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  • Writer's pictureMary Smith

How Broadstairs Charmed TV Star Paul O'Grady

Updated: Dec 6, 2020


It was great to see beautiful Broadstairs back in the spotlight once again on ITV recently! This time Paul O'Grady paid the town a visit as part of his new Great British Escape series, where he explores an array of fabulous Kent holiday destinations. Broadstairs Apartments thought it would be fun to show you some more about the local places Paul looked in on.


Glamourously setting off for the Isle of Thanet by speed boat, the first stop was to see the seal colonies at Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve with Dover Sea Safari. For wildlife fans this looked like a real treat as with a respectful distance the crew were able to get quite close to the seals without disturbing them.

Pegwell Bay © Visit Thanet

This important habitat conservation area is a must for nature lovers, but don't worry you can get to it from the clifftop scrubland paths too! The reserve boasts inter-tidal mudflats, saltmarsh, shingle beach, sand dunes and ancient dune pastures - all of which attract a host of migratory birds. The Stour, a rare chalk river with its source in mid Kent, wends its way through Canterbury and Ashford, finally flowing into the North Sea at Pegwell.

Dickens House Museum, Broadstairs. © M Smith

After that it was on to Broadstairs, where Paul explored some of its Dickensian roots and how much of and influence the writer has been on the town. He meets with historian and great great great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, Lucinda Hawksley, at the very quaint Dickens House Museum, with the pretty Nuckells' Gardens in front. Paul and Lucinda stopped off for tea in the sunshine at the Royal Albion Hotel terrace to watch the world go by along the promenade and take in the fabulous sea views.

Viking Bay boats, Broadstairs. © M Smith

With stunning drone footage over Viking Bay, Stone Bay and Botany Bay, the Great British Escape presented Broadstairs in its very best light. The beaches looked marvellous, which you will see for yourself when you visit of course. The Isle of Thanet is famed for its miles of sandy bays and bucolic clifftops with all the breathtaking sights and sounds of the coastal landscape.

Viking Bay & Jetty, Broadstairs. © M Smith

Other East Kent places that Paul visits on he show include the City of Canterbury, Wildwood and Whitstable. Easily accessible from the Isle of Thanet by car, bus or train, the World Heritage Site of Canterbury is home to the impressive 11th century Cathedral and steeped in history. Oh and a witch's ducking stool juts out over the river Stour as it winds through central Canterbury, adding to the rich medieval atmophere.

Red Squirrel. © Rebecca Prest

Nestled in the countryside outside of Canterbury is Wildwood, wildlife conservation set in 40 acres of ancient woodland. Native and European animals under threat From bison, wolves, red squirrels, lynx and even dormice have been given sanctuary and are expertly looked after. There is so much to learn here about the protection of Britain's wildlife. When Paul visited, he has the honour of feeding the beautiful brown bears that had been rescued from Bulgaria.

The Old Neptune, Whitstable. © Dan Senior

Five miles north of Canterbury is the stylish seaside town of Whitstable. Sat on the North Kent coast its shingle beaches face out towards the north sea where it meets the mouth of the teams estuary. Steeped in fishing history, the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival is a fabulous annual event with guaranteed fun. The landscape is great for beach walks of course. Alternatively, old railway route The Crab and Winkle Way is now a scenic bike path which leading into Canterbury.

Louisa Bay & Clocktower, Broadstairs. © M Smith

All in all we think you'll agree that Paul O'Grady did us proud. The Broadstairs Apartments team hopes you'll watch The Great British Escape so that you too can see what a fantastic place East Kent is. Countryside and coast, rivers and seaside, fabulous scenery and wildlife makes a holiday stay in the Isle of Thanet more than worthwhile. Don't forget your camera!

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