New Year in Ramsgate, Kent January 2017

by Emma Bumpus on January 10, 2017

New Year celebrations kick off in Thanet as Careertraveller and family take to the active Ramsgate coast where handsome beaches and only Royal Harbour in the country present a playground of historical treasures.

Amidst the bustling eateries and harbour side shops adorned with festively welcoming decorations stands our fashionable water front haven The Oak Hotel, which strikingly tall and colourfully continental stands proud above the distinguished sea facing marina.

Maritime delights appear from our Superior Sea View room that smacks of coastal adventure within a spacious suite of a bedroom, whose crisp white sumptuous bed linen and debonair leather arm chairs make us want to relax and set sail! Essential Wi-Fi and Flat Screen TV please the little sailor and tick the boxes for all mod cons, with added bonus of in-room desk and en-suite bathroom, whose pristine power shower brings seafaring joy.

Tea and coffee making conveniences enhance our Harbour window outlook with portside sight of the Maritime Museum, which housed in an elegant 19th century Clock House is Ramsgate’s unique engineering masterpiece and Meridian site from which the town’s own Mean Time is 5 minutes 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich.

Below quayside rest famous floating exhibits Sundowner, the famous Dunkirk Little Ship that served both WW1 and WW2 and USN P22 United States Navy Gun Boat whose conspicuous American Flag reminds us of it’s roots steeped in Cold War history.

Starboard views of yachts and Royal Parade red brick Victorian arches lead the eye up to a rise of Georgian and Regency rooftops that beckon the Town Rounders Regency, Royal and Riviera Town Walk, an energetic trail of architecture, landmarks and cafes.

A harbour side coffee at the Ship Shape Café is a nautical boost, which cruises us past a trendy array of one-off restaurants, open art studio and eclectic Petticoat Lane Emporium, a vintage anchorage of antiques with old-fashioned tearoom.

Unexpected treasure awaits with the gothic inspired Sailors Church and Harbour Mission, a 19th century refuge which built in 1878 pays homage to the sailing smacks who fished outside Ramsgate including ‘smack boys ‘of Ramsgate. As the eye stretches out towards the West Pier lighthouse and challenging waters we reflect upon the lives of those rescued from the shipwrecks of Goodwin Sands and First World War and embrace our sheltered position, just 35 miles away from the French coast.

Our footpath continues with a steep climb up Jacobs Ladder, a historical staircase that transports us back to 1754 when carpenter Jacob Steed built the ladder in stone with wooden steps. Basking in the footsteps of smugglers once believed to have used them for the harbour, we soar new heights and applaud the prominent regency town houses that echo former residents Vincent Van Gogh and John Gibson Lockhart.

Amongst the stream of Blue Plaques and manicured town squares we inhale the cultural contrasts of Ramsgate with it’s 4 Gold Anchor Awarded Royal Harbour Marina and adjoining freight handling seaport.

From the West Cliff promenade we admire Ramsgate’s picturesque dock and turn into St Augustine’s Road where we enter the world of designer and architect Augustus Pugin whose former home The Grange and St Augustine’s Church honour his love of Ramsgate.

Built by Pugin himself we step into the flint church and admire the Altar of The Sacred Heart and North Cloister, which displays a long polychromed terracotta panel depicting the Stations of the Cross, designed and added by Flemish sculptor Alois De Beule in 1893. The striking Neo- Gothic Altar designed by Pugin’s son is a show of dedicated craftsmanship and example of Ramsgate’s listed buildings, approximately 900.

As blazing sunset shades of gold and yellow reverberate the words of artist J.M.W Turner “The skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe,” we retreat to Harbour Parade where New Year’s Eve festivities take shape with sight of The Oak Hotel. An illuminated exterior and established friendliness beckon a tipple from the sociable Lounge Bar tavern that stirs a crowd.

Caught in a welcoming plethora of guests, tourists and locals it is easy to understand how this contemporary port of 34 en-suite rooms, just yards from Ramsgate’s sandy award winning beach, attracts a bustling trade and brings the outside in.

Next-door in their Restaurant 66 is a convivial stylish diner with attractive spotlights and leather-banqueting chairs fit for a celebratory feast twinkles with stellar hospitality. Overlooking the harbour we dine amidst the revellers and share a glass of bubbly as the midnight fireworks sprinkle good health and fortune over Ramsgate’s glitzy marina.

New Year’s Day brings a selective hearty breakfast of porridge with banana and honey in the hotel’s Café Bar before embarking on the legendary local Ramsgate Blitz Walk, a step back to WW2 when the seaside resort was heavily bombed. We uncover former bombsites, 20th century architectural remnants and nostalgic stories of the people who survived and set sail for reinforcements at Ramsgate’s traditional fish ‘n’ chip shop Peter’s Fish Factory.

Ramsgate Main Sands ‘Blue Flag’ Beach is enough to unleash the Careertraveller wanderlust with a vigorous 5-mile return Ramsgate to Broadstairs walk. Accompanied by sea spray, sandy beaches and chalky cliffs, peppered with a garden of Rock Sea lavender and Rock Samphire, New Year activates a heart-pumping itinerary of delicious coastal gems.

Italianate Greenhouse and pretty coloured Dumpton Gap beach huts escort us to award winning beach Viking Bay in Broadstairs, whose enchanting horseshoe shaped seashore shimmers with nostalgic family holidays including the likes of Charles Dickens!

Amongst the ramblers and dog walkers to cyclists and joggers, we grab a taste of this quintessential seaside town and vow to return for more of Thanet’s stunning coastline!

Further information:

The Oak Hotel
Thanet Tourism
Active Ramsgate
Ramsgate Maritime Museum
Ramsgate Blitz Walks
St Augustine’s Church

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