Beaches are what Kent does best and along its 350 glorious miles you will find sandy beaches, family-friendly bays and the world famous white cliffs.
With its iconic chalk stacks, Botany Bay in Broadstairs is a sandy spot for those looking for both a place to relax and find adventure. When the tide is in there is still plenty of sand to enjoy, but it is when the tide goes out that the fun really begins. Great for rock pools, the Bay is an explorer’s paradise, regardless of your age.
With gorgeous sandy beaches, independent shops, restaurants, cafes and ice-cream parlours as well cliff-top walks to neighbouring Ramsgate and Margate, Broadstairs has something for everyone. Its main beach – Viking Bay – is ideal for families on the sand, with attractions nearby for when little feet get itchy and require a wander.
You will find miles of sand at Dymchurch, on the bottom fringes of Romney Marsh. They are the jewel in the crown on this stretch of coast, come rain or shine. It is only a short walk to the resort’s amusement park, which is full of rides for young children and can make the ideal end to a day out. The nearby beaches of St Mary’s Bay and Littlestone are also worth exploring.
Folkestone beach is near the Lower Leas Coastal Park, an extremely popular place for families looking to picnic and play, while Sunny Sands, close to the town’s harbour, is a perfect spot for playing with buckets and spades. Kent’s biggest sandcastle competition is held on the beach here each summer.
With a pier, gardens, bandstand, fish and chip restaurants, ice-cream stalls and children’s entertainment Herne Bay has all manner of seaside magic. Add plenty of spots to picnic, an excellent children’s play area on the seafront and you have yourself a great day out. Make sure you don’t mithe town’s air show in mid August – it’s one of the biggest free events in the South East.
With its long sweeping seafront, Hythe is a great place for families. Bring bikes, scooters or even roller-skates to travel the length of the promenade before stopping for an ice cream or cup of tea. The long front, which takes you into neighbouring Sandgate, is popular with visitors all year round seeking a place to stretch their legs by the sea. A short walk from the coastline is the town’s Royal Military Canal, a perfect place for picnics or to hire a rowing boat for an hour or two in the warmer months. Sandgate has a selection of antique shops and coffee shops to spend a few hours.
It is in the midst of a cultural renaissance but Margate is holding onto its traditional seaside holiday town charms which have made it popular with families for decades. But alongside sandy beaches, fish and chip shops and beachside amusements can now be found a cool cafe culture and raft of independent shops selling vintage and retro goods. Dreamland has also been relaunched recently, helping to seal the deal for Margate as a top seaside family destination. The pleasure park has traditional rides, shows and lots of old-fashioned seaside fun together with special events and festivals.
This beautiful sandy beach at Birchington, near Margate, is an ideal choice for young families. It is only a short walk from the car park, making it extremely easy to transport children, pushchairs, picnics and bags to your chosen sandy spot. With a cafe and toilets also not too far away, it makes Minnis Bay an excellent place to spend a few hours.
The Swale coastline has a raft of beaches all in close proximity ensuring there is plenty to do on the North Kent coast. Sheerness, which won Kent’s first Blue Flag award in 1991; Leysdown, that has many of the amenities associated with a traditional British seaside resort; and the tranquil Leas at Minster are all worth checking out on a sunny day.
With its colourful beach huts, long stretches of pebble beach, places to eat and plenty of shallow water for splashing about in, Whitstable is popular all year round. A busy town centre, bustling harbour area and large car park a short hop from the sea combine to make the town a big hit with beachcombers. Walking along the coast to neighbouring Tankerton is a relaxing way to potter away a few hours.