Broadstairs sits on the most easterly protrusion of the county, roughly half way between Botany Bay and Ramsgate. Starting from East Surrey, it takes us a minimum of 90 minutes to drive there, which means a bit of planning ahead.
The Kent coastline is dotted with characterful towns, each worth visiting for different reasons. On this day, we first headed for Botany Bay, never having been but having heard good things. As we found a space to park, a coach offloaded dozens of foreign students who headed straight for the beach and proceeded to swarm around the really interesting chalk stacks I had wanted to photograph.
We walked North along the beach towards Margate, watching the waves, the gulls and picking up empty shells and scraps of seaweed. Turning back, we hoped the teenagers might have moved on – but no. So we did. A short drive took us to Broadstairs where we explored a little of the town before looking for lunch. Then we went to the beach where my granddaughter paddled for a while. Leaving her with her mother, I headed along the coastal path – a vast, concrete affair, hugging a curving cliff face. There were empty beaches along there but, unlike the main beach, they are not sheltered from the gusting winds.
For me, the wind makes the sea more interesting, so I kept following the path until I thought my daughter might feel I’d been gone too long. There was more path to explore – but as I turned back I could see the two girls in the distance, coming to track me down.