Kent, often referred to as the “Garden of England”, is renowned not just for its picturesque countryside but also its magnificent coastline. The beaches in Kent are a beautiful mix of sandy shores, chalky cliffs, and clear waters, offering perfect retreats for both residents and tourists. From the charming towns of Margate and Broadstairs to the historic harbours of Ramsgate and Folkestone, here’s a guide to the best beaches in Kent.

1. Margate Main Sands

Margate main sands during the day

Located in the heart of Margate, this beach is arguably one of Kent’s most famous. It boasts a long expanse of golden sand, which makes it popular for sunbathing and family outings. The Old Town adjacent to the beach offers quirky shops, art galleries, and a plethora of dining options. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Dreamland amusement park while you’re there, with its vintage rides and roller disco.

2. Minster Leas

Minster beach during the day 2023

A hidden gem on the Isle of Sheppey, Minster Leas is a serene spot offering views of both the sea and surrounding countryside. Its clean shores and gentle waters have earned it a Blue Flag status. For a touch of history, the nearby Minster Abbey is worth a visit.

3. Ramsgate Main Sands

Ramsgate boasts one of the largest marinas on the south coast and its main sands are just as impressive. This award-winning beach offers a stretch of golden sands, perfect for families, sunbathers, and water sports enthusiasts. The Ramsgate Royal Harbour and Marina nearby is a great place to watch boats or enjoy seafood delicacies.

4. Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Viking Bay Broadstairs

This horseshoe-shaped bay is a timeless beauty, surrounded by chalk cliffs and traditional beach huts. The sandy beach is perfect for building sandcastles and the bay’s shallow waters make it safe for swimming. Broadstairs itself is brimming with history, from the Dickens House Museum to Bleak House.

5. Folkestone Sunny Sands

Folkestone beach art

Located close to the harbour, Sunny Sands is Folkestone’s beloved beach. Its proximity to the town makes it a hub of activity during the summer months. It’s a great spot for paddling, sunbathing, and rock-pooling. The Folkestone Harbour Arm, with its art installations, food stalls, and panoramic views, is a must-visit.

6. Joss Bay, Broadstairs

For those keen on surfing, Joss Bay is the place to be. This sandy beach is renowned for its waves and offers surf lessons for beginners. The green backdrop and white cliffs create a picture-perfect setting.

7. Dungeness

While not your typical sandy beach, Dungeness offers a unique landscape. It’s a vast expanse of shingle, punctuated by fishing boats and the famous Dungeness Lighthouse. It’s an otherworldly experience walking amidst the sparse vegetation and wooden huts.

8. Botany Bay, Broadstairs

Named after its famous counterpart in Australia, Botany Bay is a sight to behold. With its towering white cliffs and chalk stacks, it’s an idyllic location for photography, fossil hunting, and even glimpsing seals on occasion.

9. St Mary’s Bay, Broadstairs

A quieter alternative to Viking Bay, St Mary’s Bay is a secluded spot ideal for a tranquil day at the beach. The steps leading down to the beach ensure it remains less crowded than its neighbours.

10. Whitstable Beach

While not in our initial list, no mention of Kent’s beaches is complete without Whitstable. It’s pebbly, but what draws crowds is its bohemian vibe, delicious oysters, and the annual Oyster Festival.

11. Walmer Beach, Deal

Located near the charming town of Deal, Walmer Beach offers a pebble shore that transforms into sand as the tide recedes. It’s perfect for a leisurely walk, especially with the Walmer Castle & Gardens close by. The promenade running parallel to the beach is lined with pastel-coloured houses, adding to the beach’s charm.

12. Greatstone Beach

A vast stretch of fine golden sand awaits visitors at Greatstone Beach. The beach is ideal for kite surfing, land yachting, and other wind-powered sports due to the flatness of the beach and the regular breezes. Its dunes provide a haven for local wildlife, making it a favourite among nature enthusiasts.

13. Herne Bay

With its Victorian charm, Herne Bay is a delightful mix of heritage and beach fun. The seafront gardens, the old-fashioned pier, and the colourful beach huts make it a postcard-perfect destination. Don’t miss out on the annual air show that lights up the skies above the bay.

14. Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs

Secluded and serene, Kingsgate Bay is surrounded by majestic white cliffs and sea caves waiting to be explored. It’s lesser-known than its Broadstairs counterparts, ensuring a peaceful escape from the more crowded beaches. The imposing Kingsgate Castle overlooking the bay adds a touch of drama to the landscape.

15. Littlestone-on-Sea

A peaceful sandy beach located between Greatstone and St Mary’s Bay, Littlestone-on-Sea is an excellent spot for windsurfing, kite surfing, and sailboarding. The beach’s gentle gradient and the soft sands make it suitable for families, and the nearby Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway adds a touch of nostalgia.

16. Dover Beach

Though often overshadowed by the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Beach is a mixture of pebble and sand. It offers spectacular views of Dover Castle and the bustling port. It’s also a great starting point for coastal walks to explore the famous cliffs.

17. Westbrook Bay, Margate

Adjacent to Margate Main Sands, Westbrook Bay offers a slightly quieter experience. The beach is sandy and safe, flanked by wooden groynes. It’s popular among windsurfers and kite surfers, and the promenade is perfect for those leisurely strolls with views of the sea.

18. Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate

A nature reserve and an internationally important site for migrating birds, Pegwell Bay combines natural beauty with rich biodiversity. The bay offers a vast expanse of mudflats and salt marshes, making it a haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. The nearby Viking Ship, ‘Hugin’, serves as a reminder of Ramsgate’s historic connections.

19. Palm Bay, Margate

Palm bay beach in Margate during the day in 2023

Situated between Margate and Broadstairs, Palm Bay offers a long stretch of sandy coastline. Characterised by its grassy cliffs and the occasional palm tree – hence the name – it’s an excellent location for picnics and family gatherings. The beach also boasts a café, where you can enjoy refreshments with a sea view.

20. Tankerton Beach, Whitstable

Tankerton beach during the day
Tankerton beach at night

A stone’s throw away from Whitstable, Tankerton Beach is known for its colourful wooden beach huts and ‘The Street’ – a natural strip of shingle that stretches into the sea during low tide. Walking along this unique feature, with water on both sides, feels like stepping into another world. The grassy slopes behind the beach provide the perfect vantage point for panoramic views.

21. Leysdown-on-Sea

Located on the eastern tip of the Isle of Sheppey, Leysdown-on-Sea is a traditional seaside resort known for its award-winning sandy beach. It’s a favourite among families, offering safe paddling waters and a bustling promenade with arcades and eateries. The nearby Shellness Beach is a more secluded spot, famous for its collection of shells.

22. Stone Bay, Broadstairs

Tucked away from the busier Viking Bay, Stone Bay offers a more secluded experience with its golden sands and chalk cliffs. The beach is divided by wooden groynes, creating intimate bays where visitors can relax and enjoy the sun. It’s an excellent spot for those looking to escape the summer crowds.

23. Sandgate Beach, Folkestone

This pebble beach stretches from Folkestone to Hythe, offering stunning views of the English Channel. The beach’s backdrop is the charming Sandgate Village, with its antique shops, pubs, and cafes. The promenade, lined with Victorian and Edwardian buildings, is perfect for a leisurely stroll.

24. Deal Beach

A mixture of pebble and sand, Deal Beach is flanked by a historic pier that’s a magnet for anglers. With its unique fishing boats and maritime charm, the beach has inspired many artists over the years. The Deal Castle, a coastal artillery fortress, is a short walk away and offers a glimpse into the area’s rich history.

In Summation

From the buzzing atmosphere of popular towns to the serenity of secluded coves, Kent’s coastline encapsulates the very essence of a British seaside experience. These beaches offer not just relaxation and recreation but also a journey through history and nature. Every season brings a new facet of beauty, making Kent’s beaches worth revisiting time and again. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day out, a tranquil retreat, or a cultural exploration, Kent’s shores are waiting to be discovered.