Janice, the lovely lady at Kent Tourism has been trying to get me out of London for years to check out what Kent’s hidden gems. As I don’t drive (and neither does my boyfriend Sharps) we thought it might be a bit tricky (and a bit of a pain) for us to be able to hit the coastal trail. But when I saw the images from one of Visit Kent’s ad campaigns, and mistakenly thought they were of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, we decided Kent’s hidden gems were worth it. Janice suggested we visit the quaint seaside town of Broadstairs.
Having heard rave reviews about Whitstable we stopped off on route to see what all the fuss was about. If you’re a fan of seafood you’ll love it here – head to Whitstable harbour, one of Kent’s hidden gems, where you’ll find stalls selling oysters, cockles and whelks for a pound – total bargain.
You can wander along the beach and see the multi-coloured beach huts. Not wanting to sound too much like my mum, but make sure you take a jacket in case as it gets quite windy by the seafront.
Arriving at Broadstairs we were met by a Kent Greeter. Run by enthusiastic volunteers, this is a brilliant free service is anither of Kent’s hidden gems, enabling visitors to find out more about what’s on offer in the area, including the best places for families to visit and how to get around. See mykent.co.uk for more recommendations from locals.
It’s easy to see why Broadstairs and its sandy bays were Charles Dicken’s favourite holiday spot. Botany Bay is breathtaking (this is where the picture below is actually of as opposed to Australia) and just a short drive from Broadstairs.
We also stopped off at another of Kent’s hidden gems and a mecca for surfers, Joss Bay. We contemplated giving it a try with a lesson at the Joss Bay Surf School (Joss Bay, Elmwood Avenue, 07812 991 195) but we wimped out (in our defence it was freezing, wetsuit or not). Lilliput Minigolf, located on Victoria Parade on the promenade in Broadstairs was much more our style. As well as crazy golf it also serves up great toasted teacakes.
Talking of food, the culinary highlight of the trip for me was my inadvertent discovery of my final of Kent’s hidden gems on this trip, and quite possibly the best croissants in the world. We were staying at The Royal Albion hotel, located right in the heart of Broadstairs and by the seafront. When we went down for breakfast in the morning nothing seemed out of the ordinary at the buffet – the usual array of breakfast foods were on offer. For some reason I felt like having a croissant, it was almost an afterthought as I’m not usually a huge fan of pastries. If I said it was amazing, quite frankly it would be an understatement, as when I bit into the croissant I discovered it was filled with warm jam. Who would have thought, such a simple thing and yet so divine. My quest since then has been to find somewhere in London that sells jam-filled croissants (I’ve been dreaming about them) so if anyone can help please let me know!