Heading to Kent and looking for things to do in Botany Bay? With its plunging white cliffs, isolated chalk stacks, and golden sand, it’s no wonder that this Broadstairs beach is one of the top places to visit in Kent.
This bay is also a popular filming location used for adverts and scenes in movies like Louis Wain. But there’s definitely more to Botany Bay than its picturesque views. This beach has various activities on offer, making it the perfect place for a day trip from London.
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From rock pool exploration to golf and cycling, I’ve rounded up the best things to do in and around Botany Bay. Be sure to have a look at this list of fun things to do in Broadstairs to further enrich your Kent itinerary.
Botany Bay sits at the tip of the Isle of Thanet in eastern Kent. It is one of the seven beaches in Broadstairs, sitting about halfway between Margate and Viking Bay. Popular locations nearby include the City of Canterbury, Ramsgate, and Dover.
To get to Botany Bay from London, you can take a train, bus, or car. Trains to Broadstairs depart from St Pancras station and London Victoria station, with trips taking between 1.5 to 2 hours.
Buses to Broadstairs depart from London Victoria Coach station and travelling time sits at around 3 hours. A car trip directly to Botany beach from London will take you roughly two hours.
This Broadstairs Bay has quite a fascinating history as a smuggling port. Smugglers would often hide contraband items in the holes, both natural and man-made, of the cliffs and chalk stacks. At nightfall, they’d try to move the illegal goods without being caught by Revenue Patrol.
Botany Bay is said to be named after its counterpart in Australia, where many caught smugglers were shipped off to.
The most infamous story relating to this beach is that of the “Battle of Botany Bay.” A smuggler group called the Callis Court Gang was caught by the Revenue Patrol in 1769, leading to a deadly conflict. The encounter left multiple gang members fatally injured, with one patrol member receiving a fatal shot in the chest.
The gang leader, Joss Snelling, managed to escape and continue his illegal affairs. He became somewhat of a notorious figure in the area and was even introduced to Queen Victoria as “the famous Broadstairs smuggler.”
Fun fact: Next to Botany Bay, you’ll find Joss Bay, which was also frequently used by smugglers. It is uncertain whether Joss Snelling got his name from the bay, or whether the bay was named after him.
This gem of a bay has become quite popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Besides taking a dip in the waves, Botany Bay UK has a few other fun activities on offer.
The white cliffs and chalk stacks are excellent hiding places for little creatures like worms and chiton. These chalk rocks are constantly worn away by the tides, meaning you may also spot an ancient fossil or two if you look up close.
Additionally, the beach has rock pools that are great for spotting crabs, molluscs, starfish, anemones, and more. You’ll also come across washed-up marine life on the beach.
These include seaweed, oysters, sand gobies, and skate or ray egg cases — known as mermaid’s purses.
The spectacular cliffs do a great job at sheltering the beach from the wind, and the golden sands add to the beach’s beauty. On a sunny day, you might just feel like you’re lounging on a beach in the south of Spain.
Soak up the sun rays on a rentable deck chair or bare it all at the small naturist section. There’s also a small kiosk that offers beverages and snacks to help you stay hydrated in the heat.
If you’re looking to escape the bustle of the city for a weekend by the sea, Botany Bay is an excellent option.
It is lesser known than the more popular seaside towns like Ramsgate and Margate and sits just outside the Broadstairs town centre.
Spend a few days at the elegant Botany Bay Beach Hotel situated in a quiet residential area. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel restaurant before heading out for a walk along the beach, which is only a minute’s walk away. Or just enjoy lounging about in the bright and comfortable hotel room with the sound of waves crashing nearby.
The Viking Coast trail is a scenic circular trail that runs through Broadstairs, exciting Margate, and Ramsgate. The easy, paved trail is ideal for walking or cycling and getting in some fresh air.
Rent a bike in the nearby town of Margate and ride along the white cliffs, taking in the spectacular views of the coast. Or bring along your own bikes and depart from Botany Bay on the 51.4km (32 miles) loop.
