Don’t miss Deal in Kent with its award-winning high street, buzzing cafes and pubs sit alongside a photogenic seafront that’s home to a sweeping pier and quirky maritime clock: the Timeball Tower.
Eleonora and I during our first stay in UK, when she was four, based in Canterbury, however we visited a lot of nice places in Kent area via bus.
From the Canterbury bus station you can buy a ticket to Deal, (visit the StageCoach website to have all the info and timetable), during the week you have more or less a bus (number 12) leaving Canterbury bus Station reaching Deal every hour starting from 9.05 AM, however check the website for the updated info.
The trip takes 50 minutes more or less, but Eleonora enjoyed a lot to stay on this double deck bus, I would recommend the first floor and if you can stay in front that’s will be perfect, children will not get bored at all. Moreover because the narrow streets in Kent area it will be funny to see branches kicking the bus.
Deal has an excellent range of independent shops, 3 weekly markets, 2 castles, wonderful architecture, a pier and 2 small museums all within walking distance. There’s plenty to do if you visit the town alone with kids. The town center is pedestrianized and most of the town is on the flat making it ideal for small visitors.
Deal has a quarter mile long pier that gives great views along the historic beachfront. The pier head restaurant has a timber and glass construction with fantastic views.
If you are traveling alone with children sometimes the food can be an issue, not in Deal as there are so many pubs to suit all tastes from traditional to modern, as well as restaurants offering English, French, Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisine. There is also a wide range of cafes and bistros plus plenty of sandwich bars and fast food take away. Deal also has a great range of specialty food shops including delicatessens and an Italian patisserie.
When we arrived we started visiting the prowl the battlements and captain’s quarters at Deal Castle.
Deal Castle, was built by Henry VIII to repel potential invaders from France and Spain and remains one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England. The walls had positions for 200 cannon and gun ports and were rounded to deflect enemy cannon fire. The castle was also surrounded by a wide moat.
The castle is part of English Heritage, (visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk) and it’s a fascinating even if is a small castle. The visit it took less than one hour but can be interesting for children.
We walked around the whole castle up the top, all around the middle which had been refurbished but in keeping with the original build even if a lot of rooms are empty. Then we walked all down the bottom. There are history board around so you can read about all the history, as there is not an audio guide.
From here we had a walk along the seafront to Deal center and the Pier.
The beach is great – pebbled, and spans the whole front of the town, maybe it’s not what the kids expect to play with, as my children for example like a lot sandy beaches, but you can engage them to find treasures such as small colored glasses, strange stones and so on.
However Deal is just unique, you have a beach from you can gaze out to France and watch the ships in the English Channel. The architecture of the properties along Beach Street is wonderful, with so many quirky designs, some stepping back to the 1750’s but all maintained to a high standard.
Eleonora and I walked along the pier and once at the end the view back to Deal is amazing.
We were lucky as it was a very sunny but cold day, however Eleonora enjoyed to see plenty of fishermen on the pier, which gave great atmosphere.
There is a cafe/restaurant at the end of the pier and we decided to have a cup of coffee, a juice and cake. A very good decision as inside was very warm.
Coming back to Deal city Center you can’t miss the Timeball Tower which is situated on the seafront, and was established in 1855. The Timeball was designed to drop at 1300 GMT to give an accurate time check to shipping off Deal.
There is a museum inside but we had no chance to go in there as we preferred to have some shopping in the city center.
Deal High Street is an eclectic mix of old and new style shops. Lot of small quirky shops and also modern ones. The high street is only 2 minutes’ walk from the Sea Front, it’s rich architectural history it’s still very visible. There is an excellent selection of shops, bars and restaurants too.
Eleonora and I during our visit in Deal, went to the Caffe at the end of the Pier for a coffee and piece of cake.
For lunch we found the 81 (beach street) which is just to the other side of the beach, luckily enough we had a good table by the window, the restaurant is small, so booking is recommended, we enjoyed a lot our food, I had a very good cod and Eleonora potatoes with ice cream at the end.
Finally we had some rest at the Kings Head which is an old fashioned gastropub, we stayed on the wood benches outside enjoying a juice and a small beer before leaving this very nice little Kentish town.