Margate is the original British seaside destination. Childhood memories of city break holidays and the melodies of the arcades means this famous seaside resort holds the hearts of so many. Its recent vintage make over emphasises Margate’s artistic history. Most famously, J.W. Turner and Tracy Emin. The Turner Contemporary art gallery was opened in 2012 and celebrates Turner’s passion for painting Margate’s coastline through each of its exhibitions. His paintings differ from the Margate we see now, most recognisably is the loss of the jetty, after years of weather damage it was finally destroyed in 1978.
Margate’s old town rejuvenation has reignited a boom in tourism. It proudly boasts a long stretch of sandy beach with sea views of the Thanet Offshore Wind Project completed in 2010.
The reopening of Dreamland, the town’s amusement park originally built in the 1920s now hosts a collection of heritage rides from around the UK, with Dreamland’s wooden Scenic Railway, the oldest rollercoaster in the country, taking centre stage.
Westgate & Birchington
Once a small farming community, Birchington and Westgate are often shadowed by its larger and louder neighbouring town of Margate. But you shouldn’t be fooled, Westgate-on-sea was officially the first recognised seaside resort in Kent. These two towns sit North East on the Kent Coast and offer a quieter alternative to the main town’s of Thanet.
The coast here extends extensively and is Kent’s zenith at sunset.
Transformed into a sea side resort in the 1860s, but was best known for it’s World War One Naval Air base being prime location to defended the Thames Estuary coastal towns from attacks from the continent.
Much alike neighbouring Margate, Westgate was also served up artistic inspiration, artist Sir William Quiller Orchardson painted some of his most well-known pictures whilst residing here. It’s …. beach, St Mildreds Bay is a relaxed spot, scattered with delightful beach huts and their welcoming owners.
At Birchington begins The Viking Coastal Trail; here the footpath overlooks the North Sea. Popular as a retirement town and quiet seaside resort. Its largest beach is Minnis Bay. Known locally as Kent’s sunset zenith, providing dramatic and inspiring evening scenes across the water. It's long sandy beach lays beneath chalk cliffs, stacks and caves, carpeted with grassland.
Birchington’s history offers much to imagine with many of it's old houses playing part to the network of underground smuggling tunnels.
All Saints Church dates Birchington back to 13th century, and adding to Kent’s artisan inventory, pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Rossetti is buried here.
As Birchington extends east to Herne Bay the low-lying marshland indicates the margins of the channel where Thanet once sat as an island, and lays a good explanation on the name Birchington-on-Sea.
Perched stoically on Birchingtons eastern horizon, the Saxon ruins of Reculver Towers provide a charming backdrop for this sunset strip. Views across to Reculver in the East make for perfect picnicking, pictures and plodding along the weaving sea wall.