England walks offer some spectacular sights of grassy hills, chalk cliffs, and the cold seas. And while there are some gorgeous walking trails around the country, many would argue that the Ramsgate to Margate route is one of the best.
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Connecting two busy but charming towns and passing through an enchanting smaller seaside village, this Beach Roamer walk is sure to delight every visitor.
Most of the way is flat, with only short bursts of elevation, and there are plenty of resting spots along the way.
This hike can be done as a day trip from London or as part of a seaside weekend getaway. Read on to prepare before you take on the exquisite walk.
Ramsgate is on the Isle of Thanet, also called the Garden of England. It is a seaside town, with Georgian houses and a busy harbour. Margate is located just on the other side of the coast, a few kilometres from Ramsgate.
Both of the towns are in the county of Kent, and together they sandwich in Broadstairs, another adorable seaside town on the Isle of Thanet.
There are three main ways to get from the city centre to any of the Kent coastal towns to begin your hike.
Ramsgate is around 125 kilometres from London, which translates to a 2-hour-and-12-minute train ride. Margate is around 105 kilometres from London, which means a train ride of about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Broadstairs is about 109 kilometres, and the train takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
All three of these towns can also be accessed by bus. This is a cheaper option, but it can take almost 3 hours to get from London to Ramsgate, and over 2 hours to Margate and Broadstairs.
You can drive yourself for a fun English seaside road trip. For this, you would need your own car, of course, and the trip is around the same duration as a train ride. There are car parks in Ramsgate and Margate for you to leave your vehicle or:
Yes, you can. In fact, many people come to this area specifically for this reason. This can be done by the whole family (a few beaches along the way are even pet-friendly).
The route to Ramsgate is one of the most scenic walks in Margate and will take only a few hours.
This route around the Isle of Thanet sticks as close to the coast as possible. It passes through a number of towns that were arrival destinations of the Vikings in the past – hence the name.
The trail is walkable, but it is also known as the Regional Cycle Network 15 for its great cycling opportunities. The trail was a group effort between Sustrans, Thanet District Council, and David Bush. It was officially opened on 10 June 2001.
The route is around 51.4 kilometres and would take quite a while to hike the entire trail. But the good news is that you cut the route up into more doable pieces, like this one, from Ramsgate to Margate.
There are quite a few named routes within the Viking Coastal Trail that you can do.
Tip: Why not try these smaller trails one by one until you’ve completed the entire Viking Coastal Trail? That’s quite an ambitious but very doable goal for anyone who has some time to spend in or near Kent, England.
Ramsgate to Margate: Step by Step Guide
You can do this walk by starting in either Ramsgate or Margate. But for this guide, we’re going to start in Ramsgate. If you find yourself in Margate first, simply do it backwards.
Checking the tides is a good way to determine which town you start in since a lot of the walk near Margate is on the beach.
This walk is quite popular, so even if you can’t find your own walking group, you may just find one to follow. Are just do the route yourself, that’s what I did. The route is clearly sign posted, so you won’t get lost and there are public porter potties along the way.
It’s also a fun cycling route. Here’s a guide on what you can expect to see on your walk, as well as a little bit about each town that you’ll visit.
Start in Ramsgate To Broadstairs Walk
A beautiful little seaside town, Ramsgate is known for its large marina, Port of Ramsgate. The town is an easy train ride from London, making it a great day trip from the city. And there are a number of attractions to be found here. These include:
- Ramsgate Maritime Museum
- Ramsgate Tunnels
- Albion Gardens War Memorial
Starting at Ramsgate Tunnels, Marina Esplanade, you will begin your coastal walk quite close to the sea. If the tide is low, you can do a lot of the walk on the beach here. Alternatively, there is a cliff-top route that you can take for safety or just for the views.
The beach walk will provide picturesque scenes of the chalk rock that line the way, while the cliff-top stroll allows you to appreciate the Kent coastline. You’ll traipse through King George VI Memorial Park, which has a cafe for those who need a coffee before the long walk.
Simply follow the road, and you’ll eventually reach the next town – Broadstairs.
There are several charming places to stay in this town, so if you were planning a weekend trip, you could easily find a comfy bed and start the walk early in the morning. Here are a few accommodation options for a splendid stay:
- The Pegwell Bay Hotel – Stay in this splendid hotel that sits on the Pegwell cliffs and offers panoramic views over the English Channel.
- The Oak Hotel – This hotel is right in the heart of the busy harbour, which is what gives the town a lot of its atmosphere.
- The Corner House – A cute and cosy hotel above a restaurant serving the best British food in Ramsgate.
