If you are looking to get away this spring and need inspiration, here are four reasons why you should consider the maritime resort of Ramsgate, situated on the east Kent coast, yet under 75 minutes by train from central London with Southeastern railway’s high-speed service.
It’s a place with natural beauty – think picturesque leafy squares, spectacular sea views and coastal nature reserves teeming with wildlife. Explore the town on a self-guided ‘Town Rounders – Regency, Royal and Riviera Walk’ or hire a bike and cycle part of the Viking Coastal Trail. This is one of the most attractive leisure cycling routes in Kent, much of which is along traffic-free promenades. Book on a guided canoe safari to see seals and wetland birds in their natural environment or for a more leisurely ride, enjoy a boat trip from the Royal Harbour. Discover more with Active Ramsgate’s raft of activities – https://www.ramsgatetown.org/activeramsgate
It’s a place with history – St. Augustine landed here in 597 AD to re-introduce Christianity to this part of Britain before he went on to become the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Visit his shrine in St. Augustine’s Church or the Celtic cross which marks his landing place.
Stroll along the waterfront and receive a warm welcome from the local cafe and restaurant owners. King George IV was so impressed by the hospitality he received from the town when he visited in 1821 that he decreed Ramsgate a ‘Royal Harbour’, a status unique in mainland Britain.
The town also welcomed some 80,000 soldiers safely back from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 as a result of Operation Dynamo. Sundowner, one of the ‘Little Ships’ that participated in the evacuation of soldiers, can be seen in Ramsgate Harbour opposite the Maritime Museum. From 18th May, ‘Little Ships’ will gather at the Harbour before departing for Dunkirk on 21st May as part of Operation Dynamo’s 80th anniversary commemorations. The Little Ships will be escorted by the Royal Navy and will return around noon on 25th May.
Don a hard hat and discover more of Ramsgate’s WWII history on a tour of Ramsgate Tunnels, a unique civilian wartime tunnel complex set in a Victorian railway tunnel which was home to over 60,000 Ramsgate residents during the darkest days of WWII.
It’s a place that inspires – Both Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-1852) and Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) found inspiration in Ramsgate. Be inspired yourself on a tour of The Grange, the home Augustus Pugin designed and built to live in on Ramsgate’s West Cliff or visit his personal church next door, St. Augustines. Pugin was a brilliant Victorian architect and designer, best known for designing the magnificent interiors, fixtures and fittings of the Houses of Parliament. He also had a huge influence on the architecture of Ramsgate as can be seen on ‘A Ramsgate Town Trail’, a self-guided walk from the East Cliff to the West Cliff.
Vincent Van Gogh, the world-renowned Dutch artist lived and worked in Spencer Square in 1876 while working as an English teacher at a boys’ school. A bust of Vincent Van Gogh, by award winning artist Anthony Padgett, can be seen in Spencer Square. Spend a leisurely hour or two admiring work by today’s local artists in the town’s independent galleries, or book yourself onto a day or weekend painting course and release your inner-creative.
It’s a place that’s happening – with its stunning waterfront cafes, bars and restaurants, Ramsgate has a real cosmopolitan vibe and there’s always something of interest to see or do. Relax over Michelin Bib Gourmand quality tapas at Arya, experience an intimate gig at bijou Ramsgate Music Hall and stay overnight in quality accommodation, waking to a spectacular Ramsgate sunrise and stunning sea views.
For further information on Ramsgate go to www.enjoyramsgate.co.uk.