From charming cottages lined above the sandy shores to children’s laughter in the air from summer seaside fun, Broadstairs is the perfect spot for a quaint yet fun-filled holiday.
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With its lively community angled around the tranquil waters of the sea, this town in the Thanet district provides a gorgeous glimpse into England’s lesser-known nautical gems.
Whether you’re looking to surf your way through your trip or prefer to remain in a plank position on the beach reading a book, this coastal dream destination has got you covered.
Unsure where the hidden pearls lie in the ocean bed of what to do in Broadstairs? We’ll take a deep dive into the top attractions and activities to do in this town, whether you’re visiting for a long holiday or simply a nice beach day trip from London.
Many might scratch their heads when this uniquely named town is mentioned, but Broadstairs, UK, is a secret slice of coastal paradise.
East of Kent, within the bounds of Isle of Thanet, you’ll find this town nestled among sandy beaches and beautiful bays.
Literary fanatics will rejoice, as Broadstairs was a popular place for Charles Dickens’ vacations, which also inspired many of his written works.
With many author affiliated locations to look forward to, Broadstairs is the perfect sleepy town with a whimsical edge.
A place that should be included in any things to do in Kent itinerary, Broadstairs is a wonderland for visitors looking to bask in life’s simple pleasures.
Whether it’s having a pint at a pub or revelling in the seemingly therapeutic pleasures of the ocean air, this town is the place to be.
While a trip to the sandy coves of small coastal towns is always a welcomed excursion, certain months are more prone to be prime beach-going times than others.
Your dream weather conditions for your holiday are determined by what you want to experience during your trip. Take a look at various options to find the perfect fit for your getaway needs:
- If you’re looking for a quintessential beach vacation, June to September is your best bet to catch some sun. Although, be aware that this is the peak season for tourists, so accommodation costs will be at an all-time high during this time.
- While coastal towns are usually known to thrive during summer, surfers will find the best time to visit Broadstairs in Kent is during January. The winter weather might be cold, but the swells are at their prime, and the sea of tourists is merely a puddle when the icy winds hit.
Tip: It’s important to note, however, that the Isle of Thanet benefits from a which often makes the weather warmer and more pleasant than other districts in England.
From tasty seaside treats to wiggling your toes in the golden sand of nearby beaches, Broadstairs will have your senses tingling with new experiences.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a laid-back activity lover, adventures are in abundance at this ocean-viewed beauty:
1. Dip Your Toes at the Best Broadstairs Beaches
Whether you’re swaying along with seaweed, watching fish swim by, or hunting for some seashells, beaches are full of adventures to discover the deep blue sea and its surroundings.
Broadstairs has a variety of golden playgrounds to experience an unforgettable holiday.
Viking Bay is one of the most popular beaches in the town, and it’s easy to see why. With a quaint promenade and a surfing school to teach you the ways of the Broadstairs waves, you’ll be sure to experience the easy-going vibe of the town here.
There are also some fantastic restaurants and bars in the nearby surroundings, so you’ll be able to transition from the joys of a beach day to a great dinner at night seamlessly.
Other bountiful bays to consider in the area if you’re planning to experience the beach scene fully in Broadstairs are Joss and Louisa Bay.
Along Joss Bay, you’ll be able to immerse in the gorgeous scenery, including cliff-laden surroundings and a stellar view of the North Foreland Lighthouse.
This beach’s location is in the middle of Broadstairs and Margate, which is perfect if you’re interested in walking a small part of the Ramsgate to Margate walk.
With colourful huts and various rock pools to explore, Louisa Bay is a great choice for people looking to have a quiet time in the sun without a swarm of tourists.
If you have a fuzzy friend joining your travels, this beach also allows dogs to tread these sandy shores from 10 am to 6 pm (only applicable from late May to September).
2. Explore the Dickens House Museum
A simple yet chic cottage that encapsulates the essence of lived history and wonder, the Dickens House Museum is an enthralling experience from start to finish.
If you’ve had David Copperfield on your prescribed reading list, you’ll be sure to feel an eerie sense of familiarity while walking through these antique embellished rooms.
