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Herne Bay

Herne Bay might not be one of England's biggest or busiest seaside resorts but (in my opinion anyway) it's one of the prettiest and most charismatic. Herne Bay is a little less than 90 minutes by train from London's Victoria Station and easily reached by road along the M2 and A299.

Strolling along the lengthy seafront running from Hampton in the West to the King's Hall and Downs in the East one gets the feel that Herne Bay hasn't changed too much in the past century or more.

Herne Bay seafront Neptune's Arm (harbour), Herne Bay
Seafront and harbour, Herne Bay

Herne Bay once boasted England's second longest pier. It was destroyed by a storm in 1978, and the remaining stump housed a modern leisure centre. That was closed in 2011 and demolished in early 2012 leaving an uncertain future for the once iconic structure. The isolated end of the old pier remains as a ghostly relic, way out to sea.

Seafront architecture, Herne Bay Pier Pavilion, Herne Bay
Seafront architecture and Pier Pavilion, Herne Bay

The seafront was renovated in the early 1990's and a mini harbour (Neptune's arm) built allowing visitors to view the seafront from a little way out. The Central Bandstand was also restored and reopened in the 1990's with a National Lottery grant and now hosts the visitors centre, a permanent exhibition, and a pub/restaurant. In the summer one may relax to the sound of Sunday afternoon concerts.

Herne Bay really comes alive for two weeks each August with the annual Herne Bay Festival. The Festival offers a series of events, the highlight of which is the carnival held on the middle saturday.

One claim to fame of this genteel town is as the setting for the 1964 Ken Russell movