Seventeen new activities/attractions are part of a project to extend the tourism season in Thanet and increase visitor spending.
New experiences include guided Nordic Walking -an enhanced walking technique that uses poles to work your upper body as well as your legs; cookery classes and relaxation and fitness breaks. There is also an outdoor escape room-style experience and Dickensian-themed accommodation, complete with costumes and an indoor treasure trail.
The project also aims to improve the sustainability of tourism and reduce the social and environmental impacts; and to develop and implement new products and services to attract additional visitors.
Participating businesses receive one to one consultations, product testing, content development, consumer marketing, B2B distribution and new photography.
The project is Thanet District Council’s contribution to the Interreg Experience Development Programme, in partnership with Visit Kent.
Deputy council leader Cllr Reece Pugh said: “Thanet District Council is pleased to be a contributing partner in the Interreg Experience Development Programme.
“Our aim was to achieve 10 new bookable experiences as a result of this programme, which we have exceeded. I would like to thank the tourism team and their partnership work with Visit Kent for getting such benefit from the scheme for Thanet.
“We are keen that this activity helps to make tourism in Thanet more sustainable by extending the tourism season, attracting new visitors, encouraging more overnight stays and increasing visitor spend.”
Currently almost 90% of visitors coming to Thanet are day trippers and around 30% of visitors come in June, July and August.
Staying visitors spend 7 times as much as day visitors. Tourism is worth £325 million per year to the local economy and supports, directly and indirectly 8,664 jobs. This figure does not include the £41 million (pre-covid) which local language schools bring into the area. In 2019 the district welcomed a record 4.6 million visitors (Cambridge Model Economic Impact Study 2019).
Nearly one in five visitors are from London with a key market being in their 20s to early 40s.
The new experiences that are already available to book now can be found on www.visitthanet.co.uk/experiences, with the remainder in the development stage.
They include Fagin’s Den in Broadstairs which is the UK’s first Dickensian-themed holiday cottage.
Fagin’s Den is an 1860s cottage in Church Road which has been renovated, along with next door Pickwick’s Place – entered from Church Square – to create an authentic period property.
It is the first to be entirely themed on Charles Dickens’ tale Oliver Twist with Fagin treasure trails, period pictures and the man himself regaling guests with a tour and tales.
The property is part of The Fisherman’s Cottages, which also includes Barnaby’s Lodge and the Smuggler’s Cottage, all in Broadstairs.
Also featured is Margate’s quirky Crab Museum where visitors can hear the” forgotten and scandalous story of the Margate crab,” caught at Palm Bay in the 1800s.
Europe’s only museum dedicated to the Crustacean species is the venture of crab enthusiasts and brothers Ned and Bertie Suesat-Williams, from Margate, Chase Coley, from Canvey Island, and GRETL – the museums AI guide – and is based on the top floor of the Pie Factory Gallery in the Old Town. The museum reopens on February 12.
Foraging and cooking can also be booked with Dr. Forager (Hannah Scott (PhD)) who leads a 2 hour foraging walk followed by a cookery demonstration and warm lunch made from the foraged food. The aim is to bring people back to nature through foraging – learning how to forage sustainably and discover what wild coastal edibles are safe and tasty to eat.
Margate Cookery School is also offering classes including Bottega Caruso teaching all things Italian and Hantverk & Found focusing on Japanese food.
Outdoor escape room/treasure hunt type activity is on offer with Captcha Code – The Escapement in Broadstairs.
Participants play the role of undercover agents who must complete an important mission to save the world. After reporting to base for a briefing, and in order to solve the puzzles at
each location, participants will need to explore the local area, interact with local business allies and uncover the town’s vast history.
The mission lasts between two and three hours and covers just over a mile (1.7km). Price is £50 per group, maximum of 5 players in a group.
Ramsgate’s Langmead Guest House owner Denise Hill heads up the Nordic Walking offer. Taster or tailor-made Nordic Walking stays can be booked, with the opportunity for wellbeing treatments and to join other local walks, with other local providers. Adventure walks can be arranged for experienced Nordic Walkers.
Ramsgate Through the Senses is a new sister festival established to complement the Ramsgate Festival of Sound and will explore our 5 senses by showcasing Kent through its people, produce and performance. The event will run over 3 days in March and feature a variety of events, talks and workshops designed to awaken your senses, such as sea shanty writing, dining in the dark, boating for beginners and therapeutic treatments.
A training course is being planned for people who would like to find out more about creating new packages or experiences in collaboration with other businesses.
Express an interest in attending this course by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the activities on offer (some are still under development so will not be shown yet) go to https://www.visitthanet.co.uk/experiences/