Ramsgate might not be as glamorous as other seaside destinations in the UK. Heck, when most Londoners think of the beach, they think of Brighton beach or further afield.
This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
But don’t sleep on Ramsgate, as this small resort town packs a punch when it comes to pristine English coastline, rolling hills and sandy beaches.
Ramsgate is a quiet seaside town in Kent with a long, intriguing history that can be experienced today. It is famous for its beautiful coastline and harbour, which gained a Badge of Honour by British Royalty for its hospitality.
It also attracted many famous visitors like Queen Victoria, Vincent van Gogh, and Jane Austen through its rich culture and history.
There are so many great things to see and do in Ramsgate it can be hard to know where to start. I’ve put together a list of my favourite places for you. Whether you want some culture or something fun, I have it all here.
Ramsgate is in Southeast England. More specifically, in the Thanet District in the County of Kent. It is a seaside town that was once a fishing hamlet.
If you’re looking for fun things to do, Ramsgate has many historic and culturally rich places to visit. Whether you’re planning to stay a few days or simply heading on a beach day trip from London, you’re sure to have a blast.
So without further ado… let’s get started with our list of the top 13 things to do in Ramsgate!
1. Ramsgate Main Sands – Sandy Beach
You cannot visit this seaside town without exploring its breezy Blue Flag beaches. Ramsgate Main Sands is a popular beach just a short distance from the Royal Harbour and Maritime Museum.
It is great to relax while on the seaside or take a dip in the North Sea.
This sandy beach is a superb destination for an exciting outing for the whole family, with arcades, children’s entertainment, and restaurants nearby.
It is also a great spot to participate in water activities like windsurfing, sailing and jet-skiing. There are centres near the harbour that offer dive training and trips for beginners.
There are about 16 beaches in and around Ramsgate’s stretch of shoreline. It also offers a great hiking experience along the shore that can be done within a few hours.
Hike along the serene shoreline trail to visit nearby towns like Margate and Broadstairs for some fantastic views.
2. Ramsgate Royal Harbour
This beautiful harbour on the waterfront of this seaside hamlet recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. During its 200-year existence, it has been through many pivotal events in not only Ramsgate’s history but New England as well.
In 1821, King George IV granted the harbour its Royal title after visiting it multiple times. He also instructed that his Royal Standard flag is at full mast three times a year.
Ramsgate Royal Harbour is unique in that it is the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom.
Each on the anniversary of an important day for him. His accession to the throne, his coronation, and His Majesty’s birthday.
Today, Thanet District Council owns the Royal Harbour and its adjoining port. It is a beautiful Marina Esplanade with elegant Regency and Victorian buildings with intricate detail in the background.
Fishing boats and yachts also speckle the harbour. It is a breath-taking scene at night with the marina lit up by nearby restaurants, bars, and cafe lights.
3. Ramsgate Tunnels
These tunnels are the UK’s most extensive civilian wartime tunnels. It is about four kilometres long and 27 metres below the ground in some areas. They are complex and even have a few caves in some places.
These tunnels initially connected the town’s main harbour to the railway stations. During the Second World War, the tunnels were converted to underground shelters.
After a bombing in 1940, three hundred were left homeless and resorted to living in the tunnels for shelter. Soon, these tunnels contained cafes, shops, barbers and even an underground hospital.
Today, you can tour about 1.25 kilometres of these elaborate tunnels. The guided tours last about an hour and a half. The environment is rocky and cold, so a sensible pair of shoes and a wind-resistant jacket or jersey is recommended.
On the tour, you’ll first watch a short film about the history of this railway tunnel and discover how and why it got built.
Then, you’ll hear stories detailing the lives of the people that lived in this railway tunnel. This is a great tour to take to dig into the more in-depth accounts of the town you might’ve missed above ground.
The best place to enjoy these sights is at the pier’s lighthouse. While you can’t enter it, it does provide wonderful views of the town and the oceans. The sociable Royal Yacht Club is another excellent spot to view the harbour and marina.
5. Italianate Glasshouse and Tea Garden
The Italianate Glasshouse, a designated historic monument with Grade II status, and was built in the grounds of East Cliff Lodge, Sir Moses Montefiore’s estate in 1832.
Moses acquired the spectacular edifice, after seeing it in an auction catalogue.
6. Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve
Pegwell Bay is a small inlet on the English Channel coast between Ramsgate and Sandwich, Kent, opposite the mouth of the River Stour.
The bay is home to a nature reserve, including mudflats and salt marshes inhabited by migrating waders and wildfowl.
The nature reserve is reachable via Pegwell Bay Country Park, located along the A256 Ramsgate to Dover route.