And if you prefer a slower pace, remember to pack your favourite walking shoes for a scenic walk from Ramsgate to Margate.
As if golfing on perfectly manicured lawns isn’t enough, North Foreland Golf Club offers refreshing views of the shore.
Having provided premier golfing grounds for over a century, North Foreland has become one of the most popular golfing clubs in Kent.
This two-course, 36-hole golf club also has a tennis court and bar, making it the perfect place to socialise. Rent a golf buggy and some clubs and enjoy the scent of the fresh lawns and views of the North Sea. Afterwards, head down to Botany Bay, which is less than a kilometre away, to cool off or watch the sunset.
Neptune’s Tower, also known as Arx Ruochim, is one of Lord Holland’s many follies built near Holland House and Kingsgate Castle. For the most part, these follies were purely for the sake of displaying his wealth.
Neptune’s Tower is said to have been built around the same time as Kingsgate Castle, around 1760. It was made to replicate a Henrician Castle, with the four bastions surrounding a central tower. The tower was removed in the 1970s, so only the ruins remain.
The folly sits at one corner of North Foreland Golf Club and is a five-minute walk away from Botany Bay. Take a stroll along the Prince’s path towards the point between Kingsgate and Botany Bay. Or take a closer look at the ruins while hitting a few balls at the golf club.
If you’re a bit intimidated by the chilly waters, why not rent a kayak or get your wetsuit on and hit the surf.
The nearby Joss Bay, the Kent Surf schools offer surf lessons, and surf and paddleboard rentals. Additionally, Kent Surf School offers kayak rentals or tours.
Bring your family or friends along on a kayak excursion and enjoy the view of the Broadstairs cliffs from the water. Or, learn how to surf the glistening waves of this Blue Flag-awarded beach.
Botany Bay is surrounded by popular destinations like Margate and Ramsgate, where you’ll find plenty more exciting activities to do. Below are some of the best things to do nearby.
The Margate Caves, originally formed due to chalk mining, have been in existence since the 18th century. Since opening in 1863, the caves have had many owners, alterations, uses, and names.
The caves have also been closed off several times due to funding problems or safety concerns. The most recent reopening of these caves in Margate included a café, gift shop, and conference rooms.
It’s a wonderful place to stop by and have a coffee before you hit the beach. Be sure to pre-book your ticket online as only a certain amount of people are allowed in at a time.
If you’re looking for something more unusual to do near Botany Bay, why not end your day at this bar in Broadstairs High Street.
Enjoy out-of-this-world cocktails along with mind-blowing magic tricks performed in an intimate, cosy setting. The decor perfectly suits the magic theme, with vintage-looking posters and playing cards decorating the walls.
But the fun doesn’t end there. The bar often hosts events and theme nights. Past events of this nature include a Game of Thrones night, with themed drinks and dress code — all accompanied by magic performances.
If you’re looking to add something new to your list of skills, why not pop by Revolution Skate Park? The park is only about a kilometre away from the beach.
They not only have a brilliant park with various ramps but offer skating lessons as well. Above that, they have a rock-climbing wall, perfect for working those arm muscles.
This indoor skate and climbing park is the perfect place to stop by if the weather doesn’t work out in your favour. It’s especially great for families, as there’s something for people of all skill levels.
Bring your detective hat along and try to think your way out of one of the exciting, themed escape rooms at The Escapement. These award-winning escape rooms can be found just off the Viking Coast Trail, in both Broadstairs and Margate.
Enjoy an interactive outdoor “mission” that takes you through the town of Broadstairs — fully equipped with top spy gear, of course. Or, try to escape a sinking pirate boat and sail to safety in a room made with salvaged artefacts from a 130-year old ship.
The escape rooms are intricately yet logically planned and executed. So, you can expect a memorable, fun, and immersive experience. And because new themed escape rooms are added regularly, you can expect to find a new challenge on every visit.
