January is finally over, (the month felt like a whole year to us!) celebrate by getting out and exploring this Half Term… Here’s a few of our suggestions:
- Get your game on…. at GEEK, Dreamland’s huge festival of play and gaming, back this half term. There will be hundreds of games, from old favourites spanning the generations to virtual reality experiences, there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy and get involved in. This year’s theme is space and the team will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arcade classic, Space Invaders! Various prices, 16th-18th Feb. If you’re into gaming you also might like to try one of our 3 Escape Games attractions too! Click here
- Skate & Scoot….The award-winning team at Revolution Skatepark are here to teach your little ones how to get confidence on two wheels. Learn the basics with skilled instructors and brush up on your extreme sports skills! Must be booked in advance. £10 plus equipment hire. 11th, 12th,14th,16th,18th Feb.
- Go underground….At Ramsgate Tunnels. The Tunnels are a true TripAdvisor favourite, consistently scoring excellent reviews and are suitable for all the family. Just pre-warn the kids it can get quite dark! Grab your hard hat and torch and enjoy a guided walk of the UK’s largest network of civilian wartime tunnels. Booking advised. Closed Mon & Tue.
- Dragon hunting….Join Half-Term favourite Simple Simon on this panto-style adventure story with songs, comedy, joining in and small prizes at Margate Winter Gardens. 13th Feb. £7.50 per person. There’s also Children’s Showtime on 15th-17th Feb & popular Police Panto Cinder-Ella at Theatre Royal too (also 15th-17th Feb)
- Pancake flipping….There’s a traditional pancake race in Station Road, Wesgate-On-Sea and this has been held annually off and on for years! Check out this photo we think is from around the late 1950’s! Get involved or get down there just to spectate or run alongside the participants. 13th Feb. 10am.
- Get creative….at Pick ‘n’ Paint a Pot, Cliftonville. Their half-term workshops are themed and allow children to get stuck into something creative. 14-16th Feb. Booking advised.
- Time for a walk….Should the weather be kind to us, enjoy an Active Ramsgate walk, cycle trail or even a bit of geocaching. Ramsgate is a friendly Harbour town with stunning coastal scenery- perfect for some fresh air.
- Dare we suggest beaches?….Broadstairs has 7 of them! While we’re being hopeful about the weather, why not wrap up warm, grab some fish & chips and play on the sand. You’ll be surprised how many other families brave it this time of year!
- Family Magic….Houdini’s Magic Bar in Broadstairs present their fantastic children’s magic shows with Magician Lucky Lee in their Magic Lounge!
Family cocktail/mocktail menus plus board and Card Games available to play. No booking necessary. Advise early arrival to avoid disappointment. One child free entry into the magic shows for every adult drink purchased. 11th Feb 1pm-4pm.
- Easy Holidays/Easy Sundays….Get creative at Turner Contemporary with one of their popular family workshops on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the holidays. Various prices.
Inspired by Craft and Travel’s blog on daytripping to Dreamland in Winter we thought we’d share some of our favourite pics and must-do’s for the chilly season! Make sure you check out her blog all about visiting the park in the winter here….Okay, onto some other suggestions….
Walking We love to see our beaches busy in the height of summer but who can say no to a whole beach to yourself in the winter? Wrap up warm and enjoy some invigorating sea air! We have 15 beaches & bays to choose from, each with its own distinct coastal features and charm but for the largest variety, head to Broadstairs where you’ll have 7 to choose from. You could also try any of the ActiveRamsgate series of walks trails or energetic coastal activities or if you’re feeling adventurous opt for cycling or walking the circular 32 mile Viking Coastal Trail, (or break it up into smaller parts!) it has some of the best coastal views around.
Food We’re just going to be honest here and say eating is our number 1 thing to do! We’ve got stacks of award-winning restaurants, cafes, micropubs dotted around our towns and villages. Some say we have the highest concentration of micropubs in the country and these cosy little places are perfect for winter! If you’re visiting Margate this winter, check out megofmargate’s winter foodie suggestions here. Also read Betty Magazine’s blog here for more food, indie shopping and things to do in winter.
Sunsets For some reason, we’re certain these are at their best during winter! We have no scientific explanation for these, but there probably is one (?!) If you can’t get enough of ’em view our dedicated sunset blog post here. For viewing tips, try anywhere towards Margate or Birchington and remember that a cloudy day does not always mean a lack of a beautiful sunset.
Indoor Attractions If you’re feeling less than brave about the seaside this time of year, head to one of our covered attractions. Explore the UK’s largest network of civilian wartime tunnels, try to uncover the mystery of the cavernous Shell Grotto or try one of three Escape Rooms! All this and more waiting to shield your from whatever the weather may be! See all of our attractions here.
Outdoor Adventures If you’re okay whatever the weather, our Coastal Explorers bags are perfect! These expedition-style bags are crammed full of equipment and activities to use to really explore our beaches. Fishing nets, marine identification charts, collecting pots and 12 activities will keep you busy….just wrap up warm! for more info on these exciting bags, click here.
JMW Turner once remarked that ‘the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe.’ Charles Dickens loved Broadstairs and said it had ‘never so fine a sunset’ and was ‘the freshest, freest place.’ Visitors are often outside our Information Centre in Margate eagerly snapping away at golden sunsets that fill the sky; ‘these are some of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen!’
Of course, we think we have some of the best sunrises and sunsets in the world and we’ve chosen our favourite photos to prove it. Once more, the skies are bigger and even more beautiful in Autumn and Winter and you’re more likely to have vast stretches of sand all to yourself.
Think the coast is just for summer? Definitely not! Crisp mornings, quieter beaches and an excuse to wile away the time in a seafront pub or eaterie- what more could you want?! It’s also a fantastic time to enjoy our parks and open spaces, some of which are just a short walk from the coast itself- the best of both worlds. We’ve picked some of our favourite autumn images to tempt you to the Isle of Thanet this season….
We hope you agree we’ve got a range of autumnal views to enjoy and many a great photo opportunity this time of year! We’d love to see your pics! Share them with us using #visitthanet.
For more inspiration, visit www.visitthanet.co.uk
6 weeks of excitement, or 6 weeks of wondering what to do with the kids?! Whatever your take on the Summer Holidays, we’re here for you. Plus, read on to see how you could win the ultimate Dreamland Day out! We can’t list everything here, but you’ll find all events on our website...Here’s a few to get you planning:
1. Coastal Explorers
What is it? 12 activities crammed into an expedition-style backpack with all the equipment you need to explore the beach! Perfect for families and exclusive to Thanet; kids (and big kids) can take part in seaside storytelling, beach art, rocky shore researching and loads more! They’re great fun! (trust us, we’ve tried them!)
Where is it? Hire from venues in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate.
When is it? All Summer long…
2. Ramsgate Festival
What is it? A town-wide arts festival with an ultra coastal theme ‘Dream Marine.’ Scores of events run alongside our Harbour Town’s annual Regatta ‘Ramsgate Week.’ Workshops, processions, exhibitions, opera on the beach & loads more!
Where is it? All over the town.
When is it? 22-30th July.
3. Seashore Safaris
What is it? Extremely popular annual events run by The Thanet Coast Project. Seashore Safaris will excite and enthrall children as they explore rock pools and discover crabs, fish, shrimps, seaweed and all manner of marine surprises that lurk beneath the high tide.
Where is it? Various beaches.
When is it? Various dates.
4. Quex Maize Maze and Field of Fun
What is it? Two huge interactive mazes made of maize (tricky combination of words!) plus barnyard games, a woodland adventure trail, coin operated mini tractors with dedicated track, tractor rides and the only Jumping Pillow in Thanet. All this in addition to the other family-friendly activities offered on-site at Quex Park.
Where is it? Quex Park, Birchington-On-Sea. (Just past Margate)
When is it? 7 days a week 10am-5pm from 22nd July until mid September.
5. Broadstairs Fireworks
What is it? Mesmerizing display over the sea.
Where is it? Viking Bay.
When is it? Wednesdays 19th-23rd August.
6. Dreamland, Margate.
What is it? Amusement park and entertainment hub right on the seafront. Massive programme of FREE and paid for events- Wall of Death displays, The World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle, music, circus events plus character appearances from Peppa Pig, The Octonauts and many more! All this plus rides, Roller Disco and an indoor play area like no other!
Where is it? Right opposite Margate’s glorious sandy beach.
When is it? Park open Daily from 21st July.
7. Open Top Bus
What is it? Enjoy a kaleidoscope of coastal scenes with a breath of fresh sea air.
Where is it? Two coastal routes to choose from, covering all three of our main towns.
