Updated for 2024
There’s something timeless about the Kentish coastline; its rugged beauty never fades, nor does the allure of its seaside towns.
In 2024, Kent, often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’, continues to be a treasure trove of experiences, from its historical gardens to the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
We recently revisited the serene shores of Broadstairs and Botany Bay.
Much has changed since my last visit, but the charm of these best beaches in Kent remains unaltered. In 2024, the area is buzzing with excitement, celebrating a host of anniversaries and new events, like Leeds Castle’s 50th year as a charitable trust and the Historic Dockyard Chatham’s 40th Anniversary. These special occasions offer more reasons to explore this stunning part of England.
Setting off from London, the journey to Broadstairs is a pleasant reminder of how accessible Kent is. A direct train from London brings you to this coastal haven in no time, making it an ideal destination for a quick getaway or a leisurely day trip.
Days out in Kent – take the train to Broadstairs
Broadstairs – A Beachside Beauty for a Day Out in Kent
Broadstairs has always been a family favourite, and in 2024, it’s no different. The town retains its classic English seaside charm, with its beachside promenades and quaint cottages. This year, more than ever, Broadstairs is a hub for cultural festivities. The whole county is abuzz with the Medway’s Festival 2024, a year-long program brimming with creative events that bring together Kent’s rich history and vibrant local communities.
Strolling along the beach, I couldn’t help but reflect on Charles Dickens’ love for this place. His affection for Broadstairs is well documented, and it’s easy to see why. The beach, with its powdery sand and gentle waves, is as inviting as ever. Families still gather here, building sandcastles and enjoying the sun.
For those who aren’t keen on taking a dip in the sea, there’s a plethora of activities to indulge in. You can explore Broadstairs’ historical pier and boathouse, or visit the Dickens House Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the famous author.
The town has also embraced its hop-growing history, with local pubs serving an array of Kent’s local beers. It’s a perfect way to taste a bit of the county’s heritage.
Botany Bay – A Gem on the Kentish Coastline
Just a short drive from Broadstairs lies Botany Bay, a place of dramatic natural beauty. In 2024, Botany Bay continues to captivate visitors with its towering chalk cliffs and expansive sandy beach. It’s a photographer’s paradise, offering a multitude of vistas that change with the tides.
This year, Botany Bay is more than just a scenic spot. It’s part of a larger celebration of Kent’s coastline, tying into events like the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s 50th Anniversary. These events highlight the region’s natural splendor and historical significance, making a visit here all the more special.
Whether you’re here to soak in the sun, take a leisurely walk along the coast, or engage in a bit of history, Botany Bay never disappoints. It’s a reminder of the unspoiled beauty that Kent has to offer.
As I wandered along the beach, I marvelled at how Botany Bay’s cliffs stand as natural sentinels over the sea. This year, these cliffs are not just a backdrop for beachgoers but also a part of a significant celebration. 2024 marks Hornby’s 50th anniversary, and nearby Margate is hosting WonderWorks, a family-friendly event celebrating this iconic brand. It’s a fun addition to any day out in Kent, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
Exploring Beyond the Beach
Kent, with its diverse landscapes, offers more than just seaside experiences. The Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a short drive from the coast. It’s a fantastic place for those who love the outdoors. The area’s rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and picturesque villages are perfect for hiking and exploring. This year, the Kent Downs is more captivating than ever, with its historical ruins and scenic beauty drawing visitors from all over.
For history enthusiasts, 2024 is a year of rich offerings in Kent. The county is commemorating 250 years since the birth of JMW Turner. The Turner Contemporary in Margate, inspired by Turner’s life and work, is showcasing a range of exhibitions and art installations. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the arts and culture of Kent.
A Taste of Kent’s Culinary Delights
No trip to Kent would be complete without indulging in the local culinary scene. The county’s hop-growing history and vineyards are more renowned than ever in 2024. Sampling the sparkling wines from Kent’s vineyards is a delightful experience, combining the joys of beautiful landscapes with exquisite tastes.
