Broadstairs

Broadstairs is brim-full of nostalgic, old-world, seaside charm. Sandy bays meet surf schools. Fishermen's cottages meet Charles Dickens connections. Retro ice-cream parlours meet chic shops. Relaxed and unspoilt, this is the perfect place for chilled-out, family-friendly fun.

Broadstairs boasts an impressive seven sand-filled beaches and bays. Head to Joss Bay to learn to surf, or rural Botany Bay  to saunter amid towering chalk stacks. At the town's main beach, Viking Bay, discover children's rides, beach huts, Kent Surf School, a harbour and cliff-top promenade.

The town has a wealth of inviting cafes, restaurants and bars - two 1950's ice-cream parlours Morelli's and Chiappini's provide flavourful scoops of nostalgia too. In the High Street, historic red-brick and flint-fronted buildings are dotted between a rich stock of independent shops. Look out for galleries including New Kent, Little Art Gallery and Broadstairs Gallery

Broadstairs was Charles Dickens' favourite holiday spot. Explore a wealth of Dickens memorabilia and prints at the Dickens House Museum - also the former home of Mary Pearson Strong, who inspired the character Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. You can also visit Bleak House, an imposing, cliff-top building where Dickens holidayed in the 1850s and '60s, and wrote David Copperfield. Cliff-top paths link beautiful bays, just inland St Peter's village stages award-winning heritage tours, while the Crampton Tower Museum  provides an intriguing insight into Victorian engineering. After all that, kick-back and enjoy a free afternoon concert at the bandstand.

Each June, Broadstairs' week-long Dickens Festival overflows with costumed characters, talks, plays and beach outings. In mid-August, the funky Broadstairs Folk Week brings music sessions to pubs, gardens and beaches. Broadstairs Water Gala is a family-friendly fiesta of sandcastle-building, teddy bears picnicking and fireworks too. While in October, the three-day Broadstairs Food Festival is an irresistible celebration of locally-produced, fine food and drink.

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