Why not use your accommodation as a base to explore some historic and diverse destinations nearby? Ramsgate is a gateway to some Kentish gems, London is just a short train ride away, and it’s easy to catch a ferry or the Eurotunnel over to the continent.
DOVERS FAMOUS WHITE CLIFFS
Dover is your best bet for a ferry to the continent. P&O Ferries and SeaFrance regularly leave for Calais, reaching their destination in roughly an hour and a quarter, making the experience a breeze.
Before hopping on the ferry, you could take some time exploring Dover. You may want to visit the magnificent 12th century Dover Castle, created by Henry II to entertain distinguished guests and latterly, in the castle’s secret Wartime Tunnels during World War II, where Operation Dynamo was masterminded.
Or maybe you’d like to take a brisk walk atop the iconic white cliffs, the symbol of Britain’s wartime resistance.
Disembark in Calais and you arrive in a place renowned for gastronomic excellence. Your best destination for eateries is Toques d’Opale, a collection of dining options just 10 minutes from the town.
Recommended restaurants here are Le Sole Meunière, L’Histoire Ancienne and Au Calice. Expect to see traditional French fare and delectable seafood on the menu.
Alternatively, you could dine al fresco on Calais’ powder-soft sandy beach. And off the beaten track, in the nearby fishing villages of Andresselles and Wissant, you’re bound to find a spot to enjoy a picnic.
An alternative to Calais is Dunkirk, just two hours’ ferry ride from Dover with Norfolk Line. Here, visit the Musée des Beaux Arts, well known for its Flemish, Italian and French paintings, or discover Dunkirk’s maritime past in the Harbour Museum. And its famous belfries have earned the town the status of a World Heritage site.
A little closer to home – just half-an-hour’s drive in fact – you’ll come across historic Canterbury.
Dominating the city’s skyline is Canterbury Cathedral, one of the most spectacular in all of Europe and, notoriously, the place of Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170. The cathedral, along with St. Martins’s Church and St. Augustine’s Abbey, has been proudly designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Roman museum is full of historic artefacts and West Gate Towers, a medieval gatehouse, offers panoramic views over the city.
For something altogether more “now”, the King’s Mile, which lies in the footsteps of the Cathedral, makes a great place to hang out. Boutiques jostle with cafés and restaurants here – the ideal environment to give your credit card a serious work out.
A trip out to Sandwich, the best preserved medieval town in Great Britain, makes for another enjoyable excursion.
Catch the Sandwich River Bus and spend a peaceful morning drifting down the River Stour, enjoying your verdant surroundings and glimpsing the medieval architecture through the foliage.
Wandering the town’s cobbled streets, popping into its excellent pubs, restaurants and boutiques en route is a great way to while away the afternoon.
London is just an hour-and-a-quarter’s train ride from Ramsgate station, so the vibrant atmosphere of the nation’s capital is within easy reach.
There is a wealth of things to do in London. You could lunch in the courtyard of Somerset House before taking in the Post-Impressionist masterpieces at the Courtauld Gallery, where works by Van Gogh battle for wall space with those by Cezanne, Gauguin and Manet.
Or take a stroll down the South Bank, watching the street entertainers strut their stuff, before taking a ride on London’s popular tourist attraction, the London Eye.
And browsing the capital’s markets is great fun. Borough Market sells outstanding food, you can pick up great artwork at Spitalfields Market, whereas at Camden Market quirky fashion items are all the rage.
Then, of course, there are the shops. Harrods, Hamleys, Selfridges, Nike Town. The list goes on and on…