Known as ‘white cliffs country’, the beautiful Kent coast is flanked with iconic white chalk cliffs that attract visitors from far and wide to explore its beauty and some of the UK’s finest beaches and seaside towns. With many offering a traditional Victorian seaside welcome, an intriguing history and an abundance of attractions, the best Kent coastal towns offer something for every visitor. We have picked five of our favourite seaside towns, to give you a taste of what the Kent coast has to offer.
Margate is one of those vintage Kent seaside towns that conjures the nostalgic feeling of childhood holidays, and it really does have something for everyone. Located north-east of Canterbury, it not only offers that traditional seaside holiday feeling, but a fantastic array of attractions including a world-class art gallery, retro shops, cool cafes, and trendy bars. There’s a whole day to be spent here, from exploring the town’s history and heritage to relaxing on the beach, exploring seaside amusements and dining in style.
Adults will love: The internationally acclaimed Turner Contemporary art gallery, which showcases a mix of modern and historical artworks.
Kids will love: You can’t visit Margate with children without a trip to the British seaside amusement experience of Dreamland. As the name suggests, it's packed with classic seaside rides, shows and games!
Stay at: Bay View Annexe, Margate – sleeps 4
Known as the ‘jewel in Thanet’s crown’, this popular Kent coastal town exudes seaside charm, and it's not difficult to see why! Although slightly smaller than neighbouring Margate, Broadstairs is wide in its appeal, boasting seven sandy beaches with everything you could possibly need for a holiday on the Kent coast - from the iconic chalk stacks at Botany Bay to the surf school and fabulous waves of Joss Bay. Teeming with seaside charm, you can expect to find quaint fisherman’s cottages and plenty of culinary delights, including 1950s ice cream parlours!
Adults will love: Discovering strong connections to Charles Dickens in the Dickens House Museum.
Children will love: Splashing in the tidal pool and enjoying the rides at Viking Bay.
Stay at: Sea Renity Cottage, Broadstairs – sleeps 6
Perhaps one of the prettiest Kent coastal towns, Deal is a photographer’s paradise. Much quieter than the likes of Margate and Broadstairs, Deal is home to quaint streets that meander their way through the town, lined with colourful fisherman’s cottages and beautiful Georgian townhouses. As you can imagine, this delightful seaside town in Kent offers a thriving foodie scene with locally caught seafood served every day on the seafront, overlooking the stunning pebble beach. With plenty of literary connections, historic attractions, boutique shops and delicious restaurants, Deal offers a lot for all tastes.
Adults will love: Wandering in and out of the town’s galleries and museums, soaking up its eclectic arts scene.
Children will love: Playing king of the castle, and exploring the hidden tunnels at Deal Castle, one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England.
Stay at: Gore Cottage (a few miles from Deal) – sleeps 5
Another example of picture-perfect Kent coastal towns, Whitstable is easily accessible from London, making it the perfect destination to escape city life. Its unique shops, thriving art scene, foodie spots and general relaxed seaside vibe are sure to relax any visitor in no time at all. Make sure you visit Whitstable’s working harbour to watch the boats come and go, but also to sample the world-famous Whitstable oyster, jump aboard the historic Thames sailing barge, Greta, or stop by the quirky shops to pick up a souvenir.
Adults will love: Stepping back in time to explore the town’s seafaring history at Whitstable Museum and Gallery.
Children will love: Being set free on the Crab and Winkle Way, a 7-mile, almost traffic-free cycling route between Canterbury and Whitstable.
Stay at: Beach Bliss, Whitstable – sleeps 4
Known as the ‘Gateway to England’, Dover not only plays a big part on the Kent coastline but the entire English coast too. The vibrant port town offers a diverse and fascinating history for visitors to explore, but it’s also a popular destination for walkers, explorers, and lovers of the great outdoors. Recognised by its iconic white cliffs, the Chalk and Channel Way is a 7-mile cycle route that runs between Dover and Folkestone, offering a wonderful opportunity to take in coastal views of this iconic stretch of the English coast. Of course, the town itself is alive with things to do, see and eat for every member of the family, from ancient forts and war memorials to outlet shopping and boat trips.
Adults will love: The variety of things to see and do in Dover, ensuring that every member of the family is always well entertained.
Children will love: Staring in awe at the size of the boats in Dover marina, and those coming in and out of the harbour.
Stay in a Kent coastal town
Are you eager to visit the Kent coast and explore these beautiful seaside towns? Get to know the area even better for your visit to the best Kent coastal towns with the top 10 beaches to visit in Kent. Walkers may find our best walks in Kent a handy guide, while families can discover the best attractions with our run-down on the best family days out in Kent. Finally, our complete guide to Kent will give you a fantastic overview. Now all that’s left to do is find a Kent cottage from which to explore the very best Kent coastal towns!
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.