Maritime and Local History museum (01304 381344)
Deal Castle (01304 372762) with underground passages and exhibits.
Tides leisure pool and indoor sports centre (01304 373399)
Timeball Tower and museum (01304 360897), with clocks, navigation instruments and interactive displays
Walmer Castle, with wonderful gardens and tearoom
Deal Memorial Bandstand, where summertime Sunday afternoon concerts are held
In the compact town centre most of the shops are small independents, however the major stores are also represented. There are many speciality food shops (hand-made chocolates, bakers, delicatessens), plus a Farmers Market is held every Wednesday at the town hall, and a Saturday market at Union Road car park.
Typical of the lively independents are the Burning Bush Gallery (see My Town), Tamarisk Boutique and Saras chocolates.
Food and drink
Dunkerleys (01304 375016) is an award-winning restaurant right on the wonderful seafront promenade, while La Bouche (01304 368881) is a welcoming and comfortable family run bistro-style French restaurant. 81 Beach Street (01304 368136) offers traditional food with a modern twist.
Excellent pubs include The Bohemian (01304 374843) (also an eatery), the historic Walmer Castle (01304 375248), and two fine Shepherd Neame pubs, the Deal Hoy (01304 363972) and The Royal Hotel (01304 375555).
Summer music festival
Deal festival of music and the arts runs from 29 June to 8 July and offers a wide range of music: opera, street music, cabaret, classical, world and jazz, as well as street theatre. Artists for 2012 include The Caliband, Kent County Youth Orchestra, Sospiro Saxophones, and Freddy Kempf.
Considering a move?
One- and two-bedroom flats cost in the region of 97,000 and 152,000 respectively, a three-bedroom semi around 204,000 and a four-bedroom detached house upwards of 320,000.
Deal is on the east Kent coast, midway between Sandwich and Dover. The best approach by road is via Dover, reached by the A2 or A20, which join the M2 and M20 respectively; from Dover take the A2 then the A258 (7.5 miles). There are regular trains to London (change at Dover), and Ashford International.
Satnav postcode: CT14 6BB
Designed Interiors (01304 381012) is a 40-year-old established family firm with a courtyard showroom for fitted kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. It also undertakes building projects.
Our customers tell us were very approachable, that we go that extra mile for them at competitive prices, says Clare Dickinson, showroom manager. Most of our work is from recommendations or returning customers once they use us for one project, they never want to have anyone else working on their house!
Regarding Deal, we love the countryside, the seaside weather and good transport links.
Sylvia Barrett is owner of Barrett Sports (01304 380799), which has been selling sports equipment for 24 years. Assisted by colleagues Wendy Annall and Christine Martin, they sell all types of sports items, accessories and clothing. Our customers like the fact we have such extensive experience, and were very friendly, says Sylvia. They also say how convenient it is, not having to go to a big town to find specialist sporting items. I love the friendly atmosphere of Deal, and the fact that a lot of the traders are independents, and we have the most beautiful seafront.
Penny Bearman, gallery owner
Tell us a bit about you
My husband Gerry and I are promoters of the arts and hold exhibitions and events at our gallery, The Burning Bush (01304 365464), which weve run for three years. The gallery is also a shop offering affordable art, sculpture, crafts and hand-made jewellery.
What do you like about Deal?
Ive lived in Deal for 25 years and while it is absolutely beautiful, its also a portal to the world everybody seems to pass through at some point, bringing a fresh feeling to its natural sense of community. Deal has a growing cultural scene that appeals to all tastes, and it has a very inclusive nature.
Tell us about the Spirit of Deal arts project
We collected images from local artists and printed them onto banners to hang in the empty windows of recession-hit shops. The artists had exposure, the town was brightened up and visitors got a taste of the cultural and artistic diversity Deal can be proud of.
What about your art around town?
I painted some murals on the old Regent Cinema on the seafront, the Marines Mural near the bandstand, and the Quarterdeck murals in the High Street. The idea was to brighten up empty properties and show the vibrancy of Deal. They were all very popular and I got some great feedback, but more importantly, many of the empty shops were soon occupied by new businesses!
Have you been involved in any other projects?
A few years ago I started Loose Cannon, part of which was a Romans in Deal event where local schoolchildren created Roman shields and helmets. We had live music on the green and a 12ft Julius Caesar leading children up the beach.
Are there many artists in Deal?
There certainly are and it attracts more all the time. Our recent Deal Open show featuring local artists was oversubscribed, so were planning twice yearly shows in future.
Whats your favourite place?
I love the pier because you can feel as if youre walking out to sea without getting your feet wet.
How would you improve the town?
Id like Dover District Council to let us keep our community buildings and grant us a visitors centre to house a Deal museum and cultural centre.
Can you sum up Deal in a sentence?
My daughter, who lives in Liverpool, calls Deal eye candy. But I think Deal is definitely good for the soul as well as the eye!