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Broadstairs Day trips

Broadstairs PierBroadstairs is a few miles around the headland from Margate, and if you want to enjoy the beautiful coastline and wonderful sandy bays of this region take the coastal road from Margate all the way to Broadstairs. To do this you need to follow the Margate seafront east and exit the town via the Eastern Esplanade and Palm Bay Avenue then turn right into Princess Margaret Avenue leading into Queen Elizabeth Avenue. At the junction turn left into Northdown Park Road and continue straight into George Hill Road and Whiteness Road.

This will take you onto the coastal road into Broadstairs. The coast from here to Broadstairs is comprised of seven bays. Firstly, we find Botany Bay. It is said that this is so named because the typical fate for captured smugglers was to be sent by convent ship to Botany Bay, Australia. In the late 18th century this spot was the site of a huge battle between smugglers and revenue men. In fact the whole of this coastline, from the River Medway to Ramsgate was notorious for smuggling gangs during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it is hard to believe that it saw such violence as, although a very popular beach, it is quiet and peaceful with a sandy bay of around 200 metres long and has a Blue Flag Award.

The next bay on the way to Broadstairs town is Kingsgate Bay. A little smaller at 150 metres long this beach is great for people looking to get away from other visitors. It has a sandy beach that is quiet and secluded with some great sea caves to explore. Interestingly this bay's name was changed from St. Bartholomew's Bay when, in C17th, Charles II had to land here after his ship was caught in a storm. In between this bay and the next, Joss Bay, you can see Kingsland Castle, formerly, Holland House, once the home of the unscrupulous C18th politician, Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland. The castle is now a privately owned and converted into apartments to rent at very expensive prices. On the other side of Kingsgate Bay you can see the castellated Captain Digby pub.

The original of this building was built by Fox as an annexe to Holland House, where he would entertain his guests. The original building fell into the sea in 1816 and the current one was built in the same year where the old stables used to stand. Its appearance has changed little since those days. The next bay you come to is Joss Bay which with its 200 metre sandy beach is a popular choice for families. Joss Bay has good car parking facilities and also a promenade and amusements for children. It also is well known as the best surfing beach on the Thanet coastline and, although the waves are not as impressive as you may find in Cornwall, they are good enough for the novice surfer, children, or just to have great fun in. The beach has a cafe as well as trained lifeguards patrolling and a Surf School for those wishing to learn more or hire boards and wetsuits. Joss Bay is also well-known due to the activities of the infamous Joss Snelling an C18th smuggler whose life's career was spent smuggling contraband around this area. He taught the trade to his son and grandson and, although once captured, was acquitted due to lack of concrete evidence. He was so famous that, in 1929, he was presented to the future Queen Victoria as the 'famous Broadstairs smuggler'. He continued in his profession until dying peacefully at the ripe old age of 96. After Joss Bay you reach the peaceful and charming Stone Bay. Although named, Stone Bay, it has in fact a sandy beach. Excellent for children. it has a Blue Flag award and many rock pools to play in. You can get to the bay by one of two sets of steps which go down the cliffs. Stone Bay was also the setting for John Buchan's book 'The 39 Steps'.

louise bayWithin easy walking distance of Stone Bay you come to Broadstairs itself with its main beach, Viking Bay. Originally this bay was known as Main Sands but its name was changed in 1949 when a replica Viking ship sailed from Denmark to here to commemorate the 449AD sailing of Hengist to the Isle of Thanet. The golden, sandy beach is quite small at 150 metres long, patrolled by lifeguards and boasting a Blue Flag award as well as a Quality Coast Award, it has everything you want for a perfect day at the seaside: A cliff-top promenade, a small harbour and pier where you can see some working boats and fishermen fishing from the end of the pier. Also on the pier is a small fun fair for children, ice cream and candyfloss stalls and a popular cafe. There are surf boards and belly boards for hire, donkey rides and, in August, a traditional Punch and Judy show. From Whitsun until the end of September, Broadstairs now operates a free, daily beach lift although the beach is easily accessible by foot from the harbour entrance. It is easily accessible to all and has a boardwalk the length of the beach for wheelchair users or people pushing prams.

Like many of the seaside resorts along this coast, Broadstairs was originally a small fishing village, formerly known as Bradstow meaning 'broad place'. It is one of the most attractive seaside towns in the area, rich in history without having been spoilt by modern town planning or the architecture of 1960s. Neither did it seem to succumb to the 'modernisation ' and mass hotel building brought about by the growth of visitors that affected its neighbours at Margate or Ramsgate. Much of the original seafront is unchanged from when it was originally built. Like much of this coastal region, it has a deep maritime history as well as a strong connection with smuggling. As you enter the town you will notice the North Foreland Lighthouse which marks the entrance to the Thames River. It was the last manned lighthouse in the country, converting to automatic operation as late as 1998. Also, at nearly every corner of the town you will see reminders of the town's association with the famous writer, Charles Dickens. Read more about Broadstairs Kent .

2007 travel guides