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. There's a retro feel to these harbour towns, with vintage and independent stores, or escapism sitting on the sandy beaches taking in the views.
Regeneration has seen the revival of Dreamland - an iconic amusement park reimagined with vintage rides, pop-up entertainment, live music, street food, bars and restaurants.
The treasure trove of curios at the Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex Park range from Angolan fertility dolls to Japanese jade. Quex Park Estate is home to Quex Barn, a deli-meets-farmers'-market-meets restaurant packed with gorgeous local produce. 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 these literary links at the Dickens House Museum - once home to Miss Mary Pearson Strong, aka Miss Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield.
Broadstairs boasts seven beautiful beaches and bays. Highlights include the creamy chalk stacks of Botany Bay and the curling, Viking Bay. Joss Bay Surf School gets you riding the waves, while inland, costumed guides bring history vividly to life on a St Peter’s Village Tour.
Ramsgate offers a waterside café culture, swish marina and award-winning sandy beach. Visit The Grange, the Gothic home of architect Augustus Pugin or St Augustine’s Church for the family vault and the shrine to St Augustine. Take a tour of the WWII Ramsgate Tunnels, head out on 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.