Looking along harbour arm with cars parked, outside seating and boats in the harbour with tide up. Bright blue sky. Black railings and red handrail to steps at edge of harbour arm
Margate Harbour Arm
Looking through yachts and boats moored in Ramsgate harbour reflecting onto the blue water. Bright blue sky
Ramsgate Royal Harbour

Cinque Port ‘Limbs’ Margate and Ramsgate

You may have heard or seen the signs saying ‘Cinque Port’, but do you know what they are?

The Confederation of the Cinque Ports, believed to date back over 1000 years, was created of five ‘head ports’, busy fishing and trade centres - Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. These towns provided ships and men for the crown to protect them and the country from attack.

Over the years the number of towns grew to include what are known as ‘Limbs’ - Deal, Faversham, Folkestone, Lydd, Margate, Ramsgate and Tenterden plus Rye and Winchelsea, which became Head Ports.

Today the Confederation is made up of seven head ports and seven limbs and still plays an active part in the ceremonial affairs of state.

Past ‘Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports’ or ‘Keepers of the Coast’ as originally called have included the 1st Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The official residence of the Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports is Walmer Castle, near Deal. The current Lord Warden is Admiral Lord Boyce

To learn more about the Cinque Ports visit https://cinqueports.org/

Margate - The original seaside

Margate became a limb of the Cinque Port of Dover in 1229 yet it did not have a harbour until 1320. The Mayor of Margate is a Baron of the Cinque Ports. This means they carry the canopy covering the Sovereign whilst they are anointed and crowned, for which in 1953 the then Mayor of Margate, did for Queen Elizabeth II Coronation  

  • The town expanded from the 1730s onwards with a passion for sea bathing and visitors from London
  • Home to the internationally recognised Turner Contemporary gallery located on the site where JMW Turner lived with his landlady and companion Mrs Booth.
  • Dreamland, original called ‘Hall by the Sea’, is located just off the seafront and reopened in 2015
  • Underground wonders Margate Caves and Shell Grotto, can be found here
  • TS Eliot composed the key lines of ‘The Waste Land’ poem sat at the Nayland Rock shelter 

Ramsgate - Royal Harbour, Regency Architecture

Ramsgate became associated with ‘head port’ Sandwich in about 1353

  • The town grew out of a small fishing village where still today fishing boats can be found in the harbour
  • Ramsgate is the only Royal harbour in the country, bestowed on it in 1821 by King George IV
  • St Augustine, the first archbishop of canterbury who brought Christianity to Britain landed near Ramsgate in AD596
  • Gothic Architect Augustus Pugin created his home ‘The Grange’ and church ‘St Augustine’s’ in the town. Other buildings around the town are linked to him and his family
  • Princess Victoria holidayed in the town