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Ramsgate

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Kent : Ramsgate
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Ramsgate Marina showing the Maritime Museum and Steam Tug Cervia

Ramsgate is a seaside town in Kent close to Dover and Canterbury.

Understand

Ramsgate forms part of the Isle of Thanet and is closely associated with its neighbouring towns of Broadstairs and Margate. The town's heyday was the Regency and Victorian eras when the well-heeled would holiday in the town, savouring it's genteel culture. Nowadays the town remains a popular destination and has much to offer visitors.

Ramsgate exists in an area that has been crucial to British history. Just down the road at Richborough is the site of the Claudian Invasion of 43AD and evidence of roman settlement in Ramsgate was found as recently as the nineteenth century. Viking chieftains Hengist and Horsa landed at Ebbsfleet in Pegwell Bay in 449AD and were given the Isle of Thanet by Vortigern as thanks for their help in the first stages of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. In 597AD, St Augustine landed at Ebbsfleet on his mission to convert Britain to christianity and later became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 1483, Ramsgate was adopted as a limb of Sandwich and by association, a member of the Cinque Ports Confederation. Growing trade and prosperity in the 17th Century saw Ramsgate develop and throughout the 18th Century many elegant Georgian townhouses were constructed, seeing the creation of Nelson and Wellington Crescents on the east and west cliffs and many small squares. Ramsgate was a fashionable place to stay in Regency times and became the haunt of many writers, artists and philanthropists.

The building of a harbour in the town was as a result of the 1703 Great Storm. It wasn't until King George IV used the town as his departure point for a trip to Hanover in 1821 that the 'Royal' title was bestowed, after the King became so impressed by his welcome to the town. During the Napoleonic Wars, Ramsgate was a garrison town with thousands of troops going back and forth to various battles. In both the world wars, Ramsgate was one of the first places in Britain to be bombed by the Germans and during the 1940 Dunkirk Evacuation the town acted as the central port for the rescue of the troops from France.

Ramsgate's harbour is still a working one with the advent of the Thanet Wind Farm and it still has a small fishing community, busy slipways and a port offering cross-channel ferry routes to the continent. Ramsgate's heyday has long since passed, in common with many seaside towns, but it has a rich history and stunning views and architecture as well as a vibrant cafe culture that surprises many who visit the town.

Get in

  • Train. Normal train services to Ramsgate leave London from Victoria (2-3 per hour) and Charing Cross station (1-2 per hour) and depending on which service you catch trains will run along the North Kent mainline (through the Medway towns, Faversham and Herne Bay) or the Weald mainline (through Paddock Wood and Ashford International) both routes will take around 2-2 and a half hours to reach Ramsgate. It is important to note that while there are occasional direct services, on the North Kent mainline most services comprise an eight-carriage train and seperate at Faversham to form two distinct services, one of which travels on a branch line down to Canterbury and Dover. Likewise, eight and twelve-carriage trains separate at Ashford International and most visitors to Ramsgate opt for the Canterbury West route although if you find yourself on the longer coastal Dover route (usually marked as terminating at Sandwich but the trains always run into Ramsgate anyway) you will still, unless the train is marked as terminating at Dover, eventually arrive in Ramsgate. In both mainline cases, make sure you are travelling in the correct part of the train.[1][2]
  • High Speed Train. For an easier but slightly more expensive option, a twice-hourly high speed service runs from St Pancras International direct to Ramsgate. Designed primarily for long-distance commuters, the streamlined Hitachi trains have been in service since 2010 (journey time of 1hr 20mins). [3]
  • Coach. National Express coaches run from Victoria Coach Station and are typically somewhat cheaper than the railway. However, the journey time is around three hours since there is no direct non-stop coach service to Thanet. Services terminate in the Harbour. As well as online, National Express tickets can also be bought from Toni's Newsagents in King Street.[4]
  • Ferry. Cross-channel ferry services, operated by Transeuropa Ferries [5], sail to Oostende in Belgium. Unfortunately, foot passengers cannot use the ferry, as the ferries seem to be (for the moment at least) predominantly designed to carry freight.
  • Plane. FlyBe offers flights to and from Kent International Airport from Manchester and Edinburgh. Several small holiday firms also offer packages that fly from Kent International. [6] [7]