When is it? 22nd July-3rd September.
8. Folk Week
What is it? Legendary annual Folk Festival by the sea comprising over 500 events in one week. Kids clubs, music, ceilidhs, craft fair& loads more.
Where is it? Broadstairs- venues all over town.
When is it? 11th-18th August.
9. Easy Sundays
What is it? Family art and craft workshops.
Where is it? Turner contemporary, Margate.
When is it? Sundays throughout the holidays.
10. Lark in The Park
What is it? A free community event with something for everyone. Movie night, games, tea room, art, music and so much more.
Where is it? Government Acre Green, Ramsgate
When is it? 10th-20th August.
Well life has been busy in ‘Our English Watering Place’ (Broadstairs) and there’s a few things about the Broadstairs Dickens Festival (17-23 June) which you must know! This festival celebrates our most famous Holiday maker Charles Dickens and there is lots to see & do this year….
A real spectacle is planned with 200 participants in the Grande Parade from Pierremont Hall down the High Street @1pm Sat 17 June. Queen Vic in horse drawn carriage, marching soldiers, Mildred the Giant Nun, the cast of Oliver, Costumed Dickens characters, Living History performers and a modern twist with Great Kentspectations steampunk group!
They will all be welcomed on Victoria Gardens by special guest Vicki Michelle MBE (from ‘Allo ‘Allo)
What would Dickens make of all these goings on, we think he would approve – especially as this year we have added new events, performances and a celebration of local food and drink, all things he enjoyed to the max and indeed mentioned in his books.
Dickens was a food lover and our Country Fayre will offer scrumptious food and drink -Gourmet sandwiches, crepes, cakes, scones, victorian lemonade, luxury hot chocs, the Dickens bar. Wonderful kent produce from cheeses to jams, chutneys, local ales, cider, artisan breads, fudges, chocolate, olives, oils and the list goes on. Then there’s all the gifts, vintage wares and collectables – 40 stalls with something for everyone.
We truly are a mix of treats, tipples and tradition this year…
You may have to fight off Mrs Gamp (Dickens most famous Gin lover) for a space at the Mother’s Ruin- Gin Tasting Sat 17 June 2.30pm. Or how about The Mead Cheese Pickle Taster Sun 18 June @ 2.30pm (or Kent Cider if you prefer!) that’s on Fathers Day – hmmm an interesting gift perhaps? Stay afterwards for the Victorian Magic show – great for all ages!
In his book Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens explored the new drinks known as Cock Tails that he encountered in America. One such was the Sherry Cobbler which made a new fangled item ‘the straw’ common place for iced drinks …Curious Cocktails will be available. Enjoy your tipple of choice while watching the Cricket Match – with Incidents on Sat 17 June 3pm or The Dickens Dog Show Sun 18 June 12.30pm.
Performances known as ‘The Readings’ also made Dickens famous, described as ‘a whole theatre under one hat’ – come and see The Dickens Declaimers offer the same in the Event Tent @ Victoria Gardens 10.30am, 4.30pm Sat 17 June and 10.30am Sun 18 June. Though we don’t think they will start the day with rum and milk as he did …followed by half a pint of champagne in the interval– or will they? could be an interesting performance?!
Watch out for The Lamplighter on the prom over the weekend with his crazy stories and victorian ditties. And if you find yourself itching – have you stepped too close to our authentic Voices from Victorian London living history performers, though they assure us their fleas aren’t real!
And this is not just a weekend festival…oh no we really are partying all week and there are performances and events everyday including Beach Parties (vintage striped cosies available!) Croquet, Victorian Children’s Games, Dickens Antiques Roadshow, Vintage photos, memorabilia and a special film of Broadstairs of Yesteryear. We even have Kirsty Miller and Eddie Grundy from The Archers radio soap coming to chat to us over a cup of tea. Perhaps we can persuade them to have a photo taken using our life size Vintage Bather cut outs!
Did we mention The Big Sing Choir Concert, The Vintage Music Hall, The Festival Play – Pickwick and The Elegant Afternoon Tea? ….quick book the week off now and join the celebrations!
See the website for more details broadstairsdickensfestival.co.uk or pick up a free programme from Info Kiosk Broadstairs, Droit House Margate, Custom House Ramsgate.
Words by Denise Martin-Harker from Broadstairs Dickens Festival.