This house was believed to be the inspiration for one of the lovable characters, Betsey Trotwood’s humble abode in the novel.
From many rooms to Victorian artefacts, this museum is simply dripping with Dickens memorabilia that will make any classic genre fan giddy with excitement.
The museum displays also include an extensive collection of authentic letters by the main man who illustrates and describes Dickens’s connection to Broadstairs.
3. Go to the Crampton Tower Museum
All aboard the history-hunter express, as this local museum is jampacked with railway and locomotive artefacts and displays to peruse.
This museum was named after Thomas Crampton, an innovative civil engineer during the Victorian era.
This museum has something for everyone, from authentic blueprints to working model railways to discover and experience.
If you’re looking to ponder over the history of Broadstairs itself, you can make your way to the Broadstairs Gallery to see various old-timey photographs and vintage postcards.
Throughout the year, you can expect to find an array of events that take place at this history haven. Whether you’re after an evening of brainstorming at a quiz night or looking to see riveting railway displays at a Model Railway show, you’re in for a choo-choo treat.
Note: As volunteers operate this museum, opening days and hours are determined by volunteer availability, amongst other factors. So, be sure to check if they’re up and running before making your trip to the museum.
4. Visit a Local Eatery
We all know one of the best methods to taste the essence of a place is by trying a variety of local edible treasures from local establishments.
Whether you’re craving an icy treat to accompany your beach trip or looking to sample a traditional British experience of good ol’ fish and chips, you’re in for a treat.
Are you looking for a meaty marvel in this tiny town? Please Sir! is a great choice to experience the hearty pleasures of a perfectly flipped burger.
This burger joint will be fun for the whole family, serving everything from juicy steak patties to kiddies options.
While this establishment is one of the newer eateries on the scene, Morelli’s Gelato is a timeless staple in Broadstairs history. With its first ice cream parlour in England opening in 1932, you’ll be able to taste its fruitful past in every bite (or lick).
This franchise boasts finely crafted products made fresh each morning without adding any artificially-produced flavouring to its many types of sensational scoops.
With its close proximity to Viking Bay, you can order your ice cream to go to enjoy a beach day in style.
If the above mentioned delicious dens didn’t tickle your fancy, here are some other options to consider if you’re looking for something different:
- The Charles Dickens – A gastropub worth sinking your teeth into, this lively place is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a good Sunday roast.
- Neptunes Hall – A seaside pub with an authentic feel, this drinking den has a welcoming atmosphere while providing live music on occasion.
5. Go Gallery Hopping
Broadstairs can be described as a low-key escape from the big city, and if you’re an art lover you’ll find an array of stunning art galleries to enjoy. By tapping into that creative energy Broadstairs is known to stoke in past artists of many art forms, you’ll be able to explore this town at its finest.
Make your way to the family-owned business of The Broadstairs Gallery near Viking Bay to experience a sample of what the Broadstairs art scene has to offer. With a wide selection of art styles to peruse, such as art prints and watercolour creations, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the mind of local artists.
If you’re looking to get your hands dirty, you can visit The Little Art Gallery in the vicinity to tap into your creative side and delve into the wonderful world of watercolour art. There are various priced art pieces to ponder on your visit, so you might be able to take a picturesque souvenir of Broadstairs home with you.
6. Attend a Festival
From live music to celebrating culinary creations, Broadstairs has a kaleidoscope of festivals and events to look forward to.
By attending a festival, you’ll not only experience a diverse set of events and happenings, but you’ll also be able to gain a sense of celebratory comradery with locals.
While this town might specialise in the art of tranquil living, this cultural space becomes alive when various festivals take place. Take a look at some of the exciting events that usually occur in Broadstairs throughout the year:
Broadstairs Food Festival & Spring Food Fair
With an Easter and autumn food festival that is usually filled with unique stalls to sample and eat to your heart’s content, this feeding frenzy event is an occurrence beyond compare.
While the focus is mainly on presenting local artisans’ delicious dishes, vendors have other creations to look forward to, such as pottery and knitted products. This event will make any foodie swoon with seemingly endless possibilities, from Madagascan curries to a stall specialising in garlic-related things.
