Coastal Adventures: Herne Bay

A few weeks ago we went to Herne Bay and the weather was just delightful. During the week that we got some of the hottest days of this year in February. Sam, Emily and I went up to Herne Bay for the day and it was all shades of perfect.

The weather was beautiful, there were no need for coats, or oversized jumpers, it was a day for sunglasses, light cardigans or t-shirts in our case, Fish & chips by the sea, and bucket & spades.

We don’t really visit Herne Bay. If we want the beach, Ramsgate has a picture perfect sandy beach, that’s just a 5 minutes car ride from out house. But on the odd occasion we do branch out, Herne Bay is one of the many seaside towns we’ll visit in Kent. Sam’s brother and family go to Herne Bay a lot. It’s so picturesque and has a long stretch of beach with restaurants, ice cream shops, fish & chips eateries, cafes, amusement areas and play areas alongside the popular beach.

The only downside is the pebbly beach but it didn’t matter once we got there. Emily wanted to collect pebbles, rocks and stones and it took a lot of willpower from me to stop her from jumping into the freezing cold sea!

There are plenty of things to do with all the family in Herne Bay. With plenty of on the beach and off beach activities, all the family are guaranteed to have a good day of fun. Your notice when you walk along the seaside, the amount of people who sit down on the wall or on the beach looking out afar eating big chunks of fish and chips, no matter what the weather, and youngsters tucking into delicious ice cream or bundles of candy floss.

Sandwiched between Whitstable and Margate, the popular seaside town is a favourite amongst many locals and tourists from afar. From Ramsgate it takes just 20 minutes to get to Herne Bay, or 1 hour 23 minutes from London St Pancras and an hour 35 minutes from London Victoria.

If you’re planning on a trip to Herne Bay, you must know that to get a parking space anywhere near the seaside, you need to get there early. By lunchtime the seaside town was getting packed. Queues of families and friends holding cold beers or ice creams started to line the many restaurants and cafes along the promenade. By 2pm, queues of cars struggled to find car parking spaces. It gets busy. Super busy.

Walking alongside the beach, you can’t miss the striking architecture of Herne Bay clocktower. Built in 1837, it has been refurbished in recent years and is an information centre, which includes memorabilia and information about its history set up nearby.

If clock towers aren’t your thing, and going to the beach is all about the pier, you can’t go wrong with Herne Bay’s pier. There has been a pier since 1831, and it used to be notable for its length of 3,787 feet (1,154 m) and for appearing in the opening sequence of Ken Russell‘s first feature film French Dressing. Unfortunately it was destroyed in a storm in 1978 and dismantled in 1980, leaving a stub with sports centre at the landward end, and part of the landing stage isolated at sea. Whilst the pier used to dock passenger ships and steamers, nowadays you’re more likely to find pop-up shops, independent shops, a helter skelter, fish and chips, icecream and more!

Things to know:

  • Depending on where you park (or if you’re lucky enough to get a parking space closer to the beach), car parking prices range from free to a couple of pounds an hour. Visit this website for more information.
  • There’s excellent bus service links to Herne Bay if you’re local in Canterbury, Whitstable, Dover and Margate and Westwood Shopping Centre. Have a look at Stagecoach Buses website for more information.
  • If you fancy a spot of cycling, why not enjoy some of their most popular attractions and local destinations with their dedicated cycling routes. Hire a bike with Kent Cycle Hire or Bike Tart.
  • If you’re looking for a pint and a daze out to sea, check out The Ship which is on the other side of the clock tower, serving a range of hot and cold drinks as well as delicious food (it looked amazing- we need to go back!) or visit The Divers Arms, a Shepherds Neame pub. If you don’t fancy spending an arm and a leg on pub grub, there’s also JD Wetherspoon’s The Saxon Shore, a few minutes walk from the pier, that offers plenty of cheap eats for all the family.
  • If pub grub isn’t for you, there are plenty, and I mean plenty of other delicious cuisine restaurants to choose from along the seaside and on the high street to suit all budgets and tastes. Have a look here for more information.

For more information, visit the Herne Bay Tourist information website.

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