The first time we tried to go to Broadstairs, it was a hot, sunny day in June and we got stuck in a traffic jam about two miles outside the town. After sitting there for 20 mins, we buggered off to Richborough Roman Fort instead as we couldn’t be arsed with how busy it was.
We tried again a year or so later, with our niece in tow, and managed to get there by about 3pm – just before everything closed. We had time for a go on the mini golf and an ice cream at Morelli’s. Yay us.
La Marée Haute by Lhasa de Sela
’Van Gogh’ ice creams
House of Martin
Wyatt & Jones
This time, we were determined to make the most of our weekend in Broadstairs. Get there early. Enjoy the pretty town. Have a good wander about on the beach. It was November. Not surprisingly, it rained (it was also my birthday, so I didn’t mind too much).
Even the damp and chill didn’t stop us from enjoying Broadstairs. Mainly because it’s so lovely to look at. The sweep of Viking Bay curves out to sea and looks as imposing as it can with its soft sand and colourful beach huts. The flint-covered cottages are solid and cosy and this translates into the pubs and restaurants, where the emphasis is on delicious fish cookery and warming puds. Even the pubs have solid walls and big fires to compensate for the cold outside.
In summer, it all changes – and becomes lighter, livelier, tables on the street, ice creams, kids running about. But in November, it’s a bit more secretive, hunkered down, looking out to sea. But Broadstairs doesn’t care about the weather – its timeless appeal means it can easily outlast us frivolous day trippers.
An ancient chapel (of course), filled to the rafters with second-hand books, with a roaring fire and an excellent selection of ciders and ales. Heaven.
The Tartar Frigate
Corking pub right down by the beach, serving up fantastic food and a good choice of wines and beers on draught. Properly cosy in winter. I bet it’s banging in summer.
Wyatt & Jones
Had lunch here and it was really, really good. Like, properly classy cooking with a fantastic atmosphere. You could tell the people working here loved what they did and it showed in the both the gorgeous grub and the wine list. Perfect seaside birthday lunch. Recommended.
Samworth & Mee
Couldn’t get in here for breakfast – it was bombed out – but that’s a good sign, surely?
The classic seaside ice-cream parlour – and it’s the best one we’ve been to, hands down. Incredible pink Formica and leatherette interior, complete with trompe-l’oeil paintings and even a mini shell fountain. I had a ‘Van Gogh’ – basically a palette of ice-cream scoops with chocolate sauce. Oh, and a mulled wine, because why not?
Had dinner here on the Saturday night, and it’s exactly the sort of restaurant you want when you’re away from home – good, solid plates of food with some delicious flavours. Plus the dining room was warm and cosy and the staff were dead friendly. Decently priced.
Sadly we didn’t get to The Yarrow, but everyone we met in Broadstairs asked us if we were heading there, because it’s so damn good. So next time – we will!
Fantastic gift shop with some incredible cards, scarves, notebooks and candles. A real treasure-trove of lovely things.
The whole high street was awash with charity shops, which is A Good Thing in my book. Lots of decent finds to be had, if you can be fussed to dig around (I could).
House of Martin
The owner was literally locking the door as we turned up so we didn’t get to go inside. It looked fun, though – vinyl, menswear and some cool vintage accessories.
What we did:
Did we mention that it rained? We headed inside for coffees at Kafeine before braving the chill and taking a wander through the pretty little streets around the town and leading down to the bay. Had a walk round the Dickens House Museum, much to B’s dismay. Stared up at Bleak House on the hill. Tried to find the 39 Steps. Scampered about on Viking Bay the next day when the sun came out.
La Maree Haute by Lhasa de Sela
I’d heard this curiously haunting French number in a film the day before and played it all the way down to Broadstairs. It’s got a melancholy sound, which seemed to fit the place very well.
What we bought:
A hologram Cliff Richard pendant from the Christmas Fayre vintage stall. A scarf from Arrowsmiths. Plenty of mulled wine as it was so cold and damp outside.
Where we stayed:
House Of The Dead / Crazy golf?:
Yay! Mini golf! To be honest, it was so miserable weather-wise, we didn’t play this time. But when we made it there a couple of summers back, we did, and Lillyputt is the best sort of mini golf course – old fashioned and fun. Plus, it has a little tea room serving up hot drinks and snacks.