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Jump on the fastest train at London St Pancras station and you can be in Ramsgate, a charming coastal town and resort in the heart of Kent in just over an hour. Boasting the spectacular Royal Harbour and Marina, incredible hilltop views and walks plus dozens of pubs overlooking the water primed for that perfect sunset pint accompanied with the catch of the day – this is why you should retreat to Ramsgate for your next dose of R&R…
Things to do in Ramsgate
1. Pegwell / Ramsgate Village
If you’re getting the train to Ramsgate for a day trip or brief overnight stay, we’d recommend you start your trip via Pegwell Village. This is around a 20 minute walk from Ramsgate station and means you can arrive into the main town via some stunning coastal walks and scenery rather than a mundane high street.
Pegwell Bay is home to two of the best clifftop bars we’ve encountered in England for quite some time. We started our weekend in Ramsgate by taking in lunch at the Sir Stanley Gray tavern in Pegwell Village, with a prime spot on the balcony. We indulged in fish and chips (some of the most delicious we’ve ever had) plus a huge pot of mussels, the likes of which we’ve never seen before outside of New Zealand. And as for the sea views….!
Next door to the Sir Stanley Gray pub is the Belle Vue Tavern, which has a beer garden directly overlooking the bay on top of a cliff with panoramic views of the coast. If only all coastal resorts had pubs with views as good as this!
Incidentally, nearby to Pegwell Bay, you can visit the Ramsgate Viking Ship ‘Hugin’, a huge replica of a viking ship where you can practice Norse code (probably).
2. Peter’s Fish and Chips
Fish and chips always taste better by the beach – fact (as long as you don’t let the seagulls get to them first). Peter’s Fish Factory is a Kent institution with branches in both Ramsgate and Margate. They are easy to find both due to their bright green branding and a very long queue coming out of the doors (always a good sign).
3. Ramsgate Main Sands and Western Undercliff Beach
Whilst most of Ramsgate seafront is taken up by the marina and industrial port, there are two small but perfectly formed beach areas for swimming or sunbathing. The easiest to access are Ramsgate Main Sands to the left of the harbour arm and Royal Victoria Pavilion Wetherspoons pub. There are several beachside attractions like children’s amusements and plenty of room to lay towels.
The other beach – Western Undercliff Beach is located towards Pegwell and requires about a 10 minute walk out of town, so unless you have a car, it is best to stick to Ramsgate Main Sands.
4. Ramsgate East Pier and Royal Harbour Brasserie
We walked the Ramsgate East Pier early one evening all the way to the end at dusk as the light was nice and we wanted to see all the fishing trawlers arrive back after a day’s fishing. There were also lots of local anglers casting their rods into the sea that night although they didn’t seem to be catching much.
As we got to the end of the Ramsgate East Pier, we discovered a huge bar terrace that had stunning views of the harbour but hadn’t advertised it’s entrance that well. We bravely walked up the dimly-lit, salty steps and walked into what must be one of Kent’s most quirky and idiosyncratic restaurant bars, The Royal Harbour Brasserie.
The views of the harbour and incoming fishing vessels was amazing and we got to see an incredible sunset over the Ramsgate harbour and lighthouse. We were going to stay for only one drink but ended up staying for three hours as the setting was so serene. The Royal Harbour Brasserie specialise in seafood and we overheard the couple next to us saying how good the oysters and prawns were.
5. Ramsgate Harbour and Yacht Marina
The best free activity in Ramsgate is to simply stroll around the harbour and marina at any time of day, looking at all the yachts and vessels (and possibly wondering how much some of them cost!). The harbour is also the location for most of the day trips and sea fishing excursions available in Ramsgate. There are a lot of nice bars and restaurants, plus museums and artist studios in the arches along the marina. The famed Sailor’s Church of Ramsgate can also be found in this area.
