It rained hard when we went to Deal – AUTUMN was hitting with full force and it was cold, wet… and should have been rather miserable. But instead, we were charmed by this higgledy-piggledy seaside town with its narrow streets, bustling high street and maze-like castle. Deal is a wonderful day out from London, no matter the weather…
A concrete masterpiece, this is like no other pier we’ve been on. Grey and hulking, it slices through the waves as if it’s a 1930s liner made of stone. This is a functional pier – serious fishermen inhabit its turret-like wind shelters – and there’s no amusements, no fortune tellers. Just you, the stone-clad pilings and the sea, beating against the structure with monotonous regularity. It's astonishing. There’s a café at the end but that was closed when we were there, which fitted the ominous mood.
Built by Henry VIII as a coastal artillery fort, Deal Castle stands on the beach on the edge of town, low-slung, menacing, ferocious. Armed with massive cannons, the castle’s defences were never tested against invading forces, but it remains a monument to a king determined to keep both hands firmly on his throne. It’s now a good way to spend a couple of hours, especially in the spooky, dark passages below the bastions.
Don’t Walk Walk Gallery
Intriguing little space packed out with wonderful art. Local artists abound, and the owner is also a talented painter as well – a wonderful place to go for a look, and come away having spent some money!
Fantastic new and used vinyl here, with lovely staff and a little café to boot. Great way to spend an hour, checking out the discs and chatting to whoever is behind the till.
Some stylish bargains to be had here, with names like Sugarhill and King Louis being stocked. Two sisters run Urban Chic and they have a great eye for quirky, good-looking pieces. Recommended.
Seafront stalwart with a big menu and a good selection of ales and ciders. Perfect for drying off in after a good soaking on a rainy beach walk.
Beautifully renovated pub with a gorgeous dining room serving up local produce in ‘interesting’ ways. The rooms look rather inviting, too.
The Black Douglas Coffee House
Quirky little breakfast and brunch spot on the seafront, with local art on the walls and an interesting programme of events.