Broadstairs: Discovering Kent’s Seaside Jewel – A Comprehensive Guide

Broadstairs: Discovering Kent's Seaside Jewel - A Comprehensive Guide


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Take a step back in time and prepare to be charmed by Broadstairs, Kent’s captivating seaside jewel. Rich with literary heritage, blessed with pristine beaches, adorned with quintessential English charm, and brimming with history, Broadstairs presents itself as a timeless beauty. It’s a place that takes you on a fascinating journey, where every corner whispers tales of the past, every vista leaves you spellbound, and every moment becomes a cherished memory. Let’s embark on this exciting journey, and discover what makes Broadstairs truly special.

Exploring the Charm of Broadstairs key takeaways

  • A Journey into Literary History: Broadstairs offers an enriching historical experience through its landmarks, especially for literature lovers. The town’s connection to Charles Dickens, encapsulated in places like Bleak House and the Dickens House Museum, provides an intriguing insight into the past.
  • A Feast for the Senses: From the tantalizing flavors of the Broadstairs Food Festival to the soothing sounds of the Broadstairs Folk Week, this charming town ensures that there’s never a dull moment for your senses.
  • Glorious Beaches: With seven unique bays offering everything from tranquility to adventure, Broadstairs is the perfect seaside destination. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or a lively beach day, there’s a bay for everyone.
  • The Harmony of Old and New: Broadstairs’ architecture, blending Victorian charm with modern comfort, offers a unique aesthetic experience. Strolling through the quaint streets, one can marvel at the harmonious coexistence of history and contemporaneity.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Whether you’re hiking along the scenic Thanet Coastal Path, learning to ride the waves with Broadstairs Surf School, or jetty jumping at the harbour, Broadstairs is teeming with outdoor activities for the adventurous spirit.

Traveling to Broadstairs: The Start of Your Coastal Adventure

Broadstairs welcomes visitors all year round with its appealing coastal character. However, the best time to visit Broadstairs is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is pleasant and perfect for beach activities. This is also when the town hosts some of its most vibrant festivals like Broadstairs Folk Week and Dickens Festival. It’s worth noting though that these are also the busiest months, so if you prefer a quieter visit, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) or autumn (September to November).

By Train: A Direct Route from London’s Hustle to Broadstairs’ Calm

The high-speed train from St. Pancras International provides the fastest route, with trains leaving roughly every hour and the journey time being approximately 1.5 hours. You can check out the train schedules and book tickets on the National Rail website. For a slower, more scenic route, regular trains from Victoria Station take around 2 hours. Be sure to grab a seat on the right side of the train for the best views of the picturesque Kent countryside.

By Bus: Savoring the Picturesque Journey

Travelers can choose between National Express and Megabus services. National Express buses depart from London Victoria Coach Station with the journey typically lasting around 3.5 to 4 hours. You can check the schedule and book tickets on the National Express website.

Various tickets can be more budget-friendly, especially if booked in advance. For schedules, fares, and ticket booking, you can visit the busbud website.

Choose the option that fits your schedule and budget the best, and enjoy a scenic ride!

By Car: An Exciting Road Trip to the Coast

If you prefer driving, you can take the M2 and A299 from London, a journey that usually takes about 2 hours. Be sure to check the AA’s Route Planner for the best routes and real-time traffic updates. Broadstairs offers various parking options, ranging from pay-and-display car parks to free parking areas. For detailed parking information, visit the Thanet District Council’s website.

Experience Broadstairs’ Victorian Charm

Broadstairs is like a Victorian novel come to life, and walking through the town is like turning its pages.

Saunter along Broadstairs’ Historic Promenade and Cliff-top Walk

Begin with a leisurely stroll along the promenade, where Victorian shelters and quaint beach huts line the cliff-top walk, offering panoramic views of the coast. Watch as the seagulls soar above the azure waves crashing against the sandy beaches below.

Discover the Quaint Streets and Classic Victorian Architecture

Wander the labyrinth of charming streets, adorned with traditional Victorian buildings, each whispering tales from a bygone era. The town’s architectural elegance is sure to transport you back in time, creating a wonderfully nostalgic ambiance.