Get around

  • Buses. Regular buses run by Stagecoach offer easy access to most parts of the Isle of Thanet. The Thanet Loop service (on average every 10 minutes from Ramsgate Harbour) is the most reliable and it's route takes in the harbour, the train station, Westwood Shopping Centre and the other towns of Thanet. The Thanet Star service visits the more suburban parts of Ramsgate and Thanet. Regular buses serve the city of Canterbury (services 8 and 9) but the Thanet Breeze service to and from Canterbury does not extend to Ramsgate and only goes as far as Margate[8]. Alternatively, the independent bus company Eastonways offers extra services and routes across Thanet and out to Minster, Monkton and Birchington. Eastonways is popular with shoppers as it also runs regular services out to Asda and Tesco supermarkets, near Westwood Shopping Centre. Most Eastonways services in central Ramsgate leave from outside Toni's Newsagents in King Street.[9]
  • Walking. This is a very walkable seaside town and it's neighbouring towns include Margate and Broadstairs. In May 2011, the Rambler's Association hosted it's annual Thanet Walking Festival which will be repeated in 2012 [10].
  • Taxis. There are several taxi firms within Ramsgate and the Isle of Thanet including Chauffeur Taxis (T: +44 1843 333333) [11], United Cars (T: +44 1843 581581/591591/589589; incorporating Star Cars, Deelux Cars and Ramsgate Cars)[12], Central Cars (T: +44 1843 585585) and Invicta Cars (T: +44 1843 588588). Airport Connections (T: +44 1843 823007 F: +44 1843 824003) offers luxury car and minibus connections to Kent International Airport.

See

  • The Royal Harbour The town of Ramsgate has the only designated Royal Harbour in the whole of the United Kingdom. The harbour dates back to the 18th century and was given it's royal status by King George IV in 1821 when he recieved a rapturous reception by the townspeople after he chose the port as his point of departure and return for a trip to his native Hanover with the Royal Yacht Squadron. An obelisk commemorating the King's trip stands near the Maritime Museum. The construction of the harbour began in 1749 and was completed in 1850 after several different stages of development. Some aspects of the harbour were the work of John Shaw and his son, John Shaw Jnr, most prominent among these being the lighthouse on the western harbour arm. The harbour was an important embarkation point during the Napoleonic Wars and played a vital role during the 1940 Dunkirk Evacuations: it was from here and Dover that many of the "Little Ships" plied their way across the English Channel to help rescue the stranded Allied forces from the beaches at Dunkirk in the face of the oncoming Nazi hordes; in the harbour stands a memorial to the event and moored at the nearby George IV memorial pontoon is the MY Sundowner, one of the "Little Ships" that was once owned by the 2nd Officer of the Titanic, Charles Lightoller. Today, the harbour has one of the most vibrant yacting marinas on the south coast and, thanks to the nearby offshore Thanet Wind Farm, remains a working harbour. An extension to the harbour allows cross-channel ferries to berth at Ramsgate and LD Lines (cars only) TransEuropa Ferries (predominantly freight) run services to Oostende in Belgium.
  • The Maritime Museum Dominant over much of the harbour is the characteristic Maritime Museum. Built in 1817 by Benjamin Wyatt and George Louch, the building was originally the harbour clock house. In the 1980s, it was turned into the town's maritime museum, containing four galleries examining the maritime history of the local area as well as describing the development of the eponymous harbour. Also featured are many artefacts from the various shipwrecks of the treacherous Goodwin Sands. The building is also the site of the unique Ramsgate Meridian, where the town's own Mean Time was calculated as being 5 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich. [13]
  • The Smeaton Dry Dock Another point of interest around the harbour is the Smeaton Dry Dock. A pioneer of civil engineering, John Smeaton was asked to design a dry dock for the harbour and work started in the mid-1780s. The building of the dock was to be Smeaton's last-ever project; he was to die in the post of Ramsgate Harbour engineer.
  • Empire Steam Tug "Cervia" Adjacent to the dry dock is the 350-ton Empire Steam Tug "Cervia". She is the last sea-going Steam Tug in the United Kingdom and believed to be the last example of an Empire Steam Tug. Empire tugs were the British equivalent of the American Liberty Ships and were built for specific purposes; "Cervia" was built for the Normandy Invasion in 1944 to a pre-determined 'invasion design' but she was not completed until after the Second World War and as such never saw active service. Her features include an armoured wheelhouse and gun emplacements.
    Steam Tug "Cervia" in Ramsgate Marina


