*This post is sponsored by the Ramsgate Tunnels/Visit Thanet who provided us with complimentary access to the tunnels. All opinions and views are our own
Kent has attracted many visitors over the years. I made the most of my trip to Ramsgate, packing in quite a few activities, and I was very lucky that the sun shone the whole time.
Ramsgate is home to a gorgeous harbour and marina. The harbour was bestowed Royal status by King George IV, making it the only Royal harbour in the UK – with Ramsgate since being a favourable destination of Queen Victoria. Over the weekend, we could really see why…
As we left Ramsgate station to walk toward our hotel at the coast, we walked down a long main road, and among local residences. After 10 minutes we reached the High St. Admittedly, parts of the High St were a little tired, and seemed run down, but it didn’t take long at all to be taken in by the town’s charm.
Once we reached the hills, cliffs, and old stone paths, with black iron-wrought railings, we really enjoyed the surroundings. The sunshine on the late Georgian and Victorian properties was glorious.
Shortly after arriving, we took a short walk on the lovely sandy beach and had a hot dog and ice cream cone with a flake. We then rushed to the Ramsgate Tunnels… You might wonder why we would leave the afternoon sunshine to underground tunnels, however, this was well worth braving the chilly, dark tour…
The Ramsgate Tunnels, opened up to provide tours in 2014, and it is wonderful that they did. Our tour guide was Max, who told the history and stories of the tunnels wonderfully, with such clarity, knowledge, and care. Max explained the history in 2 main parts. The first part covered the railway history of the tunnels. This was fascinating in itself.
Railways were first introduced to Ramsgate in the mid-1800s, and at one point there were over 300 rail companies in Britain, with 2 stations in Ramsgate, and 3 in Margate! This set the scene for the second part of Max’s presentation… The tunnels soon became a key component of the Ramsgate peoples’ survival of World War II. At first, the people of Ramsgate were reluctant to adopt the strategy of going underground to the tunnels, however, when Ramsgate became the first city to be Blitzed (- by 500 bombs!) everything changed… People spent more and more time there, and it became a city under the city. If you are ever in Ramsgate, you must take this tour if you can. The history of the engineering, politics, the bravery, and perseverance of the people, is all outlined in the tour and will leave you feeling moved and educated.
Next, we took the short walk back to the hotel to get changed for dinner. Our reservation was at the Royal Harbour Brasserie, located at the end of the East Pier of Ramsgate Seafront. The panoramic views looking out to sea and back towards the town were just incredible. The prawns, oysters, and scallops were delicious and the cocktails really hit the spot.
Day Number two began with breakfast at Townleys, adjacent to Albion House followed by a morning walk along the Viking Coastal Trail to the Italianate Glasshouse (closed until spring.) The Italianate Glass House comes highly recommended as a place to enjoy a cream tea in the sunshine. Something to look forward to next time we are in town!
Walking along the Viking Coastal Trail to King George VI Memorial Park was a refreshing start to the morning as it was a sunny February day due to an English heat wave.
Next, we walked down to see the famous Royal Harbour and lighthouse before catching the 43 bus to Pegwell Bay. It’s important to note that this bus doesn’t run very frequently and we were told by a local not to pay much attention to the timetable. We knew from experience that the bus does not come on time!
No English getaway is complete without an afternoon tea. You will find Corby’s tea room steps away from the marina. This old-fashioned tea room is a family run business located on York Street.
The historic Addington Street was once the high street of Ramsgate’s west cliff, and is now home to eclectic shops and the “music and art scene.”
On the way back to the station for our journey home, we stopped into Shakey Shakey Fish Bar for a takeaway cod and chips. Not taking their signs at face value, the fish and chips were CLEARLY fresh. The taste was absolutely delicious. Of course, there was a little wait time, given everything was cooked fresh.
Corby’s Tea Rooms
Royal Victoria Pavilion
Queen Charlotte Pub for live music
Royal Ramsgate Marina
Ramsgate Maritime Museum
West Pier Lighthouse
St. Augustine and Pugin
Archive Homestore & Kitchen
Viking Coastal Trail
The Contra Trail (Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay)
Sea It All (Ramsgate to Broadstairs, five-mile round-trip)
Ramsgate Town Rounders (just over a mile)