RAMBLINNS – AN INSIDERS’ GUIDE TO THE COAST by JOHN ROGERS
ST LEONARD’S -
Check out St Leonard’s Hastings for a piece of pavement culture overlooking the sea and bags of attitude. The Love Café for breakfast and Half Man Half Burger for lunch. There’s a shop selling old rockers’ clobber and another selling real rockers’ bikes - no scooters here, they are reserved for the gentrified mods of the Hastings Old Town! Great vintage clothing in Norman Road and a good selection of bric a brac and vintage stuff at reasonable prices and nothing is quite antique! A few good pubs, too…
Dungeness is unique and probably needs no explanation, but there’s something very weird about the fun and innocence of giggling happy children riding on the miniature railway in the shadow of the scary-looking nuclear reactors! Our fisherman Ken pulls his boats onto the beach here and in the Spring and Summer his daughter barbecues his fresh catch with some great dishes served up on the beach - look for them both at the Dungeness Fish Hut. It’s now both trendy and expensive to live in the glowing amber lee of the reactors but some of the harmonious modern architecture is well worth seeing!
FOLKESTONE & SANDGATE -
The harbour arm comes to life on a sunny Sunday with live music and diverse street food and drink, making this a great place to chill, as is the popular Artists Quarter. Pick a clear day head towards Capel Le Fern on the old road to Dover you need to turn off to the cliff to find The Clifftop Café (CT18 7HT) with the most spectacular views of the channel ferries and FRANCE beyond!
BROADSTAIRS & RAMSGATE -
The Thanet Coast is full of surprises and there’s a great bookshop/ bar in an old chapel on Albion Street, Broadstairs that allows you to stay all day to read a book and enjoy great beer and cider! Ramsgate harbour is well worth a visit with many little bars and restaurants springing up in the viaduct arches on the quayside.
The Turner Contemporary has been a catalyst for redevelopment in the harbour with cafés, pubs and vintage antique shops aplenty. Scott’s Emporium is a huge backstreet warehouse of old and not-so-old finds, from furniture and fittings to old art and vintage 1960's items from a door knob to old shop and house clearance interiors-great fun! At the Walpole Bay Hotel, famous artists and celebrities have drawn or painted on napkins, including Margate girl Tracy Emin and Damian Hirst.
NORTH KENT COAST & MEDWAY ESTAURY -
Kent enjoys a diversity of coastline like no other. Head towards the North Kent coast line of Dickensian creeks and estuaries. Try Hollowshore, where Faversham Creek meets the Medway Estuary. You can walk on the banks of the creek from Faversham Brent’s to the Shipwright’s Arms and see lovely wooden boats being built repaired or sailed. Check out the Swale Barge Match, where huge sailing barges race all day - and party all night! - on the banks of Hollowshore.