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.
Trains from London Victoria run every 30-60 mins, taking 1 hr 50 min min via Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Sittingbourne and Faversham, where the train may divide. You need to be in the portion running along the north coast to Whitstable, Margate and Broadstairs, continuing to Ramsgate. The other portion heads south to Canterbury East and Dover Priory.
An occasional train takes 3 hours from London Charing Cross, meandering via Ashford, Canterbury West and Ramsgate. You'd only take it to reach one of the minor stations: Paddock Wood, Sturry, Dumpton Park, are these lyrics from Flanders and Swann's Slow Train?
National Express NX022 takes 3 hr 15 min from London Victoria via Canterbury and Margate to Broadstairs, continuing to Ramsgate. In summer 2020 this only runs once a day.
- 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.
- The town is easily navigable on foot.
- The Loop Bus runs every 10-20 min between Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. .
- Taxis are abundant.
- 1 Viking Bay has 200 yards of golden sandy beach between the cliffs. The shore drops away quite steeply so keep an eye on kids and weak swimmers. No dogs anytime 1 May - 30 Sept.
- 2 Dickens House Museum, 2 Victoria Parade CT10 1QS, ☏ . Closed through 2020. Cottage frequented by Charles Dickens and now a small museum. Its owner Mary Pearson Strong inspired Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield, who was gripped by a mission to prevent the passage of donkeys in front of the cottage.
- Crampton Tower Museum, Broadway CT10 2AB (by railway station), ☏ . closed until April 2021. Small local history museum in a water tower disguised as a castle.
- 3 St Peter's is a village that's become part of Broadstairs. Ted Heath (1916-2005) was born here; he was Prime Minister 1970-74 and a keen yachtsman. St Peter's Church (C of E) is a charming old building with an interesting graveyard.
- Other beaches near Broadstairs are Botany Bay, Joss Bay (for surf), Stone Bay (sandy in spite of the name), Louisa Bay (no dogs May-Sept 10:00-18:00), Kingsgate Bay and Dumpton Gap. At low tide you can walk between several of the beaches, but the high tide comes right up to the cliffs. This exposed, cliff-backed coastline is not suitable for launching anything much bigger than a paddle-board, for marinas and harbours head to Ramsgate or Sandwich.
- 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.
- Palace Cinema is on Harbour Street, tel +44 1843 865726.
- Broadstairs Dickens Festival is in June. Dickens was a regular visitor 1837-1859 and described the place as "Our English Watering Place". For the centenary of his first stay they staged David Copperfield and decked the townsfolk in Victorian dress. The publicity worked and it became an annual event, though it was cancelled in 2020. The next event is 18-20 June 2021, probably staging A Tale of Two Cities.
- Folk Week is in August, venues all over town. The next event is 6-13 Aug 2021.
- 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, 7-9 Charlotte Street, ☏ . M-Th 09:30-18:00, F Sa 09:30-20:00. Off-license with a great selection of wines.
- 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 is a big retail park 3 miles west of town (see Travelodge marker). It has the usual "High Street" retailers (an Olde English phrase meaning "relocated away from High St some time during the previous millennium"), Vue cinema and budget eating places.
- Albion St and Harbour St are wall-to-wall cheap eateries, takeaway or sit in. The strip extends inland up High St and southwest along York Rd.
- Morelli's Gelato, 14 Victoria Parade CT10 1QS, ☏ . M-F 08:00-17:00, Sa Su 08:00-18:00. Large popular ice cream parlour.
- 1 Posilippo Pizzeria, 14 Albion St, Broadstairs CT10 1LU, ☏ . Daily 12:00-21:30. Good small trattoria, they also have branches in Canterbury and Faversham.
- Broadstairs Tandoori, 41 Albion St, ☏ . Nepalese Indian (run by Gurkas). Locally known as one of the best in Kent.
- 2 The Tartar Frigate, Harbour Street, Broadstairs 1EU, ☏ . Daily 11:00-23:00. Downstairs is a pub with live music.The upstairs restaurant serves mostly seafood but there's a good vegetarian and vegan menu.
- Cramptons, 139 High Street, Broadstairs CT10 1NG (by railway station). Daily 12:00-23:00. This was traditionally the start of pub-crawls in town, but through the day it's a family-friendly pub restaurant. Owned by Thorley Taverns.
- Chapel Bar & Bookshop, 44 Albion St, Broadstairs CT10 1NE. M-W 16:00-01:00, Th-Su 12:00-02:00. Amazing place: a large converted chapel that is a maze of old books, combined with a bar and meals with vegan options. Dogs welcome.
- Tartar Frigate: see Eat.
- Dolphin Inn, 55 Albion St, Broadstairs CT10 1NE. Daily 11:00-23:00. Large traditional pub, usually has a young crowd. Has a dance floor most nights. Generally good but can get rowdy.
- Harpers Bar, 8 Harbour St, Broadstairs CT10 1ET, ☏ . Su-Th 11:00-23:00, F Sa 11:00-00:30. Lively bar and restaurant, often has live music so it's not the place for a quiet chat..
- The main strip for B&Bs is Ramsgate Road, southwest corner of town. There's no campsite or hostel nearby.
- Bleak House on Fort Rd was originally the residence of the captain of one of the forts. Dickens occasionally stayed, and wrote David Copperfield here. The name "Bleak House" came later and it's unlikely to have inspired that novel (a house in St Albans is more plausible). It's nowadays a B&B but in 2020 has been re-purposed as a yoga centre.
- 1 Royal Albion, 12 Albion St, Broadstairs CT10 1AN, ☏ . Mid-range hotel in Georgian villa once inhabited by Charles Dickens, now owned by Shepherd Neame brewery group. Comfy, and great sea views, which you're paying for. It also has a popular restaurant, serving daily 12:00-21:00. B&B double £120.
- 2 Travelodge Margate Westwood, Unit 53, Westwood Cross Retail Park, Margate Rd, Broadstairs CT12 5GR (on A256 three miles east of Broadstairs), ☏ . Functional business hotel on a bland retail estate in mid-Thanet. B&B double £60.