Matthew Munson: The beauty of Thanet

It's always beach weather Photo Carole Adams

Wherever we live, we’re all going to have favourite places to visit; nooks and crannies that are our preferred haunts and part of our routine.

I’ve lived in Thanet my entire life and I’m still finding little corners and alleyways and cut-throughs that I didn’t know existed. I don’t drive, so I see everything at a slower pace than you motorists. That said, I do take my life in my hands sometimes when I try to cross roads in certain parts of the island. I’m not a good driver but some people behind the wheel terrify me; still, that’s a conversation for another day.

Ramsgate beach Photo Brian Whitehead

The other weekend, I spent a couple of very pleasant hours walking along the beach from Ramsgate harbour to Kingsgate. The tide was out, the sun was shining, and I had an interesting podcast on the go. We’ve got 15 sandy beaches in Thanet and, despite not being much of a beach goer (alright, I’m not a beach goer at all), I still adore the scenery.

The three main towns, to me, are home, each in their own way. I’ve lived in Broadstairs and St Peters for the past 13 years and in Ramsgate before then. I grew up in the pre-Westwood Cross days of high street shopping, where Margate was the place to go to locally for your shopping when the other towns didn’t have something.

Westwood Cross

Now I’m rather attached to Westwood Cross – I go to the cinema there, have the occasional flutter on the roulette table and I’ve even been known to enjoy the occasional game of bingo – but there’s still parts of Margate that I remain loyal to as well. I love a Sunday morning stroll through the Old Town, stopping off for breakfast, and then having a look in the second-hand book shops. The creative quarter is rather splendid.

I’m also a fan of the festivals and Thanet experiences; food, books, blues, folk – although the Morris dancers scare me a bit, for reasons now passing rationality – and everything else that organisers bring into the town which allows people to gather. I rather love the fireworks on Wednesday evenings (although it’s always sad when they’re cancelled), and there’s always a good New Year’s Eve display as well.

Photo Dan Thomsett

I also like winter. I should say; I love summer, but I’m not averse to winter either. There’s a certain … something that comes over the isle, a time when the tourists have pretty much gone (they’re always welcome, and the summer months are buzzing with the extra people) and the isle is sitting quietly for when things start to bud the following year.

Ramsgate Festival

I’m over-egging things slightly, perhaps; Thanet has problems, of course it does, but there’s enough talked that. I’m a very proud Thanetian and what happens in the area that brings people together; whether that’s a festival, larking in the part, or just having so many outdoor spaces for ourselves and children.

I have so many memories of Thanet – and undoubtedly a lot that I’ve forgotten as well – that it’s overwhelming. But it’s also pleasurable  and I love living here and appreciating all the beauty and activities Thanet has to offer.


  1. How true, you can best know a place by walking, whether it’s a tiny side road or a cliff top. I love exploring any British coast because there is such variety and Thanet has three totally different seaside towns.

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