The unique architecture of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate

A true mix of structural styles. Classic seaside architecture, charming squares and crescents, Georgian delights, and one-off curios in between, (we even have listed menagerie cages and a grotto lined with over 4.6 million shells!) the Isle of Thanet is loaded with marvellous architecture. There are approximately 2,500 listed buildings in Thanet; and 27 conservation areas.

Before the bathing machines lined our golden sands, Thanet was rich in agricultural land and the remains of this ancient past can still be seen today. What’s left of this period notably are two Monastic Granges- Minster Abbey (near Ramsgate) and Salmestone Grange. The former was founded in 670 and after a Viking attack, was later rebuilt as a Monastic Grange in 1027.

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Minster Abbey

The picturesque Tudor House (built around 1525) is arguably Margate’s oldest building after Salmestone Grange and is characterised by its beautiful contrasting black and white beams.

Tudor House - 2006 (14)
Tudor House, Margate

Sea bathing bought about a plethora of temporary structures- the modest bathing machines are long gone; yet after this boom we saw hotels, theatres, tea rooms and general places to hang your (sun) hat! Arguably one of the best surviving examples of this tourism boom is the Grade II* listed Theatre Royal, Margate. Though Georgian on account of the time of its inception, the major work in 1874 marked the transition into a Victorian theatre. The ornate ceiling and decor are stunning and just sitting in the theatre before a show starts is a true delight!

Theatre Royal, Margate

Ramsgate too had its fair share of Victorian influence. It was here that internationally renowned  architect AWN Pugin decided to construct ‘The Grange,’ a house he called ‘My own Child,’ which reflects his belief in gothic style as being the only true form of Christian Architecture. He was best known for his interiors of the Houses of Parliament and this vibrant, idiosyncratic style is echoed throughout The Grange, thanks current owners The Landmark Trust who have most sympathetically designed its interiors.  The ‘En Avant’ (onward/forward) wallpaper is the perfect motto to spur you on along a bracing clifftop walk alongside The Grange. Nestled alongside this remarkable house is the new ‘Pugin and St Augustine Visitor Centre and Shrine,‘ (open from 3rd June) which celebrates the connection between Pugin himself, and St Augustine who landed in Thanet. The Church is built of knapped flint with Whitby stone dressings and fish slated tiled roofs. Pugin’s architectural legacy can be seen throughout Ramsgate.

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The Grange

Broadstairs also became popular during the late Georgian and Victorian period and its charming, wide promenade encapsulates this relaxed bygone era, encompassing leisurely coastal walks and chocolate-box views. Stunning grand listed structures such as ‘The Yarrow Building’ and Charles Dickens’ holiday home ‘Bleak House’ overlooking the traditional wooden pier, are mixed with classical cottages made of beach-scavenged chalk and flint, beach huts and smuggling tunnels. Speaking of tunnels, our fair isle is built on top of a myriad of smuggling and war-time tunnels. The latter you can visit in Ramsgate, on a tunnels explorer tour.

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Broadstairs Harbour and Bleak House

Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour is the only in the country to be given this regal stature and its sparkling waters are adorned with yachts of all shapes and sizes. You’ll also find the Maritime Museum here and numerous fine examples of nautical buildings and red brick archways home to restaurants, bars and galleries. Just a short walk from the Harbour you’ll find the ethereal, domed Grade II* listed Italianate Glasshouse, covered with ornate fish scale glass, which is just one of a handful of ‘Montefiore’ heritage structures (Sir Moses Montefiore was a prominent philanthropist, financier and Jewish figure)

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The Italianate Greenhouse, George V Park.

At Dreamland, the aforementioned Grade II menagerie cages (recently restored) and Grade II* listed Scenic Railway are key architectural gems in this reopened amusement park. The scenic railway is the oldest surviving roller coaster in Britain, second oldest in the whole of Europe and is amongst the five oldest in the entire world and you can even still ride it! Recent works to the grade II* listed cinema building have included the restoration of panoramic first floor cast iron windows, (what a view!) which gave it it’s former name ‘The sunshine Cafe,’ and the complete recreation of the original external lighting, including the iconic neon lit ‘DREAMLAND’ sign.

Scenic Railway 

We hope you can sample from this some inspiration to get out and explore these and our many other remarkable architectural treasures- this is just the beginning! Enjoy.