  • The Main Sands. Ramsgate's main beach stretches towards the distant Broadstairs underneath towering chalk cliffs. Awarded a blue flag cleanliness award as recently as 2010, the sands are busy in the summer months but don't get as crowded as the more popular beaches in Broadstairs and Margate.
  • Van Gogh, Elizabeth Fry and Karl Marx. Ramsgate is an historic regency town and as such is full of streets of 18th century townhouses. In the late 1870s, Vincent Van Gogh took a job as a supply teacher for a short time at Mr Stokes's School at 6 Royal Road. He lived across the road at 11 Spencer Square whilst he was teaching and he took to sketching the view he had, taking in the harbour and the building that now houses the Churchill Tavern. Nineteenth Century social reformer Elizabeth Fry lived in Bellevue Road for many years and would visit the prison ships passing in the channel on their way to Australia. Karl Marx and his comrade Friedrich Engels stayed in the town around nine times and one street they are supposed to have visited was Hardres Street.
  • Nelson/Wellington Crescent. These two magnificent Regency terraces dominate the West and East Cliffs. The author Wilkie Collins stayed at 14 Nelson Crescent and is thought to have written The Woman In White there whilst Samuel Taylor Coleridge stayed at various addresses along Wellington Crescent. William Frith painted his famous A Day At The Seaside (better known as Ramsgate Sands) whilst staying in Wellington Crescent.
  • The Customs House. Built in 1893, this striking building on Harbour Parade is now home to the Town Council, the local Tourist Information and an arts and crafts workshop. [14]
  • Military Road. The sweeping Military Road, with it's monumental arches forming a characteristic backdrop to the harbour, was built around 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. It's construction incorporates the Sailor's Church, Home for Smackboys and Jacob's Ladder.
  • Sailor's Church and Home for Smackboys. The Sailor's Church dates from 1878 and is still in use. Sea Scouts and Cadets use the rooms above the church but the church itself is home to some interesting exhibits connected with Ramsgate's fishing heritage. The Home for Smackboys accommodated young boys (some as young as 10) from the Minster workhouse who worked on the fishing smacks between 1881 and 1915. Adjacent to both buildings is Jacob's Ladder, a flight of steps leading up to the top of the Westcliff. Built by Jacob Steed in the early nineteenth century, the steps were said to have been a favoured means of access to and from the harbour for gold coin smugglers.
  • Chatham House Grammar School. Still in use, the impressive Chatham House was founded in 1797 as a private boy's school by William Humble. The building and it's railings are Grade II listed and it's architecture is in the style of gothic revival. Former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and television personality and humorist Frank Muir both attended school here. Located in Chatham Street.
  • Albion House. Albion House was the holiday home in 1835 of the Duchess of Kent and her daughter, the future Queen Victoria. It was here that Victoria developed typhoid fever. Sir Francis Austen, brother of Jane and an Admiral of the Fleet lived at 14 Albion Place.
  • Edward VIII Type 'A' Pillar Box. Standing in front of the Royal Victoria Pavilion and still in use today is a very rare Type 'A' Edward VIII pillar box. Edward VIII was King for only a few months in 1936 before his abdication so the post box was produced within a very short time frame.
  • The Grange. Augustus Welby Pugin's Gothic house built in 1845, The Grange can be seen in St Augustine's Road on the Westcliff (it is now rented out by the Landmark Trust). There are occasional opportunities to visit the house but these are few and far between. The house was the subject of a substantial renovation some years back by the Landmark Trust and appeared on a special episode of Channel 4's archaeological series "Time Team". [15]
  • St Augustine's Abbey. Established in the mid-nineteenth century, the abbey is one of only four Benedictine Abbeys in the UK. Situated next to St Augustine's Church and The Grange in St Augustine's Road.
  • St Augustine's Church. Built by Augustus Pugin in 1847 in the neo-Gothic style, St Augustines serves the catholic community of the town as well as the adjacent abbey and is situated next to The Grange in St Augustine's Road. As the name suggests, the church is dedicated to St Augustine.
  • St George the Martyr Church. Standing sentinel over the skyline of Ramsgate is the church of St George the Martyr on Church Hill. Consecrated in 1827, the most striking feature of the church is the impressive lantern tower with it's flying buttresses and balustrades that were constructed as a navigation aid for shipping in the English Channel. As a child, Queen Victoria worshipped here when she holidayed in Ramsgate. [16]
    St. George's Church


