Charming Seaside Retreat: 10 Best Things To Do In Broadstairs, UK

best things to do in broadstairs uk
Catherine
Catherine
Updated

Many tiny coastal towns dot the beautiful British shorelines, but Broadstairs, UK possesses a unique character. Its timeless appeal is a big draw for many travelers searching for a quiet holiday getaway. A seafront resort on the Isle of Thanet, Broadstairs is 137 kilometers (85 miles) east of London and boasts seven sandy bays, a mild climate, a cheerful air, and the endearing spirit of Charles Dickens. Here’s a list of the 10 best things to do in Broadstairs, UK.

1. Love for the English writer overflows at Dickens House Museum

Dickens House Broadstairs
Source: Photo by user Tony Hisgett used under CC BY 2.0

Dickens House Museum celebrates famous writer Charles Dickens’ long association with Broadstairs. The cottage, where the museum resides, is the inspiration for the home of character Betsey Trotwood in Dickens’ acclaimed book ‘David Copperfield’. Tourists can explore the house and discover some personal belongings of the writer, like letters he wrote about Broadstairs, his writing box and mahogany sideboard, and early editions of several of his novels. Dickens House Museum is a must-see for any admirer of Charles Dickens’ literature.

Dickens House Museum

Address: 2 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs CT10 1QS, UK

Website: Dickens House Museum

2. Anything but grim: Bleak House is pure Dickens delights!

Bleak House and Viking Bay beach and buildings at Broadstairs Kent England
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Acabashi used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Originally called Fort House, Bleak House was the home to a local fort captain. The coastal castle guarded Broadstairs in the 1800s, during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1837, Charles Dickens resided in the imposing structure and wrote several of his classic works, such as ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and 'David Copperfield’. Rumor has it that Fort House was dubbed Bleak House when it was allegedly reported that this was the manor Dickens was referring to in his novel 'Bleak House’. Bleak House today offers tours and exciting exhibits. Check out The Smuggling Museum in Bleak House’s cellar; there are displays of artifacts from an 1800s shipwreck discovered during a diving expedition.

Bleak House

Address: Fort Rd, Broadstairs CT10 1EY, UK

Website: Bleak House

3. Die-hard Dickens fans, head to the annual Dickens Festival!

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Charles Dickens not only lived in Broadstiars for a time, but he continued to visit the town from 1837 to 1859. Obviously the town held a special place in his heart. The people of Broadstairs are thrilled by that fact, and as a thank you hold the Dickens Festival every year. During the third week of June, Broadstairs’ citizens celebrate the town’s most famous visitor with Dickens fairs, performances, and demonstrations of everyday Victorian-era life. Highlights of the Dickens Festival include townspeople in impeccably-dressed Victorian costumes, an authentic Victorian banquet, and a lively Dickensian beach party!

Dickens Festival

Address: Victoria Parade, Broadstairs Kent, CT10 1QS, UK

Website: Dickens Festival

4. Viking Bay: Broadstairs' premiere spot for beach fun

Viking Bay, Broadstairs (geograph 3145590)
Source: Photo by user Philip Halling used under CC BY-SA 2.0

With its trademark horse-shoe shaped sandy shore, Viking Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Broadstairs. Drawing thousands, Viking Bay is a sea of beachcombers and sandcastle-builders every year. Viking Bay provides a tidal pool, kid’s rides, and water sports rental gear. There’s also a family-owned surf school available, with 24 years of experience. Tourists can further soak up the sun strolling the scenic clifftop promenade and boardwalk, lined with many quaint cafes and lovely boutique shops. Viking Bay is truly the only place to be during Broadstairs’ summer months.

Viking Bay

Address: Victoria Parade, Broadstairs CT10 1NB, UK

Website: Viking Bay

5. Explore a top engineer's life's work at Crampton Tower Museum

Crampton Tower 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Josh Tilley used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Crampton Tower Museum is dedicated to showcasing the accomplishments of Victorian engineer Thomas Russell Crampton. Even though Crampton was the first to successfully lay an efficient telegraph cable under the English Channel, he is chiefly remembered as a designer of railways and locomotives. Crampton Tower Museum displays a model train exhibit, examples of Crampton’s working drawings and models, and copies of his patents. But the star of the Crampton Tower Museum is a 24 meter (79 foot) high crenelated flint water tower, that visitors can climb to see spectacular views that stretch across Broadstairs to the sea.