Beach Award Success for Thanet

Great news! Thanet has once again been named as having some of the best beaches in Britain as results from Keep Britain Tidy’s annual Blue Flag and Seaside Awards are announced. The following beaches in Thanet with awards for 2017 include:

Blue Flag:

  • Minnis Bay
  • West Bay
  • St Mildreds
  • Botany Bay
  • Joss Bay
  • Stone Bay

Thanet's Blue Flag Beaches


Seaside Award:

  • Westbrook Bay
  • Margate Main Sands
  • Ramsgate Main Sands
  • Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Westbrook Bay

These awards are the quality marks for Thanet’s beaches and mean that those visiting can be sure that they are clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as the tough international bathing water quality standards.

We can now proudly say we have a Blue Flag beach every 3 miles along our fantastic coastline and more blue flags that any other District Council!

What are you waiting for?! Click here to see our full list of beaches and bays!

20 photos that’ll make you want to visit Margate, Broadstairs & Ramsgate this Summer

Summer is for getting out and enjoying the seaside! Here’s a selection of images to tempt you to our coast. See for more inpiration! Enjoy…

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Botany Bay, Broadstairs
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Pierremont Park, Broadstairs
The Hugin Viking Ship on Hugin Green, Cliffsend.
Viking Ship ‘Hugin’ Cliffsend, Ramsgate
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Viking Bay, Broadstairs
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Royal Harbour, Ramsgate
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Margate Seafront
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Dickens Festival, Broadstairs
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Ellington Park, Ramsgate
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Ramsgate Main Sands
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Folk Week, Broadstairs
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Minnis Bay, Birchington
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Viking Coastal Trail, Broadstairs
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Dumpton Gap, Broadstairs
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Italianate Glasshouse, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate
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Margate Main Sands
Big Wheel at Dreamland, Margate
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St Mildred’s Bay, Westgate-On-Sea
Westbrook Bay with People
Westbrook Bay, Margate
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Margate Seafront

7 Magnificent May Events in Thanet

Two Bank Holidays by the seaside is most definitely a winning combination for beach walks, ice cream and good times all round in general…..but you won’t want to miss these special events this month either…

1.Open days at Pugin’s Grange and St Augustines Shrine, Ramsgate, 12-15th May- An absolute gem! Explore Houses of Parliament designer, AWN Pugin’s beloved Ramsgate home and his ‘ideal’ church. The house is rarely open to the public so don’t miss this opportunity to see inside an a true architectural masterpiece.

2. Establishment - The Grange

2. Opening Weekend at Dreamland, Margate, 26th May onwards- The park re-opens for the season with lots of new additions and a fresh new look. Check out our blog here to find out what we can expect and make sure you sign-up to Dreamland’s newsletter here to be the first to know what’s going on. Opening times/ticketing info announced soon.

3. Everyday is a New Day, Turner Contemporary, Margate, 27th May onwards- A celebration of the capacity of arts to pioneer change, challenge perceptions and embolden society. Including work by Phyllida Barlow, Michael Armitage and JMW Turner shown alongside teachers and pupils from Kent, Medway and Kenya.

4. Margate Meltdown, 29th May- The 10th Annual motorcycle ride out from Ace Cafe London. Thousands of bikes, cruisers and scooters line the streets of Margate, plus stalls and entertainment.

0325. Spring Spectacular, Ramsgate, 29th May- A whole day of family entertainment! Aerobatic displays, Trials bike displays from Danny MacAskill and his team of the world’s best street trials riders and more!

6. Bandstand Concerts, Broadstairs, Various dates- What’s better than enjoying a traditional concert beside the sea with an ice cream in hand? Nothing!

7. St Peter’s Village Tours, Broadstairs, 18th & 25th May- Costumed tours of a charming village stacked full of history. You won’t believe some of the stories you’ll hear on this fantastically funny and professional tour.


For the full events listings and further inspiration check out 

Guest blog: Exciting Developments at Dreamland!

Hi everyone, Nina here. I’m the Guest Services Team Leader at Dreamland.

We’re really excited about reopening and can’t wait to show you what we have in store. There will be lots of new additions and we’re re-landscaping the park. There will be new rides, contemporary dining, art installations and even more live music to bring you the best ever day out at the seaside!


Our lovingly restored vintage rides will whizz you back in time. Go for a spin on the 1940s Waltzer, enjoy views of Margate from the dizzy heights of our Big Wheel and take a ride on the grade II* listed jewel of Dreamland and the UK’s oldest rollercoaster, the Scenic Railway. Little visitors to Dreamland will have a space just for them, with our brand new area, Teddy and Betty Land. Park mascots, Teddy and Betty, will welcome the little ones with daily stage shows and rides like Betty’s Beehive Coaster.

