9 Thanet spots to enjoy the sun away from the crowds

The Viking Ship at Cliffsend Photo Brian Whitehead

It’s been a glorious weekend and there is still one more lovely day of freedom with Bank Holiday Monday. If you want to enjoy the sunshine but want to stay away from the usual hustle bustle hotspots, here are a few ideas:

Westcliff rose gardens

Photo Brian Whitehead

Royal Esplanade, Ramsgate

The rose garden was  restored more than a decade ago by the Westcliff Conservation and Community Trust, which organised the replanting of the site.

It had been created in 1926 when the Westcliff was developed as a recreation area.

The site is looked after by volunteers from The Westcliff Rose Garden group. They meet on a Monday afternoon 1:30pm, all tools provided, new volunteers welcome.

Pegwell Bay

Photo Brian Whitehead

Pegwell Bay is an ideal bay for exploring, as it is home to a large stretch of sea cliffs and is an area of great geological interest. The bay itself is considered a nature reserve of international importance as it is home to a range of seashore birds and wildlife found nowhere else in East Kent. Birdwatchers may even get a chance to spot wading birds and birds of prey and are permitted to use the bird hide, which is accessible for disabled visitors.

Pop along to the Viking Ship if you are looking for a grassy space and a cafe.

Sunken gardens Westbrook

Photo Sunken Garden Revival

Royal Esplanade, Westbrook

The Sunken Gardens in Westbrook, were designed and laid out during the 1930s. The garden is linked to the Royal Esplanade by a double staircase and has been altered and redesigned since it was originally laid out.

Access from the Royal Esplanade is down a double stairway to the upper terrace and then by wide steps to the lower lawns and the formal sunken grass ‘pools’.

Italianate Greenhouse

A second agave growing through the Italianate Glasshouse roof

The Italianate Glasshouse, a Grade II* listed historic monument, was erected in the grounds of East Cliff Lodge, Sir Moses Montefiore’s 22 acre estate in 1832. Sir Moses, a British financier and former Sheriff of London bought the magnificent structure from another impressive house, Bretton Hall in Yorkshire after seeing it in an auction catalogue.

The grounds of the house, now known as King George VI Memorial Park, were eventually taken over by Ramsgate Borough Council and the house was demolished in 1953.

The Glasshouse was restored in 2005.

A recent addition has been the Tea Garden. Open on fine days during the summer months, visitors are able to relax and sample a cream tea whilst enjoying the tranquil and peaceful surroundings.

Glasshouse custodians Phil and Janice Dadds were delighted in 2015 when one of their agaves grew so tall panels had to be removed from the glasshouse so it could reach skywards for its spectacular flowering. Then they had a second flowering plant last year!

Westcliff (the artificial beach)

Photo Brian Whitehead

The area is popular with families because of the small bays enabling parents to keep an eye on their little ones.

The area is base for community groups including the Western Undercliff Regeneration Group and members of the Addington Street Community. It was also used in 2015 for the revived Ramsgate Sprint motorcycle event which attracted thousands of visitors.

Unfortunately it currently lacks facilities so families will need to climb the steps to Government Acre for the loos and a café.

Minnis Bay

Minnis Bay Photo Dean Spinks

A long stretch of sand  with children’s outdoor play area. For the adventurous there is plenty of space for water sports, such as windsurfing or kite boarding and there is a sailing club close by. The paddling pool is the perfect location to hunt for crustaceans and there is also an excellent restaurant with a bar, and a kiosk on the prom.

At high tide, usually a small amount of beach remains, except at spring time when the beach can disappear until the tide moves out again.

Best nip down quick before the free parking spaces are turned to pay and display next month!

Walpole Bay

Walpole Bay pool

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is four acres in size and contains seven million gallons of seawater. It is bigger than the two largest listed seawater lidos, Penzance and Lymington. It is 137m long and 2.13m deep at the seaward end.

There are regular swims with the Walpole Bay Swimmers group and every six months, during draining maintenance there is a chance to see the draining a bounty of creatures.

Marine life included a lobster in berry (eggs), britlestars, shannys, sea urchins, shore crabs, spider crabs, gobies, peacock worms, sponges of all sorts of colours, white looking long-clawed porcelain crabs, spider crabs, eels. bootlace worm….and many more!

The Sun Deck, Margate

The Sun Deck

A street food ‘hub’ with a double-decker bus as the anchor can be found on the promenade in Margate.

Vegan, curry, fish, juices and gluten and dairy free ingredients are all on offer at The Sun Deck on Royal Crescent Promenade.

The Bus Café, Po’Boy Creole fish hut, the Curry Shack, Juice Project, Marmar Beach Bar and the Mala Kaffe/Cooper and Wolf’s coffee cart make up the eclectic, independent businesses offering locally and ethically sourced food with big flavours.

Monkton Nature Reserve

Photo Brian Whitehead
The reserve features many naturally important habitats, fascinating geology and an unusual quantity of rare orchids. There are 2 trails for families to explore, one within the chalk quarry and another along the top of the cliffs into the mature woodland. There is also a picnic area and the youngsters can follow the fairy or the dinosaur trail.

The Field Study Centre, Monkton, Ramsgate

Open 10am to 3pm

Admission Adults: £4.00, Children: £2.00, Family: £8.00

Call 01843 822666

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