  • Townley House. Just up from the town centre, in Chatham Street, is the Georgian Townley House. The house now accommodates a furniture store but once hosted the infant Queen Victoria for several months in the 1820s and was also visited by King William IV.
  • King George VI Park and the Italianate Greenhouse. Along Victoria Parade on the Eastcliff is King George VI Memorial Park which houses the Italianate Greenhouse. Recently renovated, the greenhouse is a Grade II listed building and dates from the early 19th century. The park itself was once formed of the grounds of Sir Moses Montefiore's Eastcliff Lodge and remains a haven of wildlife and a place to get away from the bustle of the town.
  • The Royal Victoria Pavilion. In a prime position next to the Main Sands and the Maritime Museum, this grand old building that dates from the edwardian era was originally concieved as a Concert Hall and Assembly Rooms. It has been in a neglected state for some years but in it's heyday it was the centre of attention in the town.
  • St Laurence-in-Thanet Parish Church. The oldest church in Ramsgate, the church was established in 1062 and it's architecture is from different medieval periods. Located in St Lawrence High Street.
  • Montefiore Mausoleum and Synagogue. Sir Moses Montefiore was an internationally-renowned Jewish philanthropist who had close connections with the town of Ramsgate. When he died, Montefiore was laid to rest inside his own mausoleum which he had built some years previously and which can still be seen today near Dumpton Park Drive. There is also a synagogue next to the mausoleum that was also built by Montefiore.
  • Ramsgate Railway Station. A new classical-style station built by Edwin Fry between 1924 and 1926, the building is now Grade II listed.
  • Ramsgate Library. Originally built in 1904 by the Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the library was all but destroyed by fire in 2004. Since then, a new building was constructed in it's place using the shell of the old one and it was reopened in 2009. Situated in Guildford Lawn just a short walk from the town centre.
  • Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum. During World War Two, Manston was a vital Royal Air Force airfield and the Memorial Museum commemorates this history. Two aircraft, a Spitfire MkXVI and a Hurricane MkII, are housed within the museum buildings as well as a host of military and civil memorabilia and a small, but popular, cafe. [17]
  • Monkton Nature Reserve. The reserve constitutes 16 acres of a reclaimed chalk quarry and has many important habitats. There are over 350 species of flowering plants and the reserve is home to the first artificial bat cave constructed in the UK. The Thanet Observatory is also a feature of the reserve.[18]
  • The Viking Ship "Hugin". Found next to the village of Cliffsend in Pegwell Bay, on the A256 Sandwich road, this replica of Hengist and Horsa's ship sailed from Denmark to Thanet in 1949 to celebrate the 1,500th anniversary of their landing on the isle. On the lane between Cliffsend and Sevenscore is a Celtic Cross erected in 1884 to commemorate St Augustine's first sermon in Kent.
  • Ebbsfleet. The site of two important events in British history: the 449AD landing of Hengist and Horsa, generally considered to be the start of the Anglo-Saxon Invasion of Britain and the landing of St Augustine on his mission from Rome to convert Kent and Britain to christianity. Follow the A256 to the Ebbsfleet Lane turning.
  • Richborough Roman Fort. Situated to the north of Sandwich, the fort is in reality a collection of many phases of Roman remains that are still visible today and are under the auspices of English Heritage. The fort stands in the middle of an area thought to be the sight of the Claudian Invasion of 43AD. Described by English Heritage as 'perhaps the most symbolically important of all Roman sites in Britain'.[19]
  • Minster Abbey. Founded in the 7th Century, the ancient Benedictine Minster Abbey is situated in the village of Minster and is still run by nuns today. The monastic buildings and gardens are open from May to September (2.45pm to 4pm) and year-round (Saturdays 11am to 12 noon). Hospitality packages are offered for conferences and retreats.