Teddy & Betty

 Mmm…tacos. We’re bringing Mexico to Margate! If you fancy a slice of the street food action, there’s going to be a great range of cuisines on offer. Whether you’re in the mood for wood-fired pizza, chicken, Asian or good old-fashioned fish and chips, take my advice and prepare for a feast. Don’t forget to save room for candy floss and ice cream too – it is tradition after all! On the seafront we’ll be opening up the revived Cinque Ports 1930s gastro pub and restaurant, but keep the heart-eyes emoji for your visit to our new rooftop bar; cocktails and those sunsets…need we say more?

The music lineup this year is the biggest yet. We’re putting on a whole range of festivals so whether you like punk, ska, indie or dance, you’ll find it at Dreamland! One of the great things about the park is that we’re able to have a bit of everything. The Twilight sessions are back, so Saturdays in the summer are sorted, and with bands like Gorillaz, The Kills and Slaves, our musical offerings are more than enough to save a London trip for concerts every time. And anyway – what could be cooler than a gig with the backdrop of an amusement park?

By The Sea Festival

Something really exciting is the introduction of our art installations. Margate has an amazing creative community and it’s important to us to be part of that. Our brilliant neighbour, Turner Contemporary, has inspired us to bring art to both ends of the beach, so there’ll be artworks throughout the site and some will be interactive!

Walking around the park is going to look and feel quite different, with more trees, grassy areas and spaces to relax. The new garden boardwalk will provide views of Dreamland as you’ve never seen it before and will guide you to the menagerie cages – an amazing piece of the park’s unique history, dating back to the 1870s.

There will be pop up street entertainers, sideshows, tea dances, circus acts, vintage markets and more! As Dreamland continues to develop, we’re focused on making it an entertainment park for all. 2017 is going to be a brilliant year; it’s a very exciting time and we’re all looking forward to welcoming you to the park!

Don’t forget to check our events page to see what’s coming up at Dreamland.

Be the first to hear Dreamland’s news! Sign up to the newsletter by clicking here 


Valentines Inspiration in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate: Sunsets & Sunrises

What’s more romantic than a beautiful sky rising or setting over the lapping waves? Nothing! Whether you’re alone or loved-up this V day, we can all appreciate a stunning sunset or sunrise now can’t we?

From the sun rise over Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour to the sunset over towards Minnis Bay in Birchington you can see both in one day in Thanet! It’s no secret that we’re known for our skies; JMW Turner remarked “The skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe” and whilst on holiday in Italy, Charles Dickens pined for Broadstairs saying the town had “never so fine a sunset.” Clearly rave reviews, but is this true? YES! We’ve picked 14 of our favourite stunning sky photos and we hope you’ll agree they’re amazing, but definitely better in person!

Check out our website here to plan your visit!

Stone Bay, Broadstairs
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The Shell Lady, Margate Harbour Arm
Ramsgate Harbour
Viking Bay, Broadstairs
Viking Bay, Broadstairs
Margate Main Sands
Margate Main Sands
Margate Harbour Arm
Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs
West Bay
Botany Bay, Broadstairs
Minnis Bay, Birchington
St Lawrence, Ramsgate
Ramsgate Harbour

Things to do: Get Active in Ramsgate


Happy New Year!  2017 is already 2 weeks old and many of us have already let our resolutions fall by the wayside.  Or is that just me?  The good news is that January 1st isn’t the only date to make positive changes to our lives and in Ramsgate there is ample opportunity to get fit without even realising it!

Ramsgate really is an all-year-round destination where everything stays open to cater for the ‘off season’ visitor and January is a great month to visit.  At this time of year, we are lucky to have spectacular sunrises over the sea and in the afternoon, the sun goes down over our beautiful Royal Harbour, offering an ethereal light with great photo opportunities.  The climate remains relatively kind so walking and exploring is such an effortless delight, you won’t even notice you are burning calories and you’ll feel much better about that sumptuous meal at one of our many restaurants!

We are lucky to be surrounded by beautiful architecture, world renowned bays, award winning sandy beaches and stunning chalk cliffs so it’s almost impossible to not get out and enjoy what’s on offer!  We have dozens of trails- from The Contra Trail, that takes you from the hub of activity at the UK’s only Royal Harbour to the nature reserve out at Pegwell Bay, to The Beach Roamer Trail for those that like more of a hike and fancy the challenge of conquering a corner of England in one trek.  It’s a 7-8 mile walk along our stunning coastline from here at Ramsgate along to Margate, taking in all the unique, award winning sandy bays as you stride.  Get the tides right (3 hours after high tide should do it) and you can do the whole walk on the beach, arguably the only place in England where that’s possible.  There are plenty of pit stops en route in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate, all offering a welcome to walkers and a variety of refreshments to keep you on track.