7. Viking Bay
The Viking Bay is the most well-known beach in the seaside town of Broadstairs, one of Britain’s archetypal resorts. One of Broadstairs major attractions is the sand crescent.
At Viking Bay, you’ll find all the bells and whistles of a traditional British seaside town: changing huts, a promenade, and even a pier.
At the northern end of the beach is a tiny harbour with several fishing boats. Bleak House, where Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield, overlooks the harbour.
8. Viking Coastal Trail
The Viking Coastal Trail is one of Kent’s most beautiful circular trails, covering 32 miles and runs along the coast of Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate before heading inland.
The trail is divided up into different sections. I walked the Viking Coastal Trail section that went from Ramsgate to Margate and loved.
The route is very pleasant, and you get to see some marvellous views. I highly recommend it. Just make you to wear comfortable walking shoe and have some snacks for when you take breaks.
Visit These Fishing Hamlet’s Museums
Ramsgate has an abundant history on display, from naval matters to vintage technology. Here are a few of the top museums that you should visit.
9. Ramsgate Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum is in the Clock House on Ramsgate harbour. Ramsgate has its own Meridian Line, calculated in this same Clock House.
This unique Ramsgate Meridian is five minutes and 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and carved into the floor of the Maritime Museum as a constant reminder.
That’s not all the Maritime Museum shows off. Four permanent exhibits retell the area’s maritime history, with a fifth gallery room with temporary displays.
The permanent displays exhibit the town’s evolution of lifeboats and shipwrecks, harbour, navigation, and fishing life.
10. The Micro Museum
The name of this museum might be a bit misleading. It is, in fact, not a tiny museum with scaled-down displays. This Micro Museum in Ramsgate gives you a blast from the past displaying digital devices from the early 20th and 21st centuries.
If you were an avid Gameboy player or frequent visitor to the arcade when you were a kid, you’d enjoy this nostalgic place.
This electronic museum is Kent’s only Computer History Museum, where you can learn intriguing facts about computers, gaming devices and their creators. Learn about the “Father of Computers”, Charles Babbage, and the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace.
It wouldn’t be fair to take you down memory lane and dangle your childhood toys in front of you without giving you a chance to relive your childhood. That is why the museum also has over 30 consoles and computers for guests to play on.
These are all loaded with the original or retro remakes of your favourite games from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
11. This Museum is (Not) Obsolete
This museum is a new addition to the Ramsgate attractions list. Opened by UK singer, music producer and Youtuber Sam Battle, more popularly known as ‘Look Mum, No Computer’. This Museum is (Not) Obsolete is an experimental museum that celebrates obsolete musical instruments and technology.
The exhibitions open seasonally and are only available by booking. The museum exhibits art pieces by Sam like his Teletubby Tidalwave, Furby Organ, and 1000 Oscillator Megadrone.
There are also temporary and commissioned exhibitions by fellow experimental artists.
There are talks of the museum merging with The Micro Museum in 2022, so keep an eye out for the possible collaboration.
The town has a few memorials and buildings dedicated to important people, and all of them are absolutely beautiful.
12. St. Augustine’s Church
When you visit Ramsgate, take a look around and see if you can spot the architect Augustus Pugin’s work. He lived here in the 19th century and designed a few structures in town.
He designed Big Ben, and similarly, the Gothic Revival style of the clock is a tell-tale design of his.
One of these places he designed was St. Augustine’s Church. The exterior is built in typical Pugin fashion and has colourful stained windows all around. The interior has beautifully intricate sculptures detailing the tale of Christ.
Pugin dedicated this church to the great St. Augustine of England as his modern shrine. Inside, there are a few artefacts to commemorate the saint. Of those artefacts are a captivating purple and gold cloak. However, the most interesting is the relic with St. Augustine’s bone.
The church was a passion project of Pugin, which he built with his own money. After his death, the church eventually became Pugin’s burial place, too.
13. King George VI Memorial Park
This park on Ramsgate Eastcliff is a beautiful park between Ramsgate and Broadstairs. The grounds belonged to the philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore, but his land was sold to the Borough Council when he died.
Later, the council renamed it ‘King George VI Memorial Park’ and turned it into a spacious park in the middle of town. There are a few short, forested trails and a children’s playground to burn off energy.
One of the top attractions in the park is the beautiful Italianate Glasshouse, which survived from Sir Montefiore’s property. The glasshouse is also a greenhouse and occasionally a quaint tea garden with outdoor seating.
It isn’t open all year round, so make sure to be in Ramsgate during April and September to visit the glasshouse.
The Viking Coastal Trail, runs along the park’s edge, is one of its highlights. Another feature of the park is the 19th-century Italianate greenhouse.
Ramsgate has a great collection of restaurants with flavours from all over the world. See which eateries are a must-try here.
