Broadstairs / Day Trips / Exploration / Kent

Island Life: A Day by The Sea

While it may seem difficult to I often do forget that the UK is an island.  When I think of island life I think tropical weather, coconuts, mangoes, beaches…you get my point.  I guess it is the cosmopolitan nature of London and other big cities in England that is deceiving to the mind.

One thing however that always gives way to island life here are the many sea-side towns.  The most famous being Brighton.  I went to Brighton a few weeks ago with a friend from Canada (Jen) and I was completely underwhelmed.

I really liked walking through the independent shops and seeing the Royal Pavillion but overall there was a desperate look to the sea front.  Big chincy lights and uninteresting architecture and colouring.  Then weeks later I went to Broadstairs, which for me was quite the opposite.  I recognise we got better weather in Broadstairs but I think regardless I would feel the same.

We did the obligatory fish and chips but I feel like there is no need to go back.  On the pier is essentially a fun fair/carnival.  Games and rides galore.  You can gamble and drink as well.  It was fun, enjoyable even but I don’t see the huge draw to the area.  I know that Brighton has a thriving gay scene so I might try it again for their PRIDE but otherwise I don’t need to return.

More recently on a weekend in Kent I made a trip to Broadstairs with D and his parents.  I’ve been wanting to see the white cliffs of Dover for a while.  I have even been to Dover to see the castle but didn’t make it out to see the cliffs.  Dover isn’t exactly the nicest place so D suggested Broadstairs because it would be nicer and we’d get an up close and personal view of the cliffs, which are naturally occurring chalk.

Luckily we were gifted with the sun and a dry day considering the previous 2 or so months had been filled with rain.  Charles Dickens is said to have visited Broadstairs often so they have taken this theme and run with it.  There is a museum there, a restaurant called Copperfield’s, and streets named after him or characters in his books.  The Dickens connection while cool wasn’t the reason for going but was a nice bonus.

In comparison to Brighton, Broadstairs is the clear winner here.  I know it is not a competition and while I am technically a resident I am still a tourist in this country when I discover new places.  With my tourist hat on I would recommend the latter because it was a much better sea front.  There were no huge flashing lights emanating from a sad looking arcade, and the architecture was really pretty not garish.

Besides the stunning cliffs there are the cute beach huts.  Apparently very expensive to own but I’m not sure how much to rent.  Also there is real sand here rather than the pebbles in Brighton.  This coupled with generally less people make it a better choice for someone like me.  To be fair, and for the purposes of comparison I will do a separate post on Brighton and you make the choice.

PS. Today I am featured in a blog series called Expatriated which is written by the lovely Canadian Jay who blogs at From There to Here. Check out the post here.  The first picture in the post me taken in front of the white cliffs.

PPS.  I have also been chosen as Expat Blogs blog of the month!    That article went live today (1.08.12) so have a look at it here.  Thanks to Jen for taking the picture used there.


17 thoughts on “Island Life: A Day by The Sea

    • Same here. I knew to expect a nice country side, a very cosmopolitan city but learning about the seaside town and everything in between is what I want to showcase. I never knew the UK looked like what Cornwall does.

  1. How I love Brighton. The city is bubbling over with excitement and eclectic breeds, I love it. I’ve never been to Broadstairs, but I’ve heard of it. I wish I was in the UK now, so glad I found you!

    • Welcome Hannah. I had a peek at your blog and I see you just left the UK in June! I did like Brighton but on a match up it loses for me. But I will try again and maybe be converted.

  2. Wow! You’ve a lot of comments here! I like thelook of Broadstairs. I’ve been to Brighton once – in the winter – and as you can imagine it was quite devoid of both sunshine and people. I have never been back though as I imagine it to be a very busy place on a sunny day… and i’ve become so antisocial I chose to avoid that.

  3. I’ve always heard good things about Broadstairs and can’t wait to visit one day! Likewise, I’ve never really heard good things about Brighton and Margate was so bad that we didn’t even stop our car and carried on driving through.

    Congrats on being expat blog of the month!! Woohoo!

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