After seeing that a few friends had enjoyed a coastal break to Margate, Whitstable and Broadstairs on Facebook, I knew I had to plan my own. Their Instagram feeds were lit up with vibrant ferris wheels, gorgeous stretches of sand and independent boutiques that I knew I could spend far too much money in.
So off I went to spend 48 hours in Kent’s dreamy seafront towns so I could pass on a collection of tips for you to make the most of this beautiful part of the UK.
Let us begin with Margate…
As you may or may not have seen in recent months, succulents have become a massive thing. So much so, that I began my own collection. And this is why etcetera is my pick for Margate – not only is it like walking through an urban rainforest, it’s shop owners know their stuff when it comes to the spiky little green plants. If you’re not a fan of succulents, then you’ll also find chic city guides, minimalist ceramics and colourful homeware. It’s a tropical gem right in the heart of Margate’s Old Town.
Find it: 35 Hawley St, Margate CT9 1QA
If I had to sum up Margate in 3 words, it’d be old school kitsch. Forever a traditional amusement park, one that no doubt your parents will remember, Dreamland fell into disrepair for 12 years – until now. Complete with a ferris wheel, haunted house and helter skelter to name a few – as well as old-fashioned hot dogs – you’ll fall in love with this retro slice of heaven. I visited on a sunny day, which was fortunate as most of it is outside but if you visit on a rainy day, there’s always an indoor roller rink!
Find it: Marine Terrace, Margate, Kent CT9 1XJ
After wandering around Margate for a few hours, it was time to nab something to munch on and I’d been recommended The Greedy Cow. Having missed breakfast, I opted for a pulled pork burger, complete with a mozzarella, tomato and basil salad. It was incredible. The flavour of that burger is something that’ll stay with me for a long time. What’s more the interior was just how I’d decorate a restaurant – wooden benches, pastel walls and local art work. To top it all off, they serve a mean cup of coffee.
Find it: 3 Market Place, Old Town, Margate, Kent CT9 1ER
On to Whitstable…
Over the past 10 years, this little boutique has sold only the best in arts and crafts from designers across the UK. Here you’ll find colourful artsy prints, coffee table books, farmhouse ceramics and woodblock sculptures. Part shop, part gallery – if you love vibrant colours, etsy and geometric design, then this is the place for you. I struggled to come away with a bracelet and a cushion but I’d already spent a fair amount on succulents that day, #SorryNotSorry.
Find it: 65 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AG
In the heart of Whitstable is its beautiful harbour. Built in 1831, locals and visitors alike have been diving, shipbuilding and fishing here for decades. If I’d have been able to, I would have picked up the catch of the day down at the fish market, for sure but I settled for a 99 covered in rainbow sprinkles instead… If you’re a fan of Instagram, then you’ll love the painted beach huts that line the shore or the equally colourful fishing boats all lined up after their early morning voyage.
Find it: Whitstable Harbour, Whitstable, CT5 1AG
This is where I had one of the best brunches of my life and that is no exaggeration. Selected from the best British seasonal produce in the local area, I munched on peppered poached eggs and avocados on toast with a soy flat white – crafted to perfection. This delicious brunch definitely set me up for my stroll down to the harbour, especially with how friendly the owners were. I’d recommend booking in advance though, especially if you want a window seat in one of the bistro’s cubby holes, it gets really busy!
Find it: 4 High St, Whitstable CT5 1BQ
And lastly, Broadstairs…
Where To Shop – Sweet Yesterdays
To top off the weekend, I headed to the Victorian-looking Sweet Yesterdays and what a treat it was! Just like the sweet shops I could remember as a child (or Mr Simms, if you happen to be near one), this treasure housed every sweet I could have possibly wanted. With over 400 confectionaries, including sugar free and toffee options, I opted for pineapple cubes, cola bottles and jazzies. I also bagged a few sticks of rainbow and peppermint rock for friends and family, the fun kind with their names in them.
Find it: 33 High Street, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1JR
Who doesn’t love a view with their pick’n’mix? Just down the high street, you’ll come upon Viking Bay. This beautiful horse-shoe shaped sandy bay and timeless boardwalk is undoubtedly the main attraction in Broadstairs. In fact, it’s renowned as Charles Dicken’s seafront holiday destination – he even wrote ‘Our English Watering Place’ as an ode to the coastal town. If I ever go back, I’ll be checking out the local Surf School, open from March to October – it looked like a riot in the choppy waves!
Find it: Victoria Parade, Broadstairs CT10 1NB
Walking away from the coast, I came upon this little cafe down a side street. What’s more, it happened to be the exact time that I needed a savoury snack. With a hidden garden out the back and a handful of tables in the cafe-cum-beach hut, I munched on a cheesy panini and sipped on a pot of tea. The food was both fresh and not overpriced, which you couldn’t say the same for on the main promenade. It proved to be a really peaceful end to an amazing weekend discovering, what I’d now call, the best of Kent.
Find it: 15 Oscar Rd, Broadstairs CT10 1QJ
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the area, that can be used as a hub, then its definitely worth checking out The Yarrow Hotel. Unique in its concept as a training hotel for East Kent College students, you’ll not have witnessed such friendly service and incredible value before. During my stay, everything I experienced was personal to me – my spa experience, the Michelin starred menu and the warm introduction – it provided exactly what you’d expect from a boutique hotel and more.
Find it: Ramsgate Rd, Broadstairs CT10 1PN
If you’ve got any of your own tips for any of these classic seaside towns, then leave them below!