Kent has an impressive 11 Blue Flag beaches – awarded on the basis of the quality of the water and facilities offered
Botany Bay Broadstairs CT10 3LG
A gem of a beach that’s a little hard to find but is well worth the hunt. You can laze on the beach all day as even at high tide there is still a generous strip of sand to enjoy. When the tide goes out, grab a net and bucket and explore the rock pools by the stunning chalk cliffs. The beach cafe serves food, drink and those other seaside essentials – deckchairs and buckets and spades. Dogs banned May to the end of September.
Joss Bay Broadstairs CT10 3PG
Known as the best surfing beach around, beautiful Joss Bay even has its own surf school where you can hire boards and wet suits. You can also explore more of Kent’s glorious sandy coastline by bike, taking on beach-hopping sections of the 32-mile Viking Coastal Trail. Soak up the views and enjoy refreshments from the café on the sands. There is parking and also toilets. Summer dog ban.
Leysdown Sheppey ME12 4QB
Fall back in love with the great British seaside at Leysdown. You can see for miles and the kids will be safe in the shallow paddling waters that get surprisingly warm in the summer. What’s more, there’s plenty to do if the sun doesn’t shine with shops, amusements, pubs, cafes and picnic areas. Summer dog ban.
Minnis Bay Margate CT7 9QR
This long stretch of beach is perfect sandcastle-building territory, with an outdoor play area, paddling pool and seasonal lifeguards. If sandcastles aren’t your thing try some water sports, with windsurfing and kiteboarding being popular choices. Take your bikes and you’ll find the 3.75-mile section of the Viking Coastal Trail to Margate the perfect excuse to explore Thanet’s coastline. You’ll also find a kiosk on the prom and a restaurant. Summer dog ban.
Minster Leas Sheppey ME12 2EG
Sand and shingle with a promenade and grassy bank with the town of Minster behind. The prom features free-to-use green gym equipment – then pop over to the Playa pub for a beer and bite.
Ramsgate Main Sands Ramsgate CT11 8JD
Ramsgate’s popular sandy bay offers all the traditional seaside trappings you could hope for plus children’s amusements, arcades and eateries. Just a short distance from the beach you’ll see the vibrant Royal Harbour (Britain’s one and only) and the marina. There are three Active Ramsgate walks: choose between the five-mile cliff-top walk to Broadstairs, the peaceful six-mile stroll to Pegwell Bay and Sandwich National Nature Reserve or an architectural trail around Ramsgate. There are charges for parking. Dog ban.
Sheerness Beach Sheppey ME12 2TF
This shingle beach is an ideal spot for families looking for an afternoon by the sea, looking out over the Thames and Medway estuaries. After taking a dip, you can always take to two wheels and explore more ashore on the 6.3-mile mainly traffic-free Sheerness Way from beautiful Barton’s Point Coastal Park. Dog ban.
St Mildred’s Bay Margate CT8 8AU
Another of Thanet’s sandy bays, St Mildred’s is a cliff-lined beach with promenade and tidal pool in the heart of Westgate and edged with tennis courts, a putting green and a restaurant. Travel up the coast on the Viking Coastal Trail and you can head to Margate or quieter Reculver Towers to finish up your day. Dog ban.
Stone Bay Broadstairs CT10 1ED
A pebble’s throw from Broadstairs main sands, Stone Bay is the perfect escape from the hustle of the town. Take a dip or explore the rock pools on this sandy beach and when the sun finally ducks behind the chalk cliffs, head back into Broadstairs along the promenade to discover the range of bars and eateries on the beach front. Dog ban.
Tankerton Beach Whitstable CT5 2BE
A family haven of safe bathing, pretty painted beach huts and sloping grassy banks. At low tide a long, pleasant walk takes you far offshore with a chance to paddle and explore rock pools. Enjoy a picnic on the grassy Tankerton Slopes or just sit and enjoy the view.
West Bay Margate CT8 8QG
Does your ideal trip to the beach include some good old fashioned sandcastle building? If so, West Bay couldn’t be better. With a long stretch of sandy beach, rock pools and a café on the promenade, it makes for a perfect family day out. Keep an eye on the time though because at high tide the beach (and those carefully crafted sandcastles) will be swept away. But the day needn’t end there – the nearby pub and café are both perfect spots to watch the sunset. Beach hut hire available. Dog ban.
This year’s Blue Flag beaches will announced in May
1 Hythe: A steep pebble beach with a long promenade and some great places to eat
2 Kingsdown: Pebbles, white cliffs and one of the best beach pubs in the county – the Zetland Arms. What more could you want?
3 Littlestone: Large sandy beach near New Romney stretching out half a mile at low tide
4 St Mary’s Bay: Vast sand and shingle beach that stretches north to Dymchurch and south to Littlestone
5 Sunny Sands, Folkestone: Small sandy, always popular beach in the heart of the town