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  • Writer's pictureMary Smith

Classic Seaside Splendour in Ramsgate

Autumn has arrived and there is still much to bring you for a stay here at Broadstairs Apartments! The Isle of Thanet is a picturesque place to visit any time of the year and we thought it would be a great idea to spend the next few weeks focusing on our three main seaside towns - Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Each has its own distinct personality for you to get to know, and they complement eachother wonderfully.

Today we're shining the spotlight on Ramsgate, just next door to Broadstairs, home to the UK's only royal harbour and boasting a rich maritime history. Well connected from London by train and road, Ramsgate provides a pleasing mix of scenic promenade walks, classic seaside architecture, a busy continental-style cafe culture, and an attractive, yacht-filled marina basin as a lively backdrop.

Head first down to the harbour front and take in the elegant Georgian, Regency and Victorian facades that line Harbour Parade and its grand companion Royal Parade. Their restaurants and cafe's all have tables outside for you to enjoy the waterside ambience. The quaint fishermans' arches have been reincarnated into quirky shops, cafe's and bistros, allowing for much mooching and browsing time.

Also a must is the first-floor terrace of the country's largest Wetherspoon's at the Royal Victoria Pavilion. A beautiful Grade-II listed former concert and dance hall, the 1903 building is stunning and said sea-facing terrace offers fantastic, breezy views of the harbour and beach. Or venture out to the Royal Harbour Brasserie, sited on the East Pier looking out to sea, where you will really feel you are getting away from it all.

The Royal Harbour itself has much to see too, being a busy working port for hundreds of sailing and power boats. Built in the years following the devastating Great Storm of 1703, the harbour was granted royal status by George IV in 1821. An impressive 52ft granite obelisk stands on Pier Yard, commemorating the harbour's importance. You can spend a pleasant hour or two exploring the various piers and jetties, watching boats arrive and depart. Stop off at the Clock House on the quayside, another Grade-II listed building, currently housing the Ramsgate Maritime Museum to learn all about the rich and varied history of the harbour.

Much of Ramsgate sits on the quintessential tall chalk cliffs of East Kent. Wide promenades run along them on both sides - East Cliff and West Cliff. First popularised by the Victorians, a modern-day promenade walk is to be done in a leisurely fashion, stopping off for an ice-cream or fish & chips, taking in the seafront panoramas. On Ramsgate's East Cliff you will see Wellington Crescent in all its Regency glory, with a fine well-preserved Edwardian bandstand to the front.

Perching on the cliff edge, surveying the seafront is the East Cliff Lift, constructed in 1910 and still functioning, having been fully renovated in the late 1990's. It was originally built to save holiday-makers a steep climb when arriving by train to the old Harbour station and now serves current tourists instead. The station is long gone, but the labyrinthine tunnels under the cliffs remain. You can take a fascinating subterranean tour of the tunnels, which were eventually used as air raid shelters during the Blitz attacks of WW2.

Finally, no trip to Ramsgate can be complete without visiting some of the magnifent Pugin architecture. Of international acclaim, Augustus Pugin was famous for his Gothic Revival style and the town is of course honoured that he not only moved there in 1943 but also proceeded to grace the town with his designs. His family home, The Grange, overlooking the West Cliff, and the adjacent St Augustine's Church are open to visitors and a real feast for the eyes.

All-in-all, the harbour town of Ramsgate has everything you might need for a day trip. Only a mile or so from Broadstairs Apartments, it couldn't be more convenient either. The Loop bus stops at the end of the road and will take you all the way to the Royal Harbour in minutes. A seaside destination spanning the centuries, you will find plenty of local information at your fingertips to fine tune your itinerary!

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