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Beaches to try across Kent to suit all ages for when the sun shines

There are several hundred miles of coastline wrapped around Kent, boasting the world's most famous white cliffs, sandy spots and family-friendly bays.

We've picked 10 spots to pitch your deck chair when the sun shines...

Where will you take the family for a beach day in Kent?
Where will you take the family for a beach day in Kent?

Tankerton

The beach - a pebble’s throw from Whitstable - is a haven for safe bathing and sensational sunsets. At low tide the sea gives way to a long, pleasant walk to take you right out to sea, and a chance to explore rock pools and paddle, and there's some painted beach huts which will have you reaching for your phone. When you’ve finished paddling enjoy a picnic on the grassy area and admire the view.

Tankerton Beach
Tankerton Beach

Margate

You'll find sticks of rock a short step away from the beach at Margate, so you know you're in for a traditional seaside day. The sandy beach is flanked by Turner Contemporary, which opens next week, so there’s plenty to do if it's not a suncream day.

Margate's beach rarely looks this empty
Margate's beach rarely looks this empty

Herne Bay

There's a splash of seaside magic to be found on the edge of Herne Bay. It has a pier, fish and chip restaurants and ice cream stalls, perfect for a great British day beside the sea. There’s also a wealth of picnic spots and there is parking nearby.

Herne Bay Picture: Alan Langley
Herne Bay Picture: Alan Langley

Whitstable

Colourful beach huts, long stretches of pebble beach and boardwalk, eateries galore and plenty of shallow water for splashing - you can’t beat Whitstable’s shingle beach for that by-the-coast feeling. There's also the sun-kissed town centre a step away, a bustling harbour area and plenty of parking. Many of the outlets on the seafront have now reopened, including the Pearson's Arms and the Old Neptune - the latter of which has plenty of space outside, but is very snug inside.

The Old Neptune is on the beach
The Old Neptune is on the beach

Shakespeare Cliff

Looking for somewhere different to try? Shakespeare Cliff and Beach has 20 miles of coastline and the world famous White Cliffs of Dover to boast. Part of the White Cliffs Country, the shingle beach which has a coastal path behind it and stretches to the west of Dover Harbour, was included in King Lear by William Shakespeare. There is no direct vehicle access to beach and due to its access it is not suitable for those with disabilities. It is accessed via a footpath with steps down to the beach. There is pay and display parking at Samphire Hoe. Find out more at whitecliffscountry.org.uk

Shakespeare Cliff, Dover Picture: Sam Lennon
Shakespeare Cliff, Dover Picture: Sam Lennon

Sheerness

This sweeping bay rests next to a wide, grassy esplanade, which is perfect for picnicking after a quick dip. With its pretty pebble beach, you don't need to worry about getting sand everywhere when you get home.

Folkestone

Sunny Sands Beach is a lusted-after landmark on the south coast. Venture down through the town's Creative Quarter to the beach, watched over by the town’s mermaid statue, it is a perfect spot to take your dog when the weather’s less warm and it also has hills and downs, and is a short walk from shops and cafes, as well as some of the town's Artworks.

Botany Bay

With its Instagrammable chalk stacks and sand stretching ahead, it's one of Thanet's top beaches, with a Blue Flag. A perfect sandy spot for those both looking to relax or seek adventure – and when the tide is out it is great for fossils and exploring rock pools for hours. However, it's quite a compact site so is likely to be busier on hot days this summer. Shepherd Neame has reopened its pub overlooking the beach, the Botany Bay Hotel, and it is advisable to book first, though walk-ins are welcome if there's space.

The Botany Bay Hotel at Kingsgate
The Botany Bay Hotel at Kingsgate

Broadstairs

With one of the most enclosed sandy beaches in the county, Broadstairs has ice cream parlours, as well cliff top walks. Whatever you’re looking for by the sea, Broadstairs has it. It’s an ideal place for families to spend a few hours enjoying a traditional day out at the seaside building sandcastles. There is seafront parking for a small cost, but on warm days there is competition for the parking spaces - even in non coronavirus years.

The beach at Broadstairs
The beach at Broadstairs

Dungeness

Windswept but picturesque, the shingle beach is flat and is a haven for winged wildlife especially. It’s a great spot for your dog to run free and eagle-eyed visitors will enjoy looking for a range of rare and interesting birds. However the nature reserve is not open and facilities such as the visitor centre and toilets remain closed. The RSPB has opened one car park with limited capacity from 9am to 5pm only.

Boats on the beach at Dungeness
Boats on the beach at Dungeness

Dymchurch

You’ll find miles of unspoilt sand stretching ahead of you at Dymchurch. The golden sands are the jewel in the crown for this seaside spot, come rain or shine, and it's not surprising it gets a good TripAdvisor rating. It was also the subject of some beach art for last year's JAM on the Marsh festival, though the event is only being held virtually this year. The amusement park has now reopened with strict hygiene measures and sanitising stations.

Dymchurch Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dymchurch Picture: Barry Goodwin

Beach do's and don'ts

RNLI now have lifeguards patrolling at the following beaches in the county daily – Botany Bay; Joss Bay; Leysdown-on-Sea on Sheppey; Margate Main Beach; Minnis Bay, Ramsgate and Viking Bay in Broadstairs.

* If you're thinking it's a beach day, so will others, so consider how you keep your social distance

*Don't assume all facilities are back to normal, as not all are, and those that are may have longer queues. Also check parking before you go.

* Make sure you take your rubbish home with you. No-one wants a repeat of the business beach scenes earlier this summer

* Keeping children safe at the moment also means considering hygiene if they are going to play on play parks or try some rides

* Find out more at rnli.org. The charity also urges people not to use inflatables in the sea.

For more days out ideas across Kent click here.


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