Step inside the bright blue storefront and transport yourself right into this 1940s themed cafe. The early 1940s were a turbulent time for most of the world during WWII. After the war, it was a significant period of rebuilding.
That is what this vintage tearoom celebrates and tries to emulate.
Set in a building that dates back to 1807, this eatery serves tasty scones, cakes, and sandwiches. Of course, their speciality is tea, which is why you’ll find some of the best afternoon teas in London here with over 17 different teas.
The Home Front Tea Room caters to everyone, whether vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. Enjoy the trip back in time while the classic tunes of the 1940s serenade you.
This family-run Greek restaurant brings the flavours of the Mediterranean right to your plate. The stone-faced restaurant is a stone’s throw from the Royal Harbour and provides indoor and outdoor seating.
This makes it a great place to catch a bite and enjoy stunning sunset views.
They often have live bands and performances to enjoy while you experience the Greek Cypriot flavours. Try their moussaka, kleftiko and kebabs before going for dessert with tasty baklava.
They also have a vegan menu with an assortment of dishes like halloumi keftedes and falafels.
They host ‘Greek Nights’ throughout the year and present guests with 10-to-12 mini-courses of Greek Meze. During these evenings there is also live Greek entertainment.
This Italian restaurant first opened its doors in 2014 and has quickly won locals and tourists’ hearts (and stomachs). The family-run business gets fresh produce from Italian suppliers for that authentic taste from nonna’s kitchen.
The head chef, Fatos Hykaj, is also the restaurant owner and takes great pride in his craft.
Enjoy traditional Italian dishes like a classic calzone with tomato, fresh basil, mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
They also have a selection of oven-baked pasta and pizzas. If you’re trying to stay away from the carbs, they also have fresh fish and meat dishes. Wash it down with wine from their extensive wine list or an Italian beer.
If your favourite dish isn’t on the menu, they offer to recreate it with the ingredients they have at hand. Now that’s good service.
A La Turka is a Turkish restaurant near the Ramsgate harbour that serves Gaziantep dishes. This restaurant has four chains across Kent and is proud to be the only restaurant in Kent to serve dishes from Turkey’s southeastern region.
This chain serves dishes for every meal of the day, including brunch and desserts. Meals are cooked by Turkish chefs over wood charcoal to keep the flavours as authentic as possible.
House specials include chicken and lamb shish served with rice or bulgur and grilled veggies. One of their specialities is their flame-grilled flatbreads topped with an original mix of spices.
If ordering from their impressive menu leaves you indecisive, they also have a set lunch menu. This includes Turkish favourites like falafels, kofte and Turkish rice pudding.
Mariners Bar is a nautical-themed bar fit for this maritime seaside town. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped in a pirate ship with the wood interior and sea-themed decor. Fishing nets hang from the ceiling, and a giant crab greets you at one end of the bar.
The menu features a variety of locally sourced fresh fish and shellfish daily. They’ve also added a new pizza menu. Additionally, they have one or two vegetarian options available.
They also recently revamped their drinks menu. Try their extensive collection of gin with over 65 gins to choose from. Or choose from a selection of wines, beers, and coffees. Occasionally, they’ll have buffets and live events like open mic nights at the bar.
If you’re planning an extended stay in the coastal town, you’ll need somewhere to rest for the night. These Ramsgate accommodations are sure to provide you with a splendid stay.
This swanky four-star hotel sits a two-minute walk from Ramsgate Main Sands Beach. The two-story Albion House has both town and sea views, with some rooms having a balcony.
Rooms are contemporary and warm and have everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a private en-suite bathroom.
There are also an array of activities to enjoy nearby and on-site, like the hotel’s stylish restaurant and bar. Pets are allowed, so you don’t have to leave your furry friend at home on this trip.
This three-star hotel comprises three townhouses overlooking the gorgeous sea and harbour. The Royal Harbour Hotel is in an ideal location close to many essential places in town, including the train station and Ramsgate ferry terminal. It is also only a 10-minute drive from Kent Airport.
Rooms at this Georgian Townhouse are quaint with adjoining private bathrooms. There are also tea and coffee facilities available in the rooms. Rooms have flat-screen TVs with cable channels and Wi-Fi.
This modern hotel is slightly easier on the pocket than the other two hotels. It is also in an excellent position in the heart of Ramsgate. It is within walking distance of the town’s beach and marina.
The Oak Hotel’s rooms are comfortable in size with private bathrooms. Each room also has coffee facilities, a flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi. There is an adjoining restaurant and bar, so you won’t have to go far for a bite to eat.
History of Ramsgate
Ramsgate’s history dates back many centuries. The first few people to arrive in this area were the Belgic peoples, with the Romans coming slightly after that in 54 BC.
