Sun’s out guns out on the Kent coast

It’s the weekend. It’s unseasonably warm. I’m British. There’s only one thing to do and that’s to head to the seaside. Obviously we’d already had an action packed morning and weren’t setting off until 2pm so had only a few hours’ window before the sun would be sinking from the sky – but keen to try somewhere new (rather than my British seaside default setting of Brighton) I headed to Viking Bay in Kent – a good (or should that be bad? – as I never quite understood that phrase when it comes to things taking longer than you’d hope) 2 hours’ drive away.

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Initially we made brilliant progress, however once we got off the motorway the satnav recalibrated itself and it appeared that Viking Bay was still well over an hour away… they’d been a big accident. Desperate to feel some sun on my skin it was time to abandon the initial plan and peel off to a stony beach. Still eager to try somewhere new however I rejected Whitstable in favour of Herne Bay – and was not disappointed. I think Herne Bay is probably what Whitstable was like before it was London-fied – a classic British seaside town.

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We walked along the promenade and went up (or should that be down?) the pier, which was just beginning to open up for the summer. A friendly local then pointed us in the direction of Makcari’s for the best fish and chips in town. The portions were enormous and delicious – although paying 25p per measly sachet of ketchup was rather annoying. But that aside we scoffed them on the beach and then tried to walk off the calorific content with another stroll this time up to the beautiful bright beach huts.

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After this we jumped back in the car and determined to see Viking Bay (apparently the first decent sandy beach along this stretch of English coast) before the sun went down. The accident was now cleared – although the westbound lane was still closed off by the police so it must have been some accident – so we whizzed to Viking Bay in around 20 minutes. It’s a lovely sandy beach reached by many many steps. Back up the top of the steps there are plenty of charming shops, cafes and restaurants, not to mention numerous Charles Dickens points of interest (he wrote David Copperfield here apparently). Unfortunately our Makcari’s fish was still sitting very heavily in our stomachs so we couldn’t face another meal. However we did have a lovely drink on a terrace overlooking the bay and then jumped back in the car at 9pm and headed home with the thought that we would return with kids in tow for a full day of food and fun at Viking Bay.

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