While everyone else is flocking in large crowds to the major capital cities of Europe you and your family could be having a fascinating vacation in places less known. One of them is Isle of Thanet which is actually no longer an island but can be found at the most easterly point of Kent, England. Its three main towns Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs offer visitors lots of things to see and do.
South End’s major art gallery Turner Contemporary offers visitors contemporary and historical art. All of this is presented in an amazing seaside setting which was the inspiration of JMW Turner, Britain’s best-loved painter. You can find the gallery right on the Margate seafront. You can find artworks here dating from 1750 to the present. Gallery admission is free and there is also a cafe and gift shop.
The Powell-Cotton Museum has one of the most unique and interesting private collection in all of the U.K. Visitors will find 19th century natural history displays from Africa and Asia consisting of taxidermy and incredible scenes of African and Asian wildlife landscapes. The collection consists of oriental fine arts and porcelain, antique furniture, ceramics, weaponry and local archaeology. There is also a house known as the Quex House which has been around since the early 1400s. It was once owned by the Quekes family who had an extensive wool industry. Visitors can go from the museum galleries to the Quex House to see the amazing displays of furniture, art objects and a lovely library. Visitors also have the pleasure of exploring the wonderful gardens which include lawns, herbaceous borders, exotic trees, ponds, statues, a woodland walk monument, croquet lawn and a historic Victorian walled garden.
Hornby Visitor Centre brings people though the history of Britain’s best loved toys. You can see startling model railroad layouts among other displays.
Dickens House Museum is located in a cottage which was the inspiration for Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield and the home of Betsey Trotwood. Dickens’ son Charley remembered that they often had tea there with Miss Mary Pearson Strong. It was her belief of her right to stop donkeys from passing in front of her cottage. This became the donkey incident for the character of Betsey Trotwood. Those who have read the novel will recognize the parlor as Dickens described it. Visitors can see items that originally belonged to Charles Dickens among them letters he wrote about Broadstairs, his writing box and mahogany sideboard. There is lots of other memorabilia to treasure as well.
Margate offers visitors the astonishing Shell Grotto that was discovered in 1835. There are 21 meters of winding passages which are decorated with 4.6 million shells. You’ll find that the walls are covered with images of gods and goddesses, trees of life and pattern of whelks, mussels and oysters.
Step into the first waterworks built for Broadstairs now the Crampton Tower Museum and take a look at the works of a locally born Victorian engineer known as Thomas Crampton. Railways, transport and local history are on display.
RAF Manston Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Trust features two WWII fighter aircraft that once served RAF.
In the Clock House on the quayside at Ramsgate Harbor visitors will find the Ramsgate Maritime Museum. The museum focuses on Ramsgate and the region’s maritime past. This is also the site of the unusual Ramsgate Meridian from which U.K.’s Mean Time 5 mins and 41 secs ahead of Greenwich Time was calculated. In the museum you’ll find four galleries taking you through maritime history. There are permanent displays on the development of the Harbor, Navigation, Fishing, Lifeboats and Shipwrecks. Outside of the museum you can see “Cervia” which is the last remaining ocean-going steam tug that has been associated with Ramsgate sin the late 40s.
Take a break from museum walking and take to the great outdoors. There are 15 sandy beaches and bays just waiting for you and your family.
You can learn how to surf, sail or kite-surf. If you love swimming take a dip in the sea or in a pool. For golfers there are great golf courses. Families can enjoy the wildlife-watching boat trips and kids who are into skateboarding, climbing and rollerblading will just love Revolution Skate Park.
Take a wonderful and scenic 32-mile walk along the Viking Coastal Trail that runs past farmland and along sandy shores. If you prefer to see the amazing designs of Augustus Pugin and his sons take the Pugin Town Trail in Ramsgate. A walk through history is the 4-mile Turner and Dickens Walk between Turner’s Margate and Dickens’s Broadstairs.
In Thanet you can also find great places to eat and drink among them places which offer fresh just caught fish, fish and chip shops and even vintage ice-cream parlors. If you want to do some shopping there is Westwood Cross offering mall-style shopping. You can also find small independent stores with lots of interesting items.
So take your family on a vacation where you don’t have to be among large crowds and there is something for everyone to like and enjoy. Museums for cloudy and rainy days, sunny beaches for swimming and fun in the sun and lots more.
Pictures from Google images