The crest motto of Broadstairs is Stella Maris – ‘Star of the Sea’, and it’s easy to see why. Its Blue Flag sandy beaches such as the famous horseshoe-shaped Viking Bay, are a favourite spot for both tourists and locals. The surrounding coast is also well worth taking the time to explore. The seaside towns of Margate and Ramsgate sit either side of Broadstairs and boast 15 sandy beaches and bays between them!
Broadstairs has a delightful range of independent shops in the traditional High Street, cliff top walks to neighbouring Ramsgate and Margate, Mini-golf, beachside cafés, cosmopolitan restaurants, literary, culinary and musical festivals, plus a gem of a cinema and a community theatre.
Step back in time and visit Charles Dickens' own Bleak House, which was the author’s favourite holiday home for over twenty years. Interact with the very place where Dickens wrote several of his novels, from his study overlooking the English Channel. The cellars of Bleak House are also home to The Smuggling Museum, which showcases Thanet coast's colourful history. Discover exhibits rescued from an eighteenth century shipwreck, sure to inspire minds of all ages.
The Dickens Festival
Broadstairs, along with its neighbouring towns of Ramsgate and Margate, and the nearby villages, offers a rich and diverse calendar of events and festivals, the most famous one being The Dickens Festival. Charles Dickens visited Broadstairs in Kent regularly from 1837 until 1859 and immortalised the town as "Our English Watering Place".
In 1937, to commemorate the centenary of the author's first visit, Gladys Waterer, the then owner of Dickens House, conceived the idea of putting on a production of David Copperfield and of having people about the town in Victorian dress to publicise it. Thus the festival was born and, with the exception of the years of World War II, has been held annually in the third week of June ever since.
Situated on Margate’s seafront, on the same site where Turner stayed when visiting the town, the gallery is the largest exhibition space in the South East, outside of London. Inspired by Turner’s sense of enquiry, the gallery offers a space for everyone to embrace their curiosity and to discover different ways of seeing, thinking and learning. A stimulating programme of temporary exhibitions, events and learning opportunities are held throughout the year. The gallery is surrounded by a whole host of bars and cafés.
Crampton Tower Museum
Partly built into a flint tower near Broadstars railway station, The Crampton Tower Museum celebrates the work of Thomas Russell Crampton. Not only is he associated with designing locomotives and railways, but he also designed systems for gas and water works and the submarine telegraph cable, being the first to successfully lay an effective telegraph cable under the English Channel. See original plans ad drawings of his work, as well as how this integrates into the history of the local area.
Helter Skelter Play Centre
Let your children blow off some steam at the Helter Skelter Play Centre. As well as ball pits, slides and climbing frames, they also run a large number of classes and activities throughout the week encouraging baby and toddler development. Additionally, they can hold children's parties and can offer discos, face painting and chocolate fountains.
North Foreland Lighthouse
Built in 1691, the North Foreland Lighthouse warned ships and mariners of the Margate rocks for centuries. More recently, it was the last lighthouse in England to be converted to automatic operation in 1998, a ceremony which his Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended. Delve into its interesting history and about how its technology and internal workings have shifted with the times.
Royal St. George's Golf Club
Regarded as one of the World's best golf courses, and the location for the 2011 Open, why not test your handicap on a course played by the greats? The Royal St. George's Golf Club has a large range of facilities for both the amateur and professional golfer. From the open air driving range to the Pro Shop, their competent tuition and expert advice will prove helpful to all golf enthusiasts.
North Foreland Golf Club
Sporting both a "long" and "short" course, this traditional golf club aims to challenge and encourage new and exiting players whilst upholding the long-standing etiquettes of golf. North Foreland Golf Club also has tennis courts and a range of bars and restaurants.
Hornby Visitor’s Centre
Take a journey through the history of Britain's best-loved toys, that features rare products from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi archives.
You can track the history of Hornby’s iconic model trains from Frank Hornby’s early homemade toys in sheet metal, through the development of Hornby ‘O’ gauge and Hornby-Dublo. The centre also features some spectacular model railway layouts that are not to be missed. For the enthusiast, the Hornby Retail Shop offers an extensive range of Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi products to buy.
Quex Park is a unique country Park of 250 acres on the Isle of Thanet set within an estate, of 1800 acres around Birchington, Acol and Richborough. Within the Park is the Powell-Cotton Museum, which primarily contains a taxidermy collection of mainly African wildlife, ethnographical exhibits and many other items of cannon, weaponry, porcelain and fine furniture and much else besides.
There’s also a Childrens Indoor and Outdoor Play Centre (Jungle Jims), a Craft Village, a Garden Nursery (The Secret Garden), Quex Park Livery, a Falconry Centre, Quex Paintball, a Farmshop and Restaurant (Quex Barn) and in the summer, a giant Maize Maze.
Viking Way Bicycle Ride
Whether you are an experienced cyclist or a novice, you will find plenty to enjoy along the 27-mile (43.5km) route on the Isle of Thanet, the location of the first Viking landing in 449AD. The inland loop is on quiet lanes, taking in pretty Kentish villages with ancient churches such as St. Nicholas at Wade and passing Minster Abbey, one of England's oldest inhabited buildings founded in 670AD.
A short detour leads you to the 16-acre Monkton Nature Reserve, an important resource for the protection of wild flowers, including rare orchids.
Folk Week Festival (9th-16th August 2013)
Established in 1965, Broadstairs Folk Week has become a world-renowned event. Each year, this eclectic festival offers a wealth of variety for first timers or seasoned visitors alike. Tourists from all over the world are known to flock in to have a gala time.
Conducted by an independent organisation, there’s a host of workshops, music concerts, dance, magic shows (including teaching of magic), circus and acrobatics and a gamut of other activities. Perhaps this is the years that you try Appalachian Clogging, Singing in Rounds, Throat Singing or joining the Refried Ginger Jug Band. Alternatively, you can meet the Bowed Psaltery, the Dobro, the Hurdy Gurdy, the Bodhran, the Jews Harp, the Kora, the Small Pipes, the Harmonica or the Beatbox. With over 500 events in one week and a torchlight procession on Saturday 6th, it really is one that has to be experienced.