Shell Grotto may be a bit further away from Botany Bay, but it’s well worth the 4 km drive. This underground cave comprises a series of tunnels that measure 21 metres long. What makes it so unique, and mesmerising is the shell-covered walls.
The cavern was discovered in 1835 and was opened to the public soon after, serving curious eyes for almost two centuries.
The entire subterranean grotto is intricately decorated with a whopping 4.6 million seashells. The shells form mosaic images of trees of life, gods and goddesses, and various swirls and patterns.
Nobody knows what the cove was used for or who created the incredible shell mosaics, which adds to this place’s allure. Take a slight detour from the Viking Coast trail and pop by to witness this wonderous shell cove.
All that fun exploration and activities will surely help you work up a good appetite. Have a look at these top restaurants near Botany Bay to fuel up and relax.
As another one of Lord Holland’s Broadstairs constructs, Captain Digby was built over 200 years ago. Unfortunately, the original building fell into the sea around 1861, during a hefty storm.
Luckily, a replica of Captain Digby was built a bit further away from the original before it succumbed to the ocean. The replica building now houses a bar and restaurant, offering classic British meals along with friendly service and ocean views.
Situated near the golf course, this bar offers both indoor and outdoor seating and a children’s play area. Enjoy a beer from the local and international selection of draughts, along with a good old burger and chips. Or, enjoy a more comforting meal, like pan-fried liver and bacon on mash.
Situated around 3 miles away from Botany Bay, in Broadstairs High Street, this restaurant offers some of the best burgers you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
This place is especially unique because their smash burgers are made entirely from rump steak. If you’ve ever struggled with choosing between a juicy steak and a burger and chips, this burger spot may be the solution.
To top it off, they deliver to Broadstairs, Ramsgate, and Margate after 16:00. So you can order a hearty meal to savour along with the sunset from Botany Bay.
Situated less than a kilometre away from Botany Bay, this micropub is the perfect place to stop by for a refreshing drink. With its wide range of beers, ales, and ciders, it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite among locals.
You’ll also find classic bar snacks like scotch eggs and toasties served with the friendliest service.
The warm and welcoming atmosphere is not only limited to the inside. There’s also a beer garden for enjoying the breeze and sunshine. And, if you’ve brought your furry companion along on your beach trip, they’re more than welcome at this micro-pub.
If you’re in Broadstairs on a day trip or just looking for a good brunch spot, Taddy’s Barn is a must. This bright and spacious restaurant, situated in East Northdown Garden Nursery, offers an assortment of light meals, treats, and beverages.
It’s also the perfect place to book a classic afternoon tea with friends or family on special occasions. Enjoy your meals indoors or outside, among the most charming decor, before heading down the road to enjoy Botany Bay.
Located just behind The Laughing Barrel Micro Pub, this fish bar is the perfect place to enjoy fish and chips by the sea. Their reasonably priced portions are so generous that even a kid’s meal is bound to fill you up.
Enjoy lunch on the bay with your family or friends and share a large portion of the bar’s delicious fish and chips. Or, stop by this shop for a late afternoon meal on the way home.
Whether you’re taking a day trip from London or live nearby, it’s always best to plan ahead. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your outing to Botany Bay:
- Because Botany Bay is situated near a residential area, there’s limited parking, as many parking bays are private. You’ll find plenty of parking at the neighbouring Joss Bay or Palm Bay Avenue. Both are within walking distance from Botany Bay.
- There is a small public bathroom open during the high season.
- Lifeguards are on duty between the end of May and the beginning of September.
- Dogs are banned from the beginning of May to the end of September between 10:00 to 18:00.
- Have a look at the local tides in Botany Bay forecast before you head out to check when the beach is safe to visit.
Botany Bay truly is one of the most beautiful Thanet beaches and offers an array of fun activities. We hope that this list leaves you eager to plan a trip to Broadstairs.
Whether you’re seeking a new place to enjoy an afternoon tea or looking to explore some caves, Botany Bay will provide. Be sure to have a look at this guide on things to do in Ramsgate for more exciting things to do near Botany Bay.