The coastline of Kent is unique and one of the longest in England. The chalk, sandstone and clay cliffs that separate Kent's green and pleasant land from the sea bring visitors flocking annually, along with the natural beauty of the salt marshes and the sand and shingle-sprinkled bays.
As the land is fabulously fertile for growing many fruit and crops, Kent is affectionately known as the Garden of England. With miles of golden sand and sheltered beaches being the norm, life in Kent isn't just a bowl of cherries, it's the whole cherry tree that's just ripe for the taking.
In absolutely no particular order, and this list is by no means definitive, we have chosen the cream of the crop. As an added bonus, each beach has been picked because of a unique star attraction that we think is the shiny 'cherry' on the top.
Surrounded by high chalk cliffs, this is a popular beach for families and is quieter that it’s neighbours of Joss and Botany Bay. It is famous for its sea caves, which are considered to be among the finest of their ilk. It is dog- and family-friendly, although the parking is limited and it is possible to get cut off if you aren’t aware if the incoming tide.
The unique feature and must-see star attraction at Kingsgate Bay is the Captain Digby pub which is family-friendly, boasts great views over the beach and has a children’s play area.
Greatstone Beach, Romney Marsh
The sands of Greatstone Beach stretch for two miles in a line from the north to south and have been a draw for tourists for generations. Nowadays it is a favourite with kite-surfer’s and land-yachters, but ever since people discovered the joys of the seaside, this beach has been on the holiday radar because of its safe swimming and fine sand.
It is a great beach for collecting pretty shells and this will keep the kids occupied for hours.
Botany Bay, Broadstairs
Quintessentially British, this is another long stretch of sand that is surrounded by chalk cliffs. It is split in to two beaches effectively and is an ideal location for fossil hunting and rock pooling when the tide is out. With plenty of sand at high tide it's a great place to loll and relax.
The chalk stacks and panoramic backdrop make this a popular place for filming, including music videos, adverts, and fashion shoots. If you are lucky enough you might be able to see some filming or even appear in it! As an aside, the area tucked away to the north-west is a naturist beach, and naturists tend to favour the dunes.
Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate
There is plenty to do and discover at this beach that butts up to the harbour in Ramsgate. It is a shallow inlet the sits astride the River Stour. A pier was built here in the 19th century in an effort to rival nearby Ramsgate as a holiday resort, but it was deemed to be a failure and it was dismantled before the end of the century.
The other end of the beach is Pegwell Bay Country Park, which is a nature reserve and home to species of wildfowl and migrating waders. Birdwatchers may use the bird hide which is accessible to visitors with disabilities.
Viking Bay, Broadstairs
This is probably the most popular beach in Broadstairs. It is good for families with changing huts, a promenade, and a pier. There is a tidal pool and lots to do including rides for children, beachside shops, and cafes.
The beach is a sweeping horseshoe shape, with clean water and was a favourite holiday destination for Charles Dickens who used to get his inspiration as he walked along the seafront promenade.
Joss Bay, Broadstairs
Sheltered by steep chalk cliffs and next to a golf course, this beach is considered to be a top locale for families and provides a great seaside experience on the British coast. The bay is approximately 200-metres long and is the best surfing spot in Thanet, although not when this picture was taken!
Joss Bay Surf School offers board and wetsuit hire, as well as surfing lessons. For serious seekers of waves, a rare solid northerly groundswell spells quality, but watch out for the rocks.
You can get to this beach by bike or foot as there is a cycling and walking route that goes right up to the entrance to the beach. It is secluded and offers lots of facilities and things for families to do including swimming, watersports, and a children’s play area. Parking is free and beach wheelchairs are available to hire.
Good for crabbing at the far end of the beach. Top tip: Raw bacon is good bait.
St. Mary’s Bay, Broadstairs
Also known as East Cliff, this sandy beach is plonked between Viking and Stone Bay. The array of colourful beach huts against the white of the chalk cliffs is a lovely contrast and Instagram opportunity. Dogs are allowed on the beach except in the summer between the hours of 9am and 6pm.
St Mary’s Bay offers safe bathing on a shallow beach and, at low tide, the sand extends for over half a mile out.
St. Margaret’s Bay, Dover
This beach is a mixture of sand and shingle and is renowned for being the closest point of England to France, this beach is where Channel swimmers begin there swim to the continent – a mere 21 miles. The white cliffs are also the first place that the sun reaches every morning on mainland Britain.
For Bond fans, the Art Deco house next to the car park was formerly owned by the author Ian Fleming and before him by Noel Coward. The cliffs are crumbling and the house is in constant danger from the sea in front and debris from the cliffs.
Sunny Sands Beach, Folkestone
Near to the centre of Folkestone and next to the harbour is this pretty beach that is fabulous for building sandcastles and great rocks to climb. It can get quite busy in the summer as it is a favourite with families.
At a very low tide, you can walk to the harbour - although the sea comes in quickly, so don’t dawdle! On a clear day you can see France as well as the white cliffs of Dover.
After a busy day building sandcastles and splashing in the waves, you can go back and relax in one of our fabulous collection of holiday homes. The one below is in Whitstable, but we have properties all over Kent and Sussex.