Pass Through Broadstairs – Broadstairs to Margate Walk
This quintessentially English town is known as the “jewel in Thanet’s crown.” Although it’s not as sparkly as Ramsgate or Margate, this little village holds everything we love most about visiting the English seaside.
Broadstairs was also a beloved holiday spot for the famed author Charles Dickens. In fact, Bleak House (which overlooks the magnificent Viking Bay) was the place where Dickens wrote his novel “David Copperfield”.
Because of this, the town boasts several landmarks and attractions that pay tribute to the writer.
There are multiple bays and beaches in Broadstairs, which are fantastic places to admire the views and soak up some sun. But the most visited bay is definitely Viking Bay, which outshines all of the others.
The Viking Coastal trail going through Broadway gives you choices of either cliff or beach walking. Be on the lookout for North Foreland Lighthouse as you’re walking, and after that, you’ll find Kingsgate Castle and then Neptune’s Tower.
Botany Bay is another highlight on the Broadstairs route, and the cliffs here amaze almost everyone who visits. The town has no shortage of restaurants and shops, so you can stop off for lunch or refill your walking snacks.
After Botany Bay, you have about 40 minutes of walking along the sandy beaches before you reach Margate.
Margate is known for its old-world charm, combined perfectly with 21st Century culture. There are endless fun things to do here, which is what makes it a great ending for this hike. You can choose to stay the night and enjoy a few of the attractions before taking the train back to London.
This seaside town is artsy and cool, with more art galleries and studios than you could possibly see in a short visit, the most notable being the Turner Contemporary art gallery. It also holds some of England’s great history – like the oldest roller coaster in the country.
The beaches here are splendid, but that’s to be expected on this Kent coastline. And the pubs are welcoming and cosy.
But the highlight of this town (and you’ll hear this often) is the food! Margate has become known for being a foodie paradise.
Before you reach Margate centre, however, the walking trail offers a few more points of interest:
- Foreness Point
- Palm Bay Beach
Once you’re in Margate, there are plenty of fun things to do. You can go vintage clothes shopping in the Old Town and have some fun at the theme park.
Catch a performance or show at the oldest working theatre in the country or explore the mysterious Shell Grotto.
If you’re not keen on travelling back to London city, here are a few places to lay your head for the night.
- The Dreamland Apartment – A 2-bedroom, self-catering apartment near the beach, great for a group of friends.
- Margate Seaside Retreat – This is a cosy 1-bedroom seaside holiday home that offers a comfy bed and warm living areas.
- Home from Home Stay Margate – Enjoy true small-town hospitality at this homely spot close to all important amenities and landmarks.
The route, known as the Beach Roamer, is 11 kilometres. It takes the average person between 4 and 5 hours to complete. Of course, if you’re taking your time and stopping to explore and discover highlights along the way, it may take a bit longer.
You could really do this walk at any time of the year, as long as the weather is okay for being outside. But the area’s best time to enjoy the outdoors stretches from late June to early September. However, these seaside resorts can get a bit crowded in summer.
The best views of the sea and surrounding cliffs and bays are usually found on sunnier days. But it’s still a charming walk along the coast on a cloudy day. Just try not to walk when it’s too windy.
The tide times will also affect how well this walk goes. You’ll want to plan your walk around times when you’re able to walk on the beach parts of the trail and perhaps even swim if you can brave the cold water.
Although you won’t need any large backpacks or heavy gear for this walk, there are a few things that you will definitely need to bring with you.
- Walking shoes – If you’re going to be walking for around 5 hours, you’re going to want to keep your feet in comfy walking shoes. There isn’t much strenuous activity on this walk, but the last thing you want to deal with once you reach your destination is sore and tired feet. Of course, you may also want to make sure your shoes can come off easily when you feel like walking on the beach.
- Digital camera – This walk will offer tons of great photography spots, from landscapes to viewpoints and even hidden gems. So make sure you have a good camera packed so that you don’t miss out on any of the picture-perfect locations.
- A water bottle – You’ll have the chance to buy drinks and snacks along the way but having a water bottle in your bag is a great idea. Dehydration can put a damper on any event, so stay hydrated as you walk.
Whether you’re a regular visitor to Kent or are visiting for the first time, a stroll along the coastline from Ramsgate to Margate – or vice versa – is always a good idea. There are many shorter walks that you’ll find along the way, but doing the full hike is a great day’s excursion.
You’ll be charmed by the three seaside towns, with their English pubs, fish and chips shops, and quaint streets. And then blown away by the impressive chalk cliffs that stand against the scenic beach landscapes.
Take a group of friends, drag the kids along, or simply go by yourself. This is a safe and easy walk that offers some quality time outdoors. Book your train tickets and tie up your laces, and head out on this dazzling walk.