Crampton Tower Museum

Address: The Broadway, Broadstairs CT10 2AB, UK

Website: Crampton Tower Museum

6. Spend an afternoon in 1800s England at St. Peter's Village Tour

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Meet costumed people from past centuries and hear about workhouse conditions during the Victorian-era at St. Peter’s Village Tour. Designed to bring Broadstairs’ past alive, the award-winning guided adventure offers an immersive experience into a by-gone age. St. Peter’s Village Tour features various historical characters entertaining guests with anecdotes and stories depicting life in Victorian times. See risqué ladies locked in the stockade, naughty tight-rope dancers, rat catchers, and smugglers; all part of life in England during the 1800s. The history and attention to detail is visible at St. Peter’s Village Tour.

St. Peter's Village Tour

Address: Church St, Broadstairs CT10 2TR, UK

Website: St. Peter’s Village Tour

7. Botany Bay: unspoiled beach gem!

Botany-bay-kent-east
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Le Deluge used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Serene, sandy, and secluded is only the beginning of this magical beach called Botany Bay. With dramatic chalk cliffs and stacks, Botany Bay is a must-see for tourists exploring Broadstairs’ coast. Botany Bay is also a great spot to hunt for fossils and explore rock pools. Botany Bay has been bestowed with the Blue Flag Award, an honor that reflects a beach or marina’s high environmental and quality standards. While visiting Botany Bay, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Smugglers Cave, caverns used by thieves to stash their contraband in the 1700s! With only steps or a very steep slope to manage, Botany Bay can be a challenge to access, but it is well worth the effort.

Botany Bay

Address: Botany Rd, Broadstairs CT10 3LG, UK

Website: Botany Bay

8. Morelli's: sweet treasure on the shores of Broadstairs!

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Morelli’s goes back five generations, and began with ice cream strapped to the back of a bicycle in 1907. The first Morelli’s ice cream parlor opened in Broadstairs in 1932. So immense was Morelli’s popularity, it now has a concession stand in Harrods famous food halls and has several international locations. The atmosphere at Broadstairs’ Morelli’s is festive with a 1950s flair. Enjoy a serving of Amore with your sweetheart, or, if you’re not feeling generous, devour a giant banana boat-size sundae on your own. All desserts are topped with a delicious Morelli’s signature cookie. Heavenly bliss!

Insider tip: sample the pistachio ice cream; the nuts are sourced from Sicily!

Morelli's

Address: 14 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs CT10 1QS, UK

Website: Morelli’s

9. Broadstairs' big town bash: Folk Week!

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The annual Broadstairs Folk Week is a celebration that brings the whole town of Broadstairs together with a wide array of music festivals, workshops, arts and craft fairs, and so much more. Learn how to play the ukulele, craft your own dream-catcher, dance with abandon to your favorite band, or simply watch traditional Morris Dancers do their thing on the streets of Broadstairs. There is literally something for everyone at Broadstairs Folk Week.

Broadstairs Folk Week

Address: various locales throughout Broadstairs

Website: Broadstairs Folk Week

10. Best bike ride ever: Viking Coastal Trail!

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Viking Coastal Trail is a 51-kilometer (32-mile) inland loop on the Isle of Thanet that is great for road and mountain biking. No matter if you’re a novice or an experienced biking enthusiast, Viking Coastal Trail offers a moderate route with awesome scenic views and dazzling points of interest. Pass through pretty Kentish villages with ancient churches, and explore Minster Abbey, one of England’s oldest inhabited buildings founded in 670 AD. Rent a bike and view Broadstairs from a different perspective by taking the fabulous Viking Coastal Trail.

Viking Coastal Trail

Address: 98 Albion Rd, Broadstairs CT10 2UT, UK (bike hire: Addictive Bikes & SP Cycles)

Website: Viking Coastal Trail

Swept away by Broadstairs' nostalgic charm

Broadstairs, UK is a marvel of endless beauty and old-world grace. The quintessential British seaside town, Broadstairs offers visitors a peek into a place that in many ways appears untouched by time. Discover Broadstairs’ allure for yourself and uncover what true seaside living can do for the soul.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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As a child, Catherine's family took a trip to the World's Fair New Orleans and her mom asked what she wanted to see. She exclaimed, "Everything!" She's been working on that endeavor ever since.

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