6. Walk to Broadstairs
We spent two days / one night in Ramsgate so on our second day, we walked along the coast to Broadstairs and then continued to Margate to get the train home. As the walk to Margate is quite long, we recommend doing the short 45 minute walk along the coast just to Broadstairs (which can be done entirely along the sandy beach at low tides) and then either getting the train home from Broadstairs or then walking back to Ramsgate. Read more about our Ramsgate to Margate coastal walk >
The walk to Broadstairs is flat and very scenic, with stunning white cliffs and the occasional beach hut. You’ll see lots of rockpools and fellow walkers on your way. Broadstairs as a beachside setting is simply stunning, one of the best resorts in Kent and a lovely place to spend an afternoon on the sandy beach or in one of hilltop eateries or bars.
7. Ramsgate Town Centre
Ramsgate town itself is nothing special – it is the usual mix of chain shops, independent stores and boarded up shops with the occasional local pub for local people. Indeed, Ramsgate is currently part of the Historic England Heritage Action Zone scheme to hopefully bring new life into the town centre and help transform the more run down elements.
8. Ramsgate Royal Parade
Ramsgate has lots of clifftop and hillside walks that provide nice views of the harbour and the Royal Parade is no exception. There are several bars and restaurants lining the parade here (from French to Italian via Thai food) and all have outdoor dining and alfresco views overlooking the port.
9. Ramsgate Wetherspoon’s Royal Victoria Pavilion
The Royal Victoria Pavilion has the biggest Wetherspoons beer garden in the UK and it directly overlooks the beach and harbour. We popped by one morning for a full English breakfast on the terrace after an early morning walk around the harbour – the prices are very cheap and the views are unbeatable.
If you aren’t from the UK, we can best describe Wetherspoons as a traditional pub chain that has hundreds of bars around the UK, some of which are nice and some of are which are …erm… a bit rough. This is definitely one of the better Wetherspoon branches, where pints of lager and ale start from around the £2 a pint range and the beer garden is right on the beach. Great if you are on a backpacker’s budget, but avoid if you want something a little special (it ain’t that!).
10. Ramsgate Micro Museum
Alas, this was closed when we visited in September (hopefully temporarily in lieu of temporary lockdown restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic) but it comes highly recommended and is billed as a personal curation of video games and computing recent history. This is number one on our list for when we return to Ramsgate so we do hope it reopens.
11. Corby’s Tea Rooms
We discovered Corby’s Tea Rooms as we could literally see it through our bedroom window (we stayed at the Ramsgate Travelodge in September 2020). A throwback to the more refined times, Corby’s Tea Rooms is an unashamedly old fashioned vintage tearoom just a stone’s throw from the main Ramsgate harbour. They specialise in high and afternoon tea and have all manner of hot snacks like jacket potatoes and quiche – if you are passing by, also check out their knitted afternoon tea in the window.
12. The Ramsgate Tunnels
A little walk along the coastal foreshore brings you to historic Ramsgate tunnels, a huge and cavernous subterranean world of underground tunnels that were built to hide people during the blitz in world war II. A marvel of engineering, the only way to visit these tunnels is via a guided tour. There are also a series of wartime reconstructions including an abandoned train station and an underground bunker. Book a Ramsgate Tunnels guided walk >
Hotels in Ramsgate
We stayed for one night at the Travelodge Ramsgate Seafront Hotel – a cheap and cheerful budget chain hotel located in the marina. We love it’s central location and affordable prices, but the rooms are very basic. We’ve stayed at this hotel twice in the past few years – our first stay had a view of the harbour, whilst our second stay had a view of the high street – so it’s pot luck whether you get a nice view or not!
Other highly rated accommodation options:
Albion House Ramsgate Hotel
Stylish hotel just a 5-minute walk from the beach with a restaurant and bar. Check out prices and availability for The Albion House hotel
Royal Harbour Hotel
Hotel comprising of three Georgian town houses dating back to 1799, located in Ramsgate’s historic garden crescent with harbour and sea views. Check out prices and availability for The Royal Harbour Hotel
Pegwell Bay Hotel
Comfortable hotel located in Pegwell with refurbished rooms and panoramic views of the ocean. Check out prices and availability for Pegwell Bay Hotel
Other blog posts you might like
- Things to do in Whitstable
- Top things to do in Margate, Kent
- Things to do in Tunbridge Wells – a local’s guide
- Things to do in Brighton – a perfect day trip
- Things to do in Hastings
- Things to do in Folkestone, Kent
- Visiting Margate on a ‘microgap’ with Visit England
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