Do

There are lots of things to do in Ramsgate such as walking, water sports, land-based fun and cycling. Take a stroll around Ramsgate's Royal Harbour and enjoy the thriving cafe culture alongside the marina.

  • The Main Sands. Ramsgate's Main Sands is the proud holder of an environmental Blue Flag award for it's cleanliness (as of 2010) and can be less crowded than the more popular beaches at Margate and Broadstairs. There is also a smaller, more secluded beach along the Western Undercliff (Royal Esplanade).
  • Ramsgate Week. A prestigious international sailing regatta run by the Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate Week incorporates the IRC regional yachting championship and coastal series into a week full of fun events for all the family (July).[20]
  • Ramsgate Town Carnival. An annual event with floats and fun for all the family (July).[21]
  • The Summer Squall. An annual arts festival held each year over the August Bank holiday weekend, with events such as free operas, open studios, plays, poetry, story telling, exhibitions, installations and music of many genres, as well as talks, walks and workshops [22] (August).
  • 1940s Thanet at War. Organisers hope to make this event an annual one, dedicated to Ramsgate and Thanet's role in the Second World War. In 2010, the Bygone Days group featured vintage vehicles, period food stalls, trade stands and parades as part of a fun, informative weekend. Held in different locations around the harbour and Government Acre on the Westcliff (July). [23]
  • Seaside Shuffle. Ramsgate's own Jazz Festival celebrates it's first year in style, with music events at different venues across the town (July). [24]