Broadstairs Dickens Festival
An event that pays homage to one of the greatest writers of all time, the Broadstairs Dickens Festival is the ultimate place to live out your literary fantasies.
As this town is famously known as Charles’s Dickens holiday spot, it has been said to have written many of his novels here. With the festival’s roots dating back to 1937, there are various vintage-related events to enjoy during this festival (which usually takes place in mid-June).
From the Victorian-dressed locals to the soothing classical melodies played throughout town, you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time when this iconic author strolled these paths.
Broadstairs Blues Bash
If you find yourself in Broadstairs during February, you’ll be able to attend the annual music festivals that play the passionate woes the blues is known for.
These performances are usually thrown in local pubs and bars to capture the authenticity and rawness of this music genre in full. Most events in local establishments are free to attend, which makes it the perfect festival to visit if you’re looking to save a penny or two.
Various musical workshops are available for attendees to get lost in the music differently. If you’re feeling confident, you can also join the jam session of the Pavilion free of charge to play alongside your fellow blues brothers.
A lively week filled with hip-swaying music and folky singing acts, the Broadstairs Folk Week is the ultimate place to let loose in a safe and vibrant environment. With everything music-related, from pub gigs to singalong sessions, you’ll be able to experience a marvellous melody of activities to embark on.
One of the most exciting parts of this week is the various workshops for visitors to discover whether they can carry a note or keep to the beat. From the honkey-tonk of country dancing to fiddling around with a fiddle, these workshops are a joy to explore and experience.
8. Practise Your Putt at Lillyputt Minigolf
An outdoor activity haven mixed with the regal pleasures of an English garden, Lillyputt Minigolf is a must-do attraction in Broadstairs, Kent.
The perfect place to channel your competitive side in a friendly minigolf game, this space is an excellent activity for all ages, from family outings to first dates.
This putting paradise is situated on the Victoria Parade and has a charming tea garden in the vicinity to sip and swing your way through the afternoon.
From the windmill-featured holes to the mini sandwiches, you’ll be sure to have a splendid time fit for a queen (or king).
9. Stroll Through the Victoria Gardens
A place of lush plains and a peaceful atmosphere, Victoria Gardens is the ultimate place to view a multitude of natural scenery in one place.
Along the edge of the gardens, you’ll see the magnificent clock tower, among other attractions along the way.
This 19th-century garden is an excellent location to reconnect with nature, from the Broadstairs seafront views to thriving flowerbeds.
You can also walk along the Victoria Promenade and enjoy some ever-entertaining people watching while getting your heart pumping.
While tackling these temperate tides of Broadstairs town attractions and activities without a plan might be tempting, you’ll definitely benefit from some pre-holiday planning.
Handy tip: Prepare Ahead!
Here are a few key points to note before visiting this town in order to travel through this town like a pro:
- Pack in the beach essentials – In turn, even if cloudy skies are in the forecast, always remember to use a good sunblock to prevent that summer holiday burns and blisters we all know and hate.
- Always have a light jacket ready – This town is known for its cloudy conditions year-round, so always be prepared if the weather is scheming to ruin some plans.
- Restaurants are bustling during the weekends – As Broadstairs is the perfect nearby weekend getaway destination from London, some restaurants tend to fill up quickly. Be sure to book beforehand to avoid any disappointment.
- Get ready to walk – Broadstairs is relatively small, making it a fantastic place to hit the pavement and explore this town on foot. Pack in a pair of waterproof hiking shoes to ensure you can trek the trails of Broadstairs in any condition, from shell-covered bays to rocky coastal paths.
Broadstairs is the place to experience something different from the humdrum of everyday urban life, from enjoying the salty tingle of the ocean spray to attending unique festivals.
From enjoying the crash of the waves while nestling inside an eatery with a cup of cocoa to riding exceptional swells when it’s cold as ice, Broadstairs always provides the silver lining.
A town with character stuffed in every nook and cranny, a visit to Broadstairs is a pearl worth unearthing.
If you’re interested in exploring a nearby seaside town, check out this guide on the best things to do in Margate.