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(1st September 2017)

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  London | Salisbury | Whitstable | Oxford | Hereford 
  Stratford-upon-Avon | Winchester | Hastings | Broadstairs | Deal / Sandwich | The Wedding 

After the night at my sister's and my farewell to my parents and brother, it was an early start on my twelfth day trip on my rail pass to Broadstairs, also along the Kent coast.  Broadstairs had always appealed to me but by now I had forgotten why.  It was a pleasant train ride through the countryside and once again I saw beautiful farms and sheep and fruit trees.  I arrived at Broadstairs around 9.15am and the first thing I noticed across from the train station was the Crampton Tower Museum.  I went over to look but it didn't appear to be open yet so I walked into town in search of the Information Centre which I found at the end of High Street, overlooking the sea.  High Street is full of interesting shops and buildings so don't rush if you find yourself walking in my footsteps.  And YAY, I did have some blue sky for a change!
  Broadstairs, Kent, England    

Map in hand, I started walking around aimlessly and saw Charles Dickens's house right behind me.  I knew that he had spent time here and now it was all about finding where else he'd been.  I remembered that Dickens lived and worked here and so it came flooding back as to why Broadstairs was high on my list.  I turned around the saw the beautiful Viking Bay, just coming to life with tourists.  They have lovely soft sand on the beaches here, unlike the pebbles I'd become accustomed to seeing.

By now my sightseeing radar was beginning to sag and my legs couldn't take that many more lengthy walks.  However, Broadstairs turned out to be such a lovely little town, filled with colorful flowers and cheerful people.  I went in search of a breakfast as I'd left too early that morning to have had something to eat.  I found The Buttery Cafe and had a small Full English Breakfast for about £3.80 ($5).  Yuck!  They gave me canned tomatoes instead of grilled ones.  The coffee was okay and the rest of the food was passable but I should perhaps have stayed in the busier areas.  Anyhow, I had great fun walking around and looking at the buildings and reading the signs of who lived where.

I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon just wandering around aimlessly and found the lovely Jubliee Clock Tower and the bandstand which were surrounded by pretty gardens.  I continued to walk in and around the narrow and winding streets and came across the Holy Trinity Church and decided to step inside.  I was greeted by a very friendly fellow who welcomed me in and told me a bit about the church, one being it's been around since about 1830.  There are lovely bas-relief framed images, stained glass windows, Romanesque columns and arches, and panels dipicting important saints.  There were any number of volunteers helping tidy up the church that day and I didn't want to interrupt their work, so I just scooted around as quietly and as unobtrusively as I could, snapped some photos and left spiritually fulfilled.

Walking towards the sea I passed so many adorable little houses, tiny and cute, scattered about such teeny roads that one car had to mount the sidewalk so another could pass.  No SUVs in sight.  I walked through York Gate and made my way towards Bleak House on the hill, where I would return later in the day for a delicious cream tea and to take the Dickens Study Tour and the Smugglers Museum below the house.  I wandered around the boardwalk and saw the bay from the east side, which by this time was abustle with people.  Unfortunately, there was the typical tacky seaside shops which put a damper on my visit, somewhat, but that changed when I came across the Little Art Gallery!  Do step inside and see the lovely art on the walls.

Cream tea at Bleak House.  Mmmmm.  I sat in their lovely gardens basking in the warmth of the sun and enjoyed a lovely scone with strawberry jam, a couple of fresh strawberries and a delicious pot of tea.  All very civilized.  The cream tea at Bleak House was £6.50 ($8.80).  They have rooms too and next time I visit I will try and get one!  Afterwards I toured the little Dickens study which is crammed full of memorabilia and is such fun.  I loved his desk which had a perfect view of the sea beyond.  I learned so much about this fascinating man and truly recommend this little tour that cost just £2 ($2.70).  It's an absolute must for Dickens fans!

Next it was to see some more smugglers' caves, and what a gorgeous tour this was!  Down narrow stairs beneath Bleak House and into another world, the 18th century.  This tour costs £4 ($5.40) and is well worth it.

After a lovely visit to a lovely seaside town, it was time to hit the tracks again and head back to London.  I made my way back up to the station but not before noticing this little plaque at the very pretty Albion Hotel.  I also spotted some fresh figs on display and another delightful store sign.  I highly recommend you visit Broadstairs sometime.

Holy Trinity Church - Nelson Place, Broadstairs CT10 1HQ
Tel: 01843 862921
Web: www.holytrinitybroadstairs.com
Email: holytrinity2009@live.co.uk

Bleak House - Fort Road, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 1EY
Tel: 01843 865 338
Web: www.bleakhousebroadstairs.co.uk/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bleakhousebroadstairs
Twitter: twitter.com/BleakHouse1900
It's here you can visit the Dickens Study and see the wonderful smugglers' caves museum before enjoying a delicious cream tea out on the patio.

Broadstairs Chamber of Commerce
Tel: 07925 185052
Web: www.broadstairschamber.org.uk

The Little Art Gallery - Unit 1, Eldon Place, CT10 1NA
Tel: 01843 600611
Web: www.thelittleartgallerybroadstairs.com
This is such a lovely little gallery and they also offer painting holidays!

E-mail:  travel2@live.com
or pettprojects@yahoo.com

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