Broadstairs is a popular coastal town in East Kent. The town lies above a harbour, historically known for smuggling. Popular for its clean sandy beaches, clean bathing water and variety of pubs and restaurants. It was once voted the 2nd best seaside resort in the UK by a Guardian newspaper poll (St. Ives in Cornwall was #1). In 2007 it was voted best East Coast seaside resort in Great Britain, beating heavyweights like Southend, Scarborough and Gt. Yarmouth. Broadstairs has retained its traditional Victorian resort appeal.
1 Broadstairs station is at the top end of the High Street and is served by trains run by South Eastern. The fast service runs from London Victoria via Chatham and Faversham then along the North Kent coast through Whitstable, Herne Bay Ramsgate and Margate. Services are twice an hour Monday to Saturday, hourly on Sunday and journeys take about 1 hour 45 minutes to Broadstairs. Trains also run from London Charing Cross via Ashford (Kent) and Canterbury (West) passing through Ramsgate, although both these services have considerably longer journey times perhaps offset by scenic views of the Kent countryside.
- Broadstairs is 76 mi (122 km) from London and about 1 hour from the M25 via the M2 and 16 miles east of Canterbury.
- Broadstairs is 2 miles from the cross channel port of Ramsgate with a direct link to Ostend in Belgium (for car passengers/coaches only though - no foot passengers)
Manston Airport was closed in 2015.
Being a small town the main sights are easily navigable on foot.
- Thanet Loop This bus service runs every 10 minutes during the main part of the day between Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. On Sundays the service is mostly every 20 minutes during the day.
- Taxis are abundant.
- 1 Viking Bay. The town’s main bay, with a golden sandy beach about 150 m long with cliff-top promenade and harbour pier. The shore drops away quite steeply so keep an eye on kids and weak swimmers at high tide.
- 2 Bleak House, Fort Rd, ☏ . It stands overlooking Viking Bay. A former residence of Charles Dickens.
- 3 Dickens' House Museum, 2 Victoria Parade, ☏ . It was also frequented by Charles Dickens and is now a museum devoted to the English author. Also found here is the tourist info office.
- 4 Crampton Tower Museum, The Broadway, ☏ . Worth a visit, it is home to the town's stagecoach.
- 5 Palace Cinema, Harbour Street, ☏ . Cute and petite.
- In Napoleonic times, Eagle House (now flats sited on the beach) was the headquarters of the Coastal Blockade. It was here that news of the victory at Waterloo was first received, together with the French eagle standard captured at the battle (hence the name).
- Beaches of Broadstairs. Botany, Joss, Stone, Louisa, Kingsgate, Dumpton. Dogs are banned from the beach from May 1 to September 30.
- Punch & Judy show (Viking Bay). During the school summer holiday period there is (weather permitting).
- donkey rides.
- Broadstairs Town Trail. A self-guided walk leading you around the town. The trail’s 10 illustrated boards and pamphlet guide give an insight into the history of some local people and buildings. Town Trail leaflets are available for 20p from the Visitor Information Centre and Broadstairs & St. Peter’s Town Council Offices at Pierremont Hall.
- Broadstairs Dickens Festival Held every June since 1937 and features locals dressed in Dickensian costumes. An event is also held in December.
- Annual Folk Festival. Takes place in the town for a week in August. Live music in most pubs plus concert tents.
- The Bandstand hosts a full programme of entertainment during the summer.
Broadstairs is home to an abundant number of small traders offering specialised and unique products.
- The Bottleneck: Supplier of Quality Wines, 7-9 Charlotte Street, ☏ . Off-license with a great selection of Australian wines.
- Albion Bookshop. A unique and huge converted chapel that is a maze of old books. Book lovers will easily be able to waste away a couple of hours in here digging around.
- Suzanne's. A souvenir and joke shop at the bottom of town, selling gifts for the kids, beachwear, sunglasses, hats and seaside essentials like lylos, buckets and spades.
- Westwood Cross. A shopping centre and entertainment park which opened in 2005, hosting big high-street names such as WHSmith, Debenhams, HMV and H&M. Also a Vue cinema, Casino and numerous chain restaurants.
- There are many inexpensive ice cream outlets on Viking Bay Beach as well as Tea and Coffee outlet's.
- Sample traditional fish and chips at one of the town's numerous venues.
- The pretty harbour area popular if you like seafood.
- The promenade hosts traditional style ice cream parlours.
- 1 Morelli's, 14 Victoria Parade, ☏ . The most popular ice cream parlours by far is the flagship outlet for the ice-cream chain that graces the shores of England's most prestigious resorts, including Folkestone, Canterbury and a branch in top London store Harrods. The ice-cream is excellent, although expensive. Expect to pay in the region of £5-7 for a good sized sundae. Worth the money though. Also serve great coffees, teas and hot-chocs.
- 2 Osteria Posilippo, 14 Albion St, ☏ . Good trattoria style pizza/pasta run by real Italians. Overlooks Viking Bay and has exterior tables (summer only). In 2007 it was rated as one of the top 10 Italian restaurants in UK by The Independent. Advisable to book in advance.
- Broadstairs Tandoori, 41 Albion St, ☏ . Nepalese Indian (run by Gurkas). Locally known as one of the best in Kent.
- 3 The Tartar Frigate, Harbour Street, ☏ . Specialises in seafood.
There are a plethora of pubs in Broadstairs and people tend to start drinking at the top of town, around Broadstairs Station, and then wander down the hill towards the sea front pubs.
- Cramptons (opposite the station). Usually at the start of most pub-crawls in the town and is frequented by a fairly young crowd. It is a lively pub with screens for the big matches and occasionally has good drinks offers. Part of the Thorley Taverns group.
- Ballards Lounge and the Royal Albion Hotel bar. An unrivalled position on the cliff top overlooking Viking Bay. A good place for coffee, beer or wine. Food also served.
- Tartar Frigate. Known as "the last pub in town" because it is practically on the beach at the bottom of Harbour Street. Seafaring themes and a cosy atmosphere, particularly in winter. Pool table available and is home to a great seafood restaurant upstairs.
- The Dolphin Pub. Either loved or hated by locals. Frequented by a young crowd it often has drink promotions, a couple of bars, pool and a dance floor most nights. Generally good, although can get rowdy.
- Harpers Wine Bar. A legend in Thanet, and Broadstairs' only late-license establishment, staying open until around 2-3AM most nights. Serves good cocktails, beers and spirits at reasonable prices. One of the only places in Thanet to serve the Czech killer 'Absinthe'. Can get very busy, especially after 11PM at weekends. Often caters for those who prefer not to go clubbing in Margate after a night out in Broadstairs. Get there early for seats.
Lots of small guesthouses and several hotels
- 1 Royal Albion, 12 Albion St., ☏ . A 3-star hotel overlooking Viking Bay. Once inhabited by Charles Dickens. Very expensive (£80-120pn) for what you get, although has fantastic views. Part of the Shepard Naeme group.
- 2 Travelodge Margate-Westwood, Unit 53, Westwood Cross Retail Park, Margate Rd, Ramsgate (in the Westwood Cross Retail Park 2 miles from the town centre; regular buses link the Centre with Broadstairs, Ramsgate, and Margate), ☏ . Usually has rooms for ~£40pn but by booking in advance you can get them as cheap as £9pn.
- St. Peters Village is about a half hour walk from the town centre and makes a charming afternoon out, strolling round the churchyard and small shops. The graveyard of St. Peters church is said to be the largest in England.
- Faversham for the national fruit collection and breweries.