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Broadstairs v Whitstable: The glorious Kent seaside towns which dazzle in the sun

One of the best things about living in Kent is when you head into a nearby town you’ve not visited for ages and realise what an absolute gem it is.

We can all become a little obsessed with believing all the negativity about Kent and its towns that we actually forget what amazing places we have on our doorstep.

What a site - Broadstairs is a real gem of a place
What a site - Broadstairs is a real gem of a place

So, perhaps it’s the better weather, perhaps it’s my rebellion against the relentless negativity of the general election campaign, but here’s a hunk of positivity for you.

On a warm evening this week I caught a train and alighted in Broadstairs.

I’m no stranger to the place, but the last time I’d visited was in the winter when it was agonisingly chilly.

We’d visited an escape room – which was excellent other than for a mechanical fault with the final set-piece which meant it finished with a splutter rather than a bang.

I was then sat in a pub where departing customers had a penchant for not shutting the door, leaving me getting an icy blast on an irritatingly regular basis. I left feeling relatively nonplussed about the place.

Although judging by this picture it can get rather busy…
Although judging by this picture it can get rather busy…

But, crikey, on a mild and beautiful early summer’s evening, the two experiences could not have been more different.

As the sun was setting, I strolled along the promenade and almost had to catch my breath at how beautiful it was.

For those who haven’t experienced its charms, you look down to a sweeping bay with a broad sandy beach. And acres and acres of beautiful blue sky.

Along the top are gardens with palm trees which, in turn, are towered over by grand-looking buildings harking back to the Victorian and Georgian era; when they knew a thing or two about design.

This idyllic stretch boasts a host of restaurants and bars allowing customers to enjoy their evening with a view worthy of the Mediterranean. And, on this evening at least, the weather to match.

The Tartare Frigate - the inside is just what you'd expect
The Tartare Frigate - the inside is just what you'd expect

I found myself rather smitten with the place. And no, all ye of little faith, I am not being paid by the Thanet tourist board. But isn’t it nice being positive for once?

Walking down towards the harbour arm, I gulped at the prices of some of the eateries (is it just me or is eating out now a remortgaging experience?) and instead enjoyed a swift half in the Tartar Frigate – a proper old-school pub that looks exactly like an inn on the harbour should; all dark woods and low lighting.

As I strolled back to the station, I could only reflect on how – in many, many ways – Broadstairs gives Whitstable a serious run for its money. It too has narrow streets and little alleyways leading you down to a waterfront. It too has seen inflated house prices. But it has something Whitstable doesn’t.

Because that sandy beach surely trumps turning your ankle on those pebbles any day of the week.

So if you’re wondering what to do when the sun shines this weekend - pop a positivity pill and head to our coast.

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