Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate
'A world-class art gallery, gourmet dining and adrenaline-fuelled water sports, plus 15 spectacular beaches and bays - a revitalised corner of Kent awaits.
Kent's northeast tip has always been cosmopolitan with its European connections, but these days there's even more creative flair in the air. Stunning sea- and sky-scapes famously drew JMW Turner to Margate, fittingly home to the acclaimed Turner Contemporary gallery, which brilliantly showcases historical and contemporary works.
Artistic energy infuses an Isle where surf schools rub shoulders with ice cream parlours, chic eateries neighbour traditional chippies; and funky cafés, studios and shops pepper the streets of Margate Old Town. There's a retro feel to these harbour towns, with vintage and independent stores galore, or sit on the secluded, sands at beautiful Botany Bay.
Regeneration has seen the revival of Dreamland being creatively led by multi-award winning designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE. The opening of 'The UK's original Pleasure Park' with historic rides, classic side shows, eateries and evocative spaces set within a landscape ideal for hosting themed festivals and special events.
The treasure trove of curios at the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex Park range from Angolan fertility dolls to Japanese jade. The Quex Park estate is also home to Quex Barn, a deli-meets-farmers'-market-meets restaurant packed with gorgeous local produce. Back in Margate, award-winning The Ambrette pioneers curry-free, modern Indian cuisine. Expect a feast of playtime nostalgia at Hornby Visitor Centre, with its model railways, Scalextric tracks and Corgi toys. The Shell Grotto showcases subterranean passages lined with 4.6 million shells.
Characterful Broadstairs was Charles Dickens’ "freshest, freest place"; explore those literary links at the Dickens House Museum - once home to Miss Mary Pearson Strong, aka Miss Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield.
Broadstairs also boasts seven beautiful beaches and coves. Highlights include the creamy chalk stacks of Botany Bay and the curling, Seaside Award Viking Bay. Joss Bay Surf School gets you riding the waves, while inland, costumed guides bring history vividly to life on the St Peter’s Village Tour.
For sweet treats, retro-style, head to one of the resort's famous ice cream parlours - Morelli's or Chiappinis. The seafront Royal Albion Hotel teams Georgian elegance with 21st century comforts; Charles Dickens slept here too. Or head to the cliff-top The Botany Bay Hotel, for chic rooms and panoramic sea-views.
Ramsgate is a wonderful blend of maritime heritage that can be learnt about at Ramsgate Maritime Museum, architectural finery with Georgian and Regency squares and cosmopolitan pizzazz.
Foodie favourite Ramsgate offers a waterside café culture, swish marina and an award-winning sandy beach. Visit The Grange, the Gothic home of architect Augustus Pugin or St Augustine’s Church with the family vault. Take a tour of the WWII Ramsgate Tunnels, head out of a boat trip from the only Royal Harbour in the country or learn about the history and ideas of home computers at The Micro Museum.
The three towns and surrounding villages are conveniently close, and these days only 75 minutes from central London. Cycle or hike between them on the Viking Coastal Trail, along a stunning shoreline and through tranquil lanes. Hire bikes in Margate or at Minnis Bay.
Discover more at www.visitthanet.co.uk