  • Lark in the Park. A community event organised by the churches of Thanet and held on Government Acre, children and families can expect youth activities, fun days and community action projects (August). [25]
  • Thanet International Film Festival. An annual celebration of film-making with the aim of creating a one-stop media community. Films are given special screenings at venues across the town. The event ends with an awards ceremony at Westwood Cross (October). [26]
  • Granville Theatre and Cinema. With a cinema screen showing the latest movies, The Granville also offers a range of professional and amateur stage productions and runs regular workshops and other community events. Located on the Eastcliff (Victoria Parade). [27]
  • Bucket and Spade Run. Now in it's 30th year, the Bucket and Spade Run sees vintage cars taking a leisurely drive along the East Kent coast from Faversham to Government Acre in Ramsgate (June).
  • The Grange. In 2011, Pugin's landmark building will be holding open days in May and September. [28]
  • The Ramsgate Market. The market is held in the town centre weekly on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Walking and cycling. Ramsgate forms part of the Viking Coastal Trail which showcases Thanet's coastal beauty and uniqueness. The walk along the coast between Ramsgate and Broadstairs is very enjoyable, especially in the summer when such a walk can take in rockpooling, a quick paddle in the sea and an ice-cream bought from one of the small cafes along the way - although make sure that you watch the rising tide: unwary sightseers can easily be cut off by the sea along this stretch. When the tide is in, it is advised to walk to Broadstairs along the top of the cliff, through King George VI Park and down into Dumpton Gap. A walk along the western clifftops can be interesting in both an aesthetic and historic sense. There are spectacular views of the harbour from the cliffs near the port and further towards Pegwell you pass The Grange, Augustus Welby Pugin's unique Gothic house built in 1845. If you persevere down into the small village of Pegwell, there are two public houses that offer panoramic views of the adjacent Pegwell Bay.
  • Pegwell Bay Coastal Park and Kent Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve. Situated on the A256 to Sandwich and easily reachable by bike and by foot, Pegwell Bay is an internationally important area of saltmarsh and coastal scrubland that forms part of the Great Stour estuary. Ideal for birdwatching and nature walks, the reserve includes a bird hide, wheelchair access and information boards. The Coastal Park has a car park and a small mobile cafe. The Number 37 bus to Sandwich stops at the Sportsman Public House next to the park.[29]
  • Government Acre. In the summer, this public space on the Westcliff is often the venue for fairs and other events.
  • The Sea Searcher The Sea Searcher is a small pleasure boat that offers regular trips around the harbour and seal-watching jaunts over to the nearby Pegwell Bay and visits to the Offshore Wind Farm. The booking hut is situated in front of the Maritime Museum (Harbour Parade). Alternatively, there is also a Powerboat company that offers several trips in the local area.
  • The Boating Pool. This family-based attraction has a restaurant, playground, boating pool, amusements and an art gallery. Situated on the Westcliff (Royal Esplanade).
  • Adventure Submarine. Popular children's indoor play centre (ages 0-8). [30]
  • Blue Plaque Hunting. There are blue plaques dotted around the town dedicated to such famous people as Karl Marx, the Duke of Wellington, barrister and former Solicitor-General Sir William Garrow, author Wilkie Collins, actor John le Mesurier, writer John Gibson Lockhart and social reformer Elizabeth Fry.
  • Ramsgate FC. The local football team is a member of the Ryman League Division 1 (South) and plays it's games at the Southwood Stadium (Prices Avenue). [31]
  • Westwood Cross. The Westwood Cross shopping centre incorporates high street names, supermarkets, a multiplex cinema, a gym and a bingo hall. The Thanet Loop bus stops at Westwood and there are ample car parking spaces.

Buy

  • Ramsgate Town Centre. Ramsgate town centre has most of the usual shops you would expect to find plus a few local stores of interest. More than most town centres, Ramsgate has a high number of charity shops and cafes that are dotted around Harbour Street, York Street and the High Street.
  • Westwood Cross. Between Ramsgate and Margate is the Westwood Cross Shopping Centre. Westwood has a range of big-name clothes stores including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Burtons, TK Maxx and Next plus lots of cafes and bars to sit in and reflect on what you’ve bought. Here also can be found the big supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda. [32]

Eat

Ramsgate offers some of the best dining in the South East of England, with several well-regarded restaurants situated around the picturesque harbour including the renowned Surin Restaurant, Alexandra Ristorante and young businesses such as Eddie Gilberts and Age & Sons which have built up formidable reputations in a very short amount of time.

