Kent boasts 207 miles around its edge, so it's no wonder it has the coast with the most. We've picked 10 beach spots to head to, and give you a guide to the county's award-winning ones
1 Botany Bay
Thanet boasts some of the county’s top beaches, many with Blue Flags. Picture the iconic chalk stacks of Botany Bay, near Broadstairs, and you’re ready to head to the coast. A perfect sandy spot for those both looking to relax or seek adventure, there’s plenty of sand to enjoy – although the ends can be cut off at high tide - there’s also hours of rock pooling to be had at this beach, which boasts a Blue Flag.
With one of the most enclosed sandy beaches in the county, alongside bustling independent shops, restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlours, as well cliff top walks, Broadstairs is a winner whatever you’re looking for by the sea. It’s an ideal place for families to spend a few hours building sandcastles or burying dad, plus there are attractions in easy walking distance.
Windswept but picturesque, the shingle beach is flat and has a wealth of wildlife. With lots of parking available, it’s a great spot to take your dog is he likes to run free without fear of running into many other dogs – there’s so much space he should be able to let off plenty of steam undisturbed.
You’ll find miles of sand stretching ahead of you at Dymchurch. The golden sands are the jewel in the crown for this seaside spot, come rain or shine. The beach is also a short walk from the Family Amusement Park, which is full of rides for young ones to enjoy.
Sunny Sands Beach is one of the county’s most popular destinations. Overlooked by the town’s mermaid statue, it’s home to a sandcastle contest in high summer and is a beautiful spot to take your dog on cooler days. There’s lots of facilities close at hand, and is only a short walk from the parking, restaurants and the town’s Creative Quarter.
6 Herne Bay
All manner of seaside magic can be found on the shores of Herne Bay. It has a pier, bandstand, fish and chip restaurants and ice cream stalls for a great British day out at the seaside. There’s also a wealth of picnic spots and a children’s play area right on the seafront, with plenty of parking nearby.
Traditional seaside charm, beach-side amusements, fish and chip restaurants and takeaways plus its cool retro vibe and cafe culture make Margate a must. The sandy spots are feet away from the culture and independent shops and galleries, not to mention Dreamland theme park, so there’s something for everyone here.
It may not be your first thought, but the Swale coastline has beaches lining up to be enjoyed. With coastal pit-stops at Sheerness, Leysdown and the tranquil Leas at Minster these bathing and walking spots are great reason to head over the Sheppey Crossing.
The beach - a pebble’s throw from Whitstable - is a family haven of safe bathing, pretty painted beach huts and sloping grassy banks. At low tide the sea gives way to a long, pleasant walk to take you right out to sea, and a chance to explore rock pools, paddle and discover some local sea-life. When you’ve finished paddling enjoy a picnic on the grassy area and admire the view. The beach huts are also Instagram-tastic.
Colourful beach huts, long stretches of pebble beach and boardwalk, eateries galore and plenty of shallow water for splashing - you can’t beat Whitstable’s shingle beach for that by-the-coast afternoon feeling. It has a bustling town centre a very short walk away, where you can pick up some one-off treats, a bustling harbour area and plenty of parking. Walking along the beach into Whitstable from neighbouring Tankerton is also a worthwhile wander.
Kent's Blue Flag beaches:
Botany Bay, Broadstairs
Margate Main Sands
Minster Leas, Sheppey
Minnis Bay, Birchington
West Bay, Westgate-on-Sea
St Mildreds, Westgate-on-Sea
Stone Bay, Broadstairs
Westbrook Bay, Margate
The county also has 11 beaches that have been given the Seaside Award which recognises the quality of beaches meaning visitors are assured of clean and safe water and bathing standards. They are:
Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs
Joss Bay, Broadstairs
Leysdown Beach, Sheppey
Louisa Bay, Broadstairs
Ramsgate Main Sands
Ramsgate Western Undercliff
Walpole Bay, Margate
Viking Bay, Broadstairs