Immerse in Broadstairs’ Iconic Landmarks

Broadstairs is home to many landmarks that are rich in history and significance, each telling their own unique story.

Visit Bleak House: A Significant Literary Landmark

Stand in awe at Bleak House, formerly known as Fort House. This commanding building was where Charles Dickens wrote some of his most famous works. As you walk through the rooms, you can almost hear the echo of his quill scratching against the paper.

Explore Broadstairs’ Seven Bays: Beach Bliss for All

Broadstairs boasts seven sandy bays, each with its own distinct character. From the family-friendly Viking Bay to the secluded Joss Bay, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches. Whether you prefer to sunbathe, build sandcastles, or ride the surf, these bays offer a beach experience to suit every taste.

Step Into the Dickens House Museum: Celebrating Broadstairs’ Literary Heritage

Uncover the town’s literary connection at the Dickens House Museum, the former home of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, who inspired the character Betsey Trotwood in Dickens’s David Copperfield. With its collection of memorabilia, the museum is a must-visit for any literature enthusiast.

Dive Into Broadstairs’ Vibrant Festivals

Broadstairs knows how to celebrate. Its festivals encapsulate the town’s lively spirit, cultural richness, and close-knit community.

Join the Broadstairs Folk Week: Traditional Music and Dance in Full Swing

Every August, the town comes alive with the Broadstairs Folk Week, a vibrant celebration of folk music and dance. From energetic ceilidhs to traditional craft displays, it’s a week-long extravaganza that fills the streets with infectious joy and melody.

Experience the Dickens Festival: Commemorating Broadstairs’ Literary Connection

The Broadstairs Dickens Festival is an annual event celebrating Charles Dickens’s ties with the town. Witness Victorian-era characters come to life, participate in Dickensian themed events, and immerse yourself in the literary magic that Dickens left behind.

Savour the Broadstairs Food Festival: An Epicurean Adventure in Thanet

The Broadstairs Food Festival is a gastronomic delight, showcasing local producers, traders, and chefs. With a cornucopia of artisanal foods, beverages, and delectable dishes, it’s a three-day feast for your senses.

Bask in the Natural Beauty of Broadstairs

From picturesque bays to iconic lighthouses, Broadstairs is a haven for nature lovers.

Discover the Tranquility of Botany Bay

Botany Bay, with its chalk cliffs and sandy beach, is an idyllic spot to unwind. Explore the rock pools, swim in the crystal clear waters, or simply sit back and watch the changing hues of the sky at sunset.

Enjoy the Bustling Viking Bay: The Heart of Broadstairs

Viking Bay, the main beach of Broadstairs, is a hub of activities. Take a nostalgic ride on the beach donkeys, explore the sea caves, or relax at a beachside café and watch the world go by.

Visit the North Foreland Lighthouse: Guiding Mariners through the Treacherous Goodwin Sands

Take a trip to the North Foreland Lighthouse, which has stood as a sentinel over the dangerous Goodwin Sands for centuries. Enjoy the panoramic sea views from this iconic beacon.

The adventure in Broadstairs is just beginning. Discover more in the Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council website. And if you’ve visited Broadstairs or are planning to, we would love to hear your stories. Share your experiences in the comments below!

Spend a Day at the Bustling Broadstairs Harbour

Broadstairs’ harbour is the heart of this coastal town, brimming with activities and captivating sights that capture the essence of a true seaside experience.

Admire the Fishermen’s Arches: A Glimpse into the Seaside History

Witness the historic Fishermen’s Arches, the remnants of an old fisherman’s store. These arches, now used as boat stores, paint a vivid picture of Broadstairs’ nautical past.

Broadstairs’ Historical Gems

Broadstairs is a town that values its history, with well-preserved structures and landmarks transporting you back in time.

Uncover York Gate: The Medieval Defence Structure

Visit York Gate, a medieval defence gate built in 1540 to protect the harbour. It stands as a testament to the town’s historic importance.