  • Surin (Harbour Street; T: +44 1843 592001) is a UK top 5 Thai restaurant as recommended by the Good Food Guide, The Independent and Guardian newspapers and Time Out magazine[33]. Alternatively, try Siam's Kitchen (Albion Hill) or Saffron (Harbour Street)
  • Alexandra Ristorante (Harbour Parade; T: +44 1843 590595) is an italian restaurant that has been established since 1987 and is very popular locally. Run by Maria and Luciano, the restaurant recently updated it's menu and offers authentic and contemporary italian fare. As a result of the restaurant's overhaul, thanks to it's starring role in an episode of the Channel 5 programme "The Restaurant Inspector", the Alexandra was nominated in the 2010 Kent Best Restaurant Awards.[34]
  • Eddie Gilbert's (King Street; T: +44 1843 852123) is a fishmonger business that doubles as a gourmet fish and chip shop, boasting a Michelin-trained chef and freshly-caught local produce. The restaurant has been reviewed favourably by The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times and Country Life magazine. Eddie Gilberts is a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.[35]
  • Age & Sons (Charlotte Court; T: +44 1843 851515). Situated in a wine warehouse that dates back to 1804, Age & Sons is run by the Leigh family and in it's short existence has been a runner-up in the 2009 Independent Food and Drink Awards and is the proud recipient of a Bib Gourmand from Michelin. The restaurant boasts an extensive wine list and reasonably priced three-course meals.[36]
  • The Foy Boat (Sion Hill) offers hearty pub fare in a restaurant that commands panoramic views over the harbour. It is also a popular venue for sunday lunch. The pub is reputedly referred to as the "Channel Packet" in Ian Fleming's novel "Goldfinger"[37]. Alternatives include the Oak Hotel (Harbour Parade), The Churchill Tavern (The Paragon), The Royal (Military Road) and The Sovereign (Harbour Street).
  • Peter's Fish Factory (Harbour Parade) offers traditional seaside fish and chips in a location close to the beach and marina.
  • St Lawrence Tandoori Restaurant (High Street St Lawrence) is situated in the St Lawrence part of town and has a good selection of indian cuisine[38]. Alternatively, The China Garden restaurant (High Street) offers an a la carte menu and inexpensive evening buffets.
  • Corby's Tea Rooms (York Street) is a popular establishment near the harbour that offers speciality teas and coffees as well as cream teas and various snacks.

Most of the usual chain restaurants and fast food outlets can be found in Ramsgate including McDonalds, KFC, Subway and Pizza Express (Harbour Parade). The nearest Burger King is at the Westwood Shopping Centre.

Drink

  • The Churchill Tavern (The Paragon). An excellent place to try several traditional real ales. With commanding views over the harbour and port, the tavern often holds beer and cider festivals as well as regular music events and offers a selection of meals and snacks.[39]
  • The Belgian Cafe (Harbour Parade). The place to try continental lagers and beers. Here you can try beers from across Europe, some of which are extremely strong! The Belgian Bar also has aspirations to be a restaurant in the evenings and offers meals and snacks. The bar is open in the morning to serve breakfast as well.[40]
  • Miles Cafe Culture (Harbour Parade; +44 1843 585008). A coffee house that has enviable views across the adjacent Marina, Miles remains an atmospheric, enjoyable place to while away a few hours and it's pavement tables are rarely empty. Snacks are served as well.
  • Pubs. Across Ramsgate are many public houses of varying quality. If you want the feel of a traditional pub warts and all in the middle of Ramsgate try places like the Red Lion (King Street) or the Horse and Groom (Charlotte Court). Elsewhere, the Montefiore Arms (Trinity Place) is popular with real ale drinkers who favour a well-kept pint of beer and was voted pub of the year in 2009 and 2011 by the Thanet branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.[41]
  • The Royal (Military Road) is the local nightspot and offers regular theme nights as well as DJs, karaoke and live bands in rotation.
  • Gadds' Ramsgate Brewery. Originally founded in 2002 in the Belgian Bar, Gadds' Ramsgate Brewery is a thriving small local brewery now found in it's own premises on the Pysons Road Industrial Estate. Look out for it's beers in selected local pubs. Amongst those pubs that have served Gadds' beers in the past are the Red Lion (King Street), The Port and Anchor (Albion Hill), The Churchill Tavern (The Paragon) and the Artillery Arms (Westcliff Road).[42]
  • Rokka. Another popular nightspot along Harbour Parade, this bar/restaurant offers theme nights and DJs as well as an extensive range of food and drink.

