Just a short drive from London and the surrounding suburbs you will find the fishing and seaside town of Ramsgate. Home to the only Royal Harbour in the UK, the coastal town offers an array of bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as stunning architecture and views across the marina.
In the height of summer you will find the town packed with tourists looking to spend time on the award winning sandy beaches and take in the chalk cliff coastline.
At the time of my visit, in June, many of the bars and restaurants were offering takeaway service only. Undeterred, eager beach goers flocked here and the surrounding areas looking to take advantage of glorious weather.
It was here that I started a 10 mile coastal route that would take me to Botany Bay and back. The gentle path is a hike that links the three historic coastal towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. So, if you wanted to head out one way, you could walk the whole route to Margate (which is just under 10 miles itself) and return on public transport. On this particular visit, I chose a route that would see me come back on myself to my starting point.
Heading out early on a sunny Saturday morning, I was rewarded with bright blue skies, warm weather and a jammy parking spot right on the marina.
I had checked the tide times prior to arrival to plan out my route and with my trusted backpack and walking boots I set off along the promenade at beach level. If you find yourself following the route during high tide, there is the option to walk along the cliff top path. However on this beautiful day, I remained alongside the beach with the chalky cliff views for 95 percent of the hike.
Dumpton Gap was on of the first significant sights to highlight on route. If you walk along the shore during low tide you will find wide stretches of beaches with rock pools and cliffs as a back drop.
Continue following the path in a northernly direction and you will reach the sandy cove of Viking Bay, the most popular traditional beach in Broadstairs. The bay offers everything you would expect from a classic seaside resort including a small pier, promenade and changing huts. The beach was previously awarded a blue flag and in the summer can be one of the busiest beaches in the area, with lifeguards and excellent facilities from the town.
During my visit I was happy to discover the ice cream shops and even the toilets had re-opened, allowing me to plan a pit stop on my return journey.
From here I continued on a little to Stone Bay, another glorious stretch of beach. At high tide, I’m told that this area almost completely disappears, so its worth checking the tides before venturing further here.
Beyond the bay, with the tide not at it lowest point, I had to take a detour away from beach level. Here the path continues along Cliff Promenade, where you will find some of the most spectacular houses in a private estate, with sea views. The path clearly marked as a byway, so I had no worries about the change of view before reaching North Foreland Lighthouse.
Here I continued along the road for a short while, until I reached my turning point of Kingsgate Bay, a short distance from Botany Bay beach.
I had timed the hike just right and had arrived at the bay at low tide. The beach is best known for its sea caves, rock pools and cliff arch. During high tide the beach can be cut off on both ends, so I was extremely pleased to see that the low tide allowed me, not only to explore the rocky pools, but also walk through the arch itself.
If you do find yourself visiting during low tide, ensure that you have appropriate foot wear. Naturally the rocky service can be slippery with algae and sea water, so flip flops are not advised! I had removed my walking boots on the beach, to quickly put them back on around the caves and pools.
Time it right and you will be sure to get enjoy some beautiful scenery and walk through the arch too! If not, simply enjoy the view from above at high tide – you will not be disappointed.
From this point, I started my return journey to Ramsgate. And as the tide had become at it’s lowest point of the day, It allowed me to stay at sea level for the majority of the hike back. I removed the walking boots, socks and even packed away the flip flops, opting for a leisurely stroll back along the surf.
As it was approaching mid day, on an extremely warm day, the coolness of the sea was bliss. I spent time enjoying the view, taking a copious number of pictures and effortlessly topping up my tan. A quick stop off in Viking Bay was had for ice cream and before I knew it I was back in Ramsgate, following the surf until I hit the marina wall.
During my visit, it was clear to see that the whole coastal area was loved by many. From locals running and walking their dogs, to families with children enjoying the glorious beaches.
I’m sure to return to complete this path again soon, covering the whole route to Margate and I would thoroughly recommend it to eager walkers and hikers.
Just one word of advice, you must, must, must check the tide times if you want to enjoy the path at beach level. Don’t get caught out!