While daytrippers may also be flocking to the neighbouring town of Margate, Broadstairs retains the traditional appeal that first attracted the town’s most famous resident, Charles Dickens, back in 1839 – an era which saw wealthy Victorians, including Princess Victoria (who stayed at Pierremont Hall) holidaying away from the London’s smog.
Originally called Main Bay, the name was changed to in 1949 when the Danish government launched an ambitious scheme to commemorate the AD449 Viking invasion of Britain. They constructed an authentic Gokstad Viking ship named Hugin and sailed it from Denmark to Broadstairs.
In the 1500s, Broadstairs was originally called Bradstowe which meant meaning “broad place”. The town was famed for its shipbuilding, and fast became a smuggler’s paradise for imports of high-tax goods such as tobacco and spirits that locals in nearby St Peter’s would hide in a maze of underground tunnels and caves.
If you enjoy a more legal tender of spirits, along with the many pubs in Broadstairs, you’ll also find beach-side cocktails at the Furnicular café on the beach, as well as the increasingly popular Jetty restaurant, which serves locally-sourced food – both serving takeaways if you don’t want to sit in. Just watch out for the seagulls!
Families and daytrippers are always welcome to bring a beach picnic (and BBQs after 6pm) but there’s no shortage of great food by the sea.
For ice creams, baguettes, burgers, and chips – as well as drinks and coffee, the Viking Bay Café can be found at the centre of the beach.
Takeaway drinks are also available from the Tartar Frigate pub and cones of a mouth-watering array of takeaway freshly fried seafood and frites are available from Flotsam and Jetsam, as well as a more traditional fish and chip shop.
Overlooking Viking Bay is the renowned Morelli’s serving freshly-made ice cream as well as hot drinks and a variety of pastries and cakes.
Away from the beach and just as you exit the lifts, you’ll find Broadstairs’ Bandstand
– a central hub for locals and holidaymakers serving Jersey ice creams, coffees and a selection of hot and cold foods to the sound of great music from the numerous acts that perform daily throughout the summer months.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome on the beaches and Broadstairs is a dog-friendly town, but during the summer months from 1st May through to 30th September, no dogs are allowed on Viking Bay between 10am and 6pm.
Parking: Parking can be very busy in the summer months and Broadstairs boasts beaches accessible by train. However, there is street parking and three payable car parks are within easy reach of the beach. See here for further parking information
Toilets: There are toilet facilities at Viking Bay, as well as a small shower situated under the steps by the restrooms.