At the end of the Roman Period, the Anglo-Saxons arrived in the 5th century, which was when the town received its name.
The earliest reference ‘Hræfn’s geat’ from the Anglo-Saxon means ‘cliff gap’. This term has become the basis of the town’s many names throughout its existence. Over the years, people have settled on “Ramsgate” to become the forever name for the seaside town.
Despite its long history, the town that we recognise today only developed in the 1700s as a hamlet. Construction of the pivotal Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and took just over a century to complete.
As the world and technology developed over time, so did Ramsgate. During World War II, it also played an essential part by acting as an assembly point for many troops and ships to and from Dunkirk.
After the war, this coastal town welcomed thousands of families and visitors to its sunny beaches and beautiful harbours.
How to Get to Ramsgate
The fastest way to get to Ramsgate from London is by train. You can get a ride to London from multiple stations but leaving from St Pancras International allows the shortest travel time.
In total, the trip will take just over one hour, which makes it an excellent day trip from London by train.
There are around 54 direct trains from St Pancras to Ramsgate every day with Southeastern Railway. It’s best to book your ticket ahead of time to save a bit of cash as last-minute tickets are more expensive.
It is also possible to reach Ramsgate from London by bus. National Express is the leading bus service to take you to Ramsgate.
They offer rides in a coach with air-conditioning, power sockets and free Wi-Fi. The fastest travel time by bus is three hours, but it can vary depending on traffic.
There are many things to do near Ramsgate. While visiting, don’t forget to check out these wonderful surrounding areas.
Broadstairs is another coastal town in Thanet. It is so close to Ramsgate that you can walk to it along the beach if you’re looking to get in your steps. The coastline that connects the towns is almost three kilometres long and a lovely 45-minute stroll.
Charles Dickens regularly visited it from 1837 to 1859 and was fondly referred to by him as “Our English Watering Place”.
Today, there is a museum dedicated to his memory in the town. There is also a Broadstairs Dickens Festival held every year in his honour.
The quaint historical town has Blue Flag Beaches, wonderful eateries and traditional arcades. The town has a love for good food and hosts a food festival twice a year in Victoria Gardens.
The event sees all kinds of stands selling confectionery, baked goods and cheese platters. Broadstairs is also one of the four places in Kent with a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Stark is an intimate restaurant with limited seating and an ever-changing menu, definitely worth a visit.
Another town on the same coast as Broadstairs is Margate. This town is usually part of the Viking Coastal Trail in Kent, which takes up to four hours to hike.
Margate is also linked via the coastline to Ramsgate, and it comes just after Broadstairs.
This coastal hike from Ramsgate to Margate is around 12 kilometres and would take about two and a half hours to walk.
While it can be tiring, it also has fantastic views and attractions along the way from start to finish. These attractions include the iconic rock formations on Botany Bay and Dumpton Bay.
Margate has remained a popular coastal town that has constantly revamped itself. Today you’ll find many fun indie cafes and contemporary art throughout town.
Release your inner child at the retro-themed theme park of Dreamland or go shopping at the colourful vintage shops dotted throughout the town.
Ramsgate is a beautiful town and offers plenty of adventure, but there might still be a few things you’d like to know about it. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about Ramsgate, Kent.
Yes. Ramsgate isn’t only a great area to visit but is also becoming increasingly popular with property owners and home buyers. It has quickly risen to become one of the top hotspots for relocating Londoners.
Not necessarily because both towns have their own draws. Ramsgate’s attractions are more focused on the town’s long history.
Margate has contemporary attractions and is constantly evolving. The two towns are so close to each other that there is bound to be overlap.
Luckily, they are within a few hours hike or a short drive, so you don’t have to choose. Add them both to your travel itinerary and discover the best of these towns.
Ramsgate is roughly 300 years old. While there have been inhabitants in the area for centuries, Ramsgate, as we know it today, has only officially been a town since the 1700s.
In short, yes, Ramsgate is definitely worth visiting. This seaside town has many things to do and see, from its scenic streets to its calming shores and harbours.
There are also plenty of restaurants with local and international cuisine to try out while you’re overlooking the harbour.
There are also the cultural and historical ties this town has with WWII that make it worth visiting. Attractions in this town like the Ramsgate Tunnels and The Home Front Tea Room are a constant reminder of the war and how the town managed to survive it.
Now that you know more about all you can experience in this coastal town, it’s time to add Ramsgate to your bucket list of places to visit in Kent.
The town looks quaint but actually has a lot to offer which can grow your Ramsgate things-to-do list quite a bit.
Even with a slight decline in numbers a few decades back, this town is on a steady incline to become just as popular now as it was then. When you visit, make sure to see all of the quirky parts of town too, which will have you coming back time and time again.