Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate

SWC Walk 101 Margate to Broadstairs and Ramsgate

These Thanet towns all have flat sandy beaches, which have been made much more accessible from London with the opening of high speed rail services from St Pancras. In fact, this whole coast is one long beach at low tide, backed with attractive white cliffs (albeit with rather brown sea water).

However, at low tide there a fringe of sharp rocks along most of this coast, exceptions being the main beaches at Margate, Westbrook, Westgate-on-Sea and Broadstairs, the stretch of beach just north of Ramsgate harbour, and Joss Bay and Kingsgate Bay north of Broadstairs

  • Broadstairs is the best of the towns on this coast, and has a very attractive main beach nestling between two high headlands. This offers good sheltered swimming at high tide, though the low tide goes out quite a long way, and you need to be careful of currents sweeping out around the harbour wall when the tide is ebbing. When the tide is higher East Cliff, the beach stretching away to the north of the harbour is also a good spot for a swim, less busy than the main beach, as is Dumpton Gap to the south of the town. Being east-facing all these beaches lose the sun in the late afternoon, however.

  • Botany Bay half way between Margate and Broadstairs is also highly recommended, with a fine stretch of sand backed by cliffs and chalk stacks. However, it does have a fringe of rocks at low tide: Kingsgate Bay and Joss Bay just to the south do not have this problem. 

  • Margate's flat sandy beach is wildly popular on sunny summer days - it rivals Brighton as a magnet for day trippers. But the town is decidedly run down despite a few pleasant corners in its historic centre. If you are looking for a gently shelving sandy beach (at low tide expect to wade out some distance to get a decent depth for swimming) Westbrook Bay, St Mildred's Bay and Westgate Bay to the west of Margate are all quieter and pleasanter, though Westgate's beach is completely covered for a couple of hours either side of high tide. The promenade or cliff walk to all these places is not unpleasant on a sunny day and all three have cafes in summer. You can also walk along either cliff or promenade to the east of Margate to find an enormous (if sadly neglected) seawater pool in 1.5 kilometres.

  • Ramsgate's once popular beach, just to the north of the harbour, now has a decidedly unloved air, but it is possible to swim there: like other beaches in the area it is gently shelving sand. It has one advantage over the beaches at Broadstairs in that it keeps the sun till relatively late in the day.

  • The walk from Ramsgate to Broadstairs and Margate is semi-suburban, but not unpleasant. Going north from Ramgate there is a clifftop promenade, but eventually you either have to walk along the beach (at low tide) or go inland for a short distance. Cliff top and bottom promenades then resume for the way into Broadstairs. Beyond Broadstairs you are forced inland briefly, but then resume the clifftop path at the North Foreland for the walk into Margate.

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