I have been visiting the seaside town of Deal on family holidays since I was a little girl. Now that I live in East Kent myself, Deal is always top on the list of places to visit whenever we have a free weekend. Whether it is a brisk walk along the pier, a wander around the antique shops or fish and chips on the beach; there is always so much to discover and see in this genteel coastal town. Here are some of my favourite things to do.
There is no better place to start than a walk along the pebbled beach. Its promenade stretches from Sandwich Bay all the way along to Walmer. If you have the time then this is a lovely walk or bike ride (you can hire bikes from Deal station) I like to take a slow walk and pick up a take-away coffee from Hut 55 on my way. This route is around three miles long and passes some of Deal’s historical landmarks such as the Time Ball Tower, Deal Castle and Walmer Lifeboat Station. It also provides a pretty view of the fishing boats, all lined up on the beach waiting to be taken out to sea for their next catch. The entrance to Deal pier is also along this route. I have a bit of a soft spot for this pier, it’s not as pretty as Brighton or Eastbourne but I love it’s 1950’s brutalist architecture and it offers great views across to the Goodwin Sands and France.
Just back from the seafront is arguably one of the prettiest roads in Kent. Middle Street is a picturesque road lined with quaint Georgian cottages. If you look carefully you will spot little cobbled lanes leading off the main street to muse houses and courtyard gardens. It is no wonder that this was made Kent’s first Conservation area in the 1960’s. Incidentally, there is a very good fish and chip shop along this road; it is only a stone’s throw from the beach so if the weather is fine you can enjoy a takeaway chip butty and a mug of tea looking out to sea.
There is a vast array of small independent stores to the North of the High street. I love wandering around this part of town discovering new antique shops and coffee houses. The Hoxton Store sells everything you need for the home from faux plants to plate racks. The store is beautifully curated and the owner often travels across the channel to France and further afield to find bespoke pieces. A little further down the road (and opposite the Town Hall) is Dunlin & Diver which sells the works of local Artists; everything from beautiful impasto seascapes to posters and textiles.
If you are visiting on a Saturday pick up a coffee and pastry from the No Name Shop (a lovely French delicatessen selling a selection of cheeses, bread and olives) and take a wander around the Union Road Market. It is small but perfectly formed with goods from local bakers, florists and antique traders. The Lane Café makes for the perfect pit stop for some lunch or visit the Pop Up Cafe for a coffee hit. If you are in need of something a little more hearty then follow the crowds in the Summer months to the Kings Head on Beech Street. You can sit outside with a view of the sea and admire their impressive hanging basket display! The pub has a couple of rooms if you are looking to stop over. Alternatively, soak up the Georgian charm of Alfred Square, just of Middle Street, and fill the lovely Blue Skies house with family and friends. Alternatively stay at the stylish Rose Hotel with eight beautifully decorated rooms, a bar and delicious food this hotel is full of character and charm.
If you want to venture a little further afield then Walmer Castle (once a Tudor fortress) and its beautiful grounds are just down the coast. A short walk from here will lead you to Kingsdown; a quaint village with its pretty sea fronted cottages (recently featured alongside Deal in the ITV drama ‘Liar’). Kingsdown is also home to a renowned campsite too so if you prefer a night under canvas then this is a good spot to stay. While you are there why not visit the Zetland Arms pub. Positioned right on the beach, it is the perfect location to watch the sunset with a pint.
This is just a little taster of what Deal and its surrounding area has to offer. There is so much to discover in this pretty town and it’s the perfect destination for a slow weekend.