Sleep

  • Hotels. There are a host of hotels in Ramsgate, including the Oak Hotel (Harbour Parade)[43], The Comfort Inn (Victoria Parade)[44], The Royal Harbour Hotel (Victoria Parade)[45], The Pegwell Bay Hotel (Pegwell Road)[46] and the Kent International Hotel (Harbour Parade).
  • B&Bs/Guest Houses. On a smaller scale, the traditional B&B is well-represented in Ramsgate and, whilst they vary in quality and size, they should not be underestimated. Many are well-run, established Guest Houses which offer cheap, competitive prices and some still cook an evening meal as well as the included breakfast. Visit Britain have given four stars to the Glendevon Guest House (Truro Road)[47] and Abbeygail Guest House (Penshurst Road)[48] while awarding three stars to Fairholme Guest House (Albion Road). [49]
  • Self-Catering. Durlock Lodge in Minster offers a self-catering cottage and studio as well as guest rooms in a countryside location close to Minster railway station. [50]

Contact

  • The Ramsgate Tourist Information office is situated in the Town Council building in the old Customs House on Harbour Parade.
  • Thanet District Council's Tourism Service:

Phone: +44 1843 577671 Fax: +44 1843 577686 Email: [51]

  • For more on Thanet tourism: [52]
  • For more on Ramsgate marina: [53]

Get out

Ramsgate is ideally situated for many nearby places of interest.

  • London. London is, when using the high speed rail service, just an hour and twenty minutes away. On slower trains, the journey will take around two hours.
  • Canterbury. Easily reached by bus or train, the ancient cathedral city of Canterbury is the hub of East Kent. The Cathedral itself is, along with St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church, a designated World Heritage Site. Other sights include The Marlowe Theatre and the Canterbury Tales, an interactive visitor attraction that takes you through scenes from Chaucer's famous book. Canterbury is also a great place to shop and has many attractive cafes, restaurants and pubs. Howletts Zoo is nearby at Bekesbourne. Trains take 20-25 minutes and leave Ramsgate twice-hourly whilst buses leave Ramsgate Harbour hourly.
  • Dover. Another place within easy reach is Dover which boasts the eponymous castle as it's main feature. Dominating the town, visiting the castle and the wartime tunnels underneath it can take a day up itself. Dover is also the main port in South-east England with cross-channel ferry services to Calais and Dunkirk. If you start early enough, it is possible to use Ramsgate as the starting point for a trip to Dover and a quick hop across the channel. The train is the easiest option to get to Dover since most bus services require a change in Sandwich. Trains take 30 minutes and run hourly.
  • Broadstairs. Sometime home of Charles Dickens, Broadstairs is a beautiful, quaint, virtually unchanged little seaside town with a hugely popular beach in Viking Bay. Easily reached via the Thanet Loop bus service.
  • Margate. Boisterous Margate offers sand, sea and amusements as well as the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. Once again, easily reached via the Thanet Loop bus service.
  • Sandwich. The medieval Cinque Port town of Sandwich is close to Ramsgate and sits next to Sandwich Bay, where there is an RSPB-run nature reserve. You can also join the 160-mile Saxon Shore Way at Sandwich, the route of which stretches right along the South East coast from Hastings in East Sussex to Gravesend in North Kent. Buses are hourly from Leopold Street and travel through Pegwell Bay. Trains take around 10 minutes (hourly service).
  • Deal. Deal is an old fishing town famous for it's pier, The Timeball Tower, Deal Castle and Walmer Castle, official residence of the Warden of the Cinque Ports. Trains take around 15 minutes (hourly service).
  • Minster. For the Kent International Airport. In Minster village itself is Minster Abbey. Regular bus services are run by Stagecoach and Eastonways.
  • Manston. For the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum.
  • Pegwell Bay. A Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserve within walking and cycling distance of Ramsgate.
  • Whitstable. The small fishing town of Whitstable offers quaint and historic shops, pubs and restaurants.
  • Folkestone. Folkestone is a traditional port town on the edges of the Romney Marsh area.





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