Ramsgate knows what it has in abundance and that’s great trails full of delights to distract you from that lactic burn; so much so, we are the first town to receive the ‘We ❤ Walkers and Cyclists’ accolade from Explore Kent.  Look out for the logo at cafes, bars and eateries as they have all agreed to look after you!  They’ll let you recharge your devices, provide maps and trails and fill up your water bottles before you set off.

If you fancy a bit of water exploration, we also have canoe/kayak trails which you can do on your own or with a guide.  The guided, wildlife ‘canoe safari’ passes through Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve where you can see wetland birds and seals as nature intended. Bring your binoculars!

For a memorable, enjoyable and effortless way to discover that getting active needn’t be a chore, check out our Active Ramsgate page to find out what else we have to offer in this glorious corner of England.

Words by Rebekah Smith, Ramsgate Town Promoter and proprietor of The Glendevon B&B in Ramsgate. 

20 photos that’ll make you want to visit Margate, Broadstairs & Ramsgate in 2017

Cycling the Viking Coastal Trail between Ramsgate and Broadstairs
Dog walking on Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs
Minnis Bay, Birchington
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Minster Abbey
Margate Harbour Arm
Cycling the Viking Coastal Trail at Minnis Bay
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Panoramic image of Botany Bay chalk stacks, Broadstairs
Sunset at Minnis Bay, Birchington
Westbrook Bay, Margate
Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour at twilight
Sunset over Margate Harbour Arm
Broadstairs Jetty
Sunrise over Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour
Farmland near North Foreland Lighthouse, Broadstairs
Aerial view of Ramsgate Harbour and beach
Dog walking in Broadstairs
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The Italianate Glasshouse, King George VI Park, Ramsgate
Fish & Chips on sea defence steps, Margate
Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate
Dramatic waves in Broadstairs

Christmas Events in Thanet (part 2!)

img_1488Another day, another blog post about the fantastic events we’re lucky enough to have here in Thanet this festive season…..

We’ve just come back from a very exciting trip to Quex Park for ‘The Spirit of Christmas.’ This family-friendly event includes a real ice skating rink, (the only one in Thanet!) a small selection of stalls and refreshments and a fantastic ‘Elf Express’ ride that takes you to the magical Elf Tower to meet Father Christmas himself!

Here is what we thought…..

First up, we took a ride of the Elf Express and was greeted by a really fun elf named Spruce who likes syrup on his spaghetti. (Ew!) On the way to the tower he told us all about the three Elf rules and we even sung a Christmas song which the kids loved! Here were the rules we learnt:

  1. Treat everyday like Christmas
  2. A tidy elf is a good Elf
  3. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all the hear 


After taking a trip through the beautiful leafy grounds of Quex Park, we arrived at the tower and were greeted by two more fantastic elves- Snaps and Stax who guided us through the elf rules to make sure we were good enough to pass our elf exams! We climbed all the way to the top of the tower to meet Father Christmas and every child got an ‘Elf School’ Certificate and a present to unwrap!


After hopping back on the Elf Express we had a go at ice skating which was tricky at first but once we got the hang of it, it was really great fun. The kids were able to use a little penguin to hold onto and skate around the ice. One thing that was particularly impressive was the special strap-on skates for really tiny people that allowed them to be able to shuffle along the ice without the need for balancing.


All the characters and general staff are extremely professional, especially the elves which did an amazing job of entertaining everyone, particularly the children. The decor is very festive with real trees all over the place and the tower itself looks particularly magical.


What a morning we had! There is also the opportunity for kids to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with Santa too. The Spirit of Christmas is on until 2nd January, for more information and to book click here.  Make sure you don’t miss it!

We are so lucky to have a range of festive fun at the seaside this December & beyond. Why not check out our previous blog post all about ‘The Frosted Fairground’ at Dreamland, and here you’ll find a whole list of Christmas events in Thanet, including when you can see Father Christmas in Broadstairs and how long the Ramsgate Illuminations will be on for. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #CoastalChristmas on social media if you’re out enjoying anything festive in Thanet this winter….we’d love to see your pics!