Seafood lovers will find themselves at home in Kent. Places like Whitstable are famous for their oyster bars, offering fresh and delicious seafood. The Taste of Kent Food Festival is another highlight this year, showcasing the best of local produce. It’s a celebration of the county’s rich agricultural heritage and a testament to its burgeoning food scene.
Broadstairs and Beyond – Connecting with Kent’s Heart
In Broadstairs, the connection between past and present is ever-present. The town’s historical pier and boathouse, Bleak House, and Admiralty Cottage are testaments to its rich history. A self-guided walk through Broadstairs is like stepping through pages of history, with each corner revealing a new story.
This year, the town is also part of a larger narrative that celebrates Kent’s heritage and natural beauty. From the Medway’s Festival 2024 to the Castle Concerts in Rochester, there’s a wealth of cultural experiences to be had.
As we wrapped up our day in Broadstairs and Botany Bay, I couldn’t help but feel a deep appreciation for Kent. Its blend of natural beauty, historical depth, and cultural richness makes it a unique destination. Whether you’re here for a day trip or a longer stay, Kent offers an escape into a world where the past and present coexist beautifully.
Venturing Further: The Charm of Kent’s Countryside
Leaving the coast behind, the allure of Kent’s countryside beckons. Here, the Kent Downs and the High Weald unfold in a tapestry of lush greenery, chalk streams, and quaint villages. This area, steeped in natural beauty, offers a tranquil contrast to the lively beaches. The Kent Downs, in particular, are a haven for walkers and nature lovers, with its diverse topography and historical ruins. In 2024, the area is as inviting as ever, perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat into nature.
As I ventured through the Kent countryside, I was reminded of the county’s rich agricultural history. The hop gardens and vineyards tell a story of a land deeply rooted in farming and brewing. This year, with events like the Taste of Kent Food Festival, the spotlight is on the local producers who are the heart and soul of Kent’s culinary scene. Their dedication to quality and tradition adds an authentic flavour to any visit.
Engaging with Kent’s Cultural Tapestry
Kent’s cultural landscape is as varied as its natural one. The county is a mosaic of history, art, and tradition. In 2024, Kent’s cultural calendar is particularly vibrant. The commemorations at the Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Turner Contemporary in Margate are just a few examples of how the county celebrates its rich heritage.
The Medway’s Festival 2024 is a centrepiece of this cultural celebration. It’s an amalgamation of local creativity and ambition, showcasing the best of what Kent’s communities have to offer. From music and theatre to art and craft, the festival is a testament to the county’s thriving cultural spirit.
Broadstairs – A Conclusion to Our Journey
As our day in Kent drew to a close, we found ourselves back in Broadstairs, the starting point of our adventure. This quaint beachside town, with its historical significance and seaside charm, had been the perfect introduction to all that Kent has to offer.
In the evening, the town’s streets came alive with the sounds of local musicians playing at the pubs, and the scent of fresh seafood wafted through the air. We ended our day with a meal at one of Broadstairs’ renowned eateries, reflecting on the day’s discoveries and the endless possibilities that Kent presents.
Kent in 2024 is a place where the past and present merge seamlessly. It’s a county that celebrates its history while embracing the new. As we plan our next visit, we’re excited to explore more of what Kent has to offer.
From its iconic seaside towns to the rolling hills of the Kent Downs, from its historical sites to its vibrant festivals, Kent remains a destination that continues to surprise and delight.
Whether you’re a returning visitor or discovering Kent for the first time, there’s always something new to experience. So, pack your bags, set off on your journey, and discover the myriad charms of this enchanting county.
Out and about on a day trip in Kent
Life certainly is better at the beach, and our day trip to Kent included breathing in the fresh ocean air, patting plenty of puppies, enjoying a pub lunch with a view and feasting on the scenery this coastline offers.
We can’t wait to get back this way, and would highly recommend the easy trip if you want to experience the English seaside.
Time: about an hour and a half by train to and from King’s Cross in London; we would suggest four to six hours here for a decent day trip.
Train booking: we booked our tickets through trainline.com.
Cab: Broadstairs Taxis, phone 01843869999.
Tourist information: try Visit Thanet or Visit Kent.