Tour the Crampton Tower Museum: Celebrating Local Innovation and Design

Explore the Crampton Tower Museum, a fascinating monument dedicated to the inventor and engineer, Thomas Russell Crampton. The museum showcases a wealth of local history, including miniature railways and the first-ever cross-channel submarine telegraph cable.

Broadstairs’ Art and Culture Scene

The town’s vibrant arts scene showcases local talent, from independent cinema to live theatre performances.

Catch a Movie at The Palace Cinema: Broadstairs’ Independent Cinema

Enjoy a unique film experience at The Palace Cinema, a two-screen independent movie theatre that plays an eclectic mix of mainstream, art house, and classic cinema.

Enjoy a Show at the Sarah Thorne Theatre: The Hub of Local Theatre Scene

Spend an evening at the Sarah Thorne Theatre, home to an array of engaging performances. From drama to comedy, there’s a show for everyone to enjoy.

Outdoor Activities and Adventures

For those craving a taste of adventure and natural beauty, Broadstairs does not disappoint with its varied outdoor activities.

Hike the Thanet Coastal Path: Marvel at the Scenic Coastal Beauty

Embrace the serene coastal atmosphere on a hike along the Thanet Coastal Path, a 32-mile long route that takes you through some of the most stunning seascapes and cliff-top views the region has to offer.

Ride the Waves with Broadstairs Surf School: Fun for All Ages

Broadstairs’ coastline offers the perfect setting for surfing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, Broadstairs Surf School provides exciting lessons for all ages.

Shopping in Broadstairs

Broadstairs offers a unique shopping experience, blending independent retailers and traditional cafes.

Shop at Broadstairs High Street: Independent Retailers and Traditional Cafes

Stroll down Broadstairs High Street, a vibrant avenue boasting a variety of independent retailers, artisanal shops, and cosy cafes. This is the perfect place to purchase a unique memento of your visit.

Day Trips from Broadstairs

While Broadstairs itself is packed with attractions, it also serves as a great base for exploring nearby iconic locations.

Venture to the White Cliffs of Dover: England’s Iconic Coastal Feature

An hour’s drive from Broadstairs will take you to the White Cliffs of Dover, a magnificent natural spectacle known worldwide.

Explore Canterbury: A City Steeped in Medieval History

A short trip can also lead you to Canterbury, a city boasting a rich medieval history, stunning architecture, and the world-renowned Canterbury Cathedral.

Accommodation Options in Broadstairs

Broadstairs offers a range of accommodation options to cater to different preferences and budgets.

Stay in Charming B&Bs: Experience Local Hospitality

For a homely feel, the town’s B&Bs such as the Copperfields Vegetarian Guest House offer a warm welcome with cosy rooms and hearty breakfasts.

Unwind at Seaside Hotels: Sea Views and Relaxation

Hotels like the Botany Bay Hotel provide luxurious rooms with breathtaking sea views, ensuring a memorable stay.

Embrace Nature at Local Camping Sites: Adventure and Starry Nights

For outdoor enthusiasts, camping and Glamping sites offer an immersive experience under the star-studded Broadstairs sky.

Broadstairs’ Nightlife Options

When the sun sets, Broadstairs transforms into a lively hub, offering a variety of nighttime activities.

Enjoy a Pint at Traditional Pubs: Experience English Hospitality

Immerse yourself in traditional English pub culture at establishments such as The Chapel – a former bookshop turned into a lively spot for ales, ciders, and conversation.

Dine at Cozy Restaurants: Savour Local Cuisine

Take a gastronomic tour of Broadstairs’ culinary landscape at local restaurants. Wyatt & Jones offers a creative menu featuring locally sourced produce, giving you a true taste of Broadstairs.

Catch a Live Performance: Discover Local Music Talent

The local music scene is alive and vibrant in Broadstairs. Venues like The Pavilion regularly host performances by local and international artists.

Savour Broadstairs’ Culinary Delights

Broadstairs boasts a rich culinary scene, with options ranging from traditional English delicacies to fresh seafood.

Relish Fresh Seafood: Savour the Catch of the Day

Seafood lovers can enjoy the freshest catch of the day at Morelli’s Gelato, an iconic eatery known for its seafood and, of course, its world-famous gelato.

Indulge in Traditional English Favourites: From Fish & Chips to Cream Teas

No trip to Broadstairs is complete without indulging in classic Fish & Chips. Check out a popular local chippy. For a true English experience, don’t forget to partake in a classic cream tea at bessiesteaparlour.

Visit Broadstairs’ Farmer’s Market: Enjoy Locally Grown Produce

A visit to Broadstairs Farmer’s Market lets you explore locally grown produce, homemade goodies, and local artisan products, giving you a true flavour of Kent.

Embrace the Great Outdoors: Camping and Backpacking in Broadstairs

Camping in Broadstairs: Your Home Under the Stars

For those who prefer a more rustic retreat, camping in Broadstairs offers a memorable experience. There are several campsites around Broadstairs where you can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.

  • Manston Court Accommodations: This campsite offers a perfect blend of countryside charm and close proximity to the coast. It’s a great base to explore Broadstairs and the surrounding areas. From basic tent pitches to glamping options, there’s something for everyone. You can find more information and book a spot through their official website here.

Do remember to check the availability and rules for the campsite, as they may change depending on the season and local regulations.

Budget-Friendly Stays: Hostels in Broadstairs

Make New Friends at Cosy Hostels in Broadstairs

For solo travellers or those on a tight budget, hostels are an excellent accommodation choice. Broadstairs and its surrounding areas offer a range of hostels that combine affordability with comfort and sociability.

  • YHA Broadstairs: This is a popular choice for budget travelers due to its prime location near the beach and the town center. With dormitory-style rooms and shared facilities, it’s a great place to meet fellow travelers.

As always, it’s best to book ahead during peak travel seasons to secure your accommodation. Also, note that some hostels may have age restrictions, so be sure to check this when booking.

Memorable Souvenirs from Broadstairs: A Gift for Everyone

Broadstairs offers an array of charming souvenirs to commemorate your visit and share the experience with your loved ones. Here are some popular options:

For Kids

  • Seaside Buckets and Spades: Available in most beach shops, these colourful toys embody the joy of a day at the beach – perfect for the little ones.
  • Traditional British Sweets: The old-fashioned sweet shops in Broadstairs, such as Sweet Yesterdays, are full of nostalgic British candies that children will love.
  • Books by Charles Dickens: Broadstairs has a deep connection with Dickens. Introduce the world of literature to the young ones with an age-appropriate Dickens book.

For Adults

  • Local Craft Beers and Ales: Broadstairs boasts a thriving local brewing scene. A local beer from a place like the Four Candles, the smallest brewpub in Britain, would make a great gift.
  • Vintage Finds: Broadstairs’ numerous vintage shops offer unique keepsakes, from antique jewellery to retro home décor.
  • Broadstairs Artworks: Many local artists capture the beauty of Broadstairs in their work. You can find a piece that resonates with you in the many galleries and craft markets.

For Couples

  • Handmade Chocolates: Broadstairs has several artisan chocolate shops. A box of handmade chocolates is a sweet and romantic gift.
  • Couples’ Spa Vouchers: A relaxing couples’ spa experience in a local wellness centre can make a lovely gift.
  • Sea Glass Jewellery: The local shops in Broadstairs sell beautiful jewellery made from sea glass collected from the local beaches – a truly unique memento of your seaside visit.


From its picturesque coastal walks to the vibrant art scene, from its historical landmarks to the culinary delights, Broadstairs is a treasure trove of experiences. This seaside jewel, with its unique blend of Victorian charm, beautiful beaches, literary heritage, and traditional English culture, offers countless memories to every traveller.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and plan your visit to Broadstairs! Dive into its unique offerings and enjoy the myriad of experiences this charming seaside town has to offer. Whether it’s strolling along the beach, savouring freshly caught seafood, or immersing in local festivals, Broadstairs will surely captivate your heart.

We’d love to hear about your experiences in Broadstairs! Share your favourite moments, hidden gems, or any questions you may have in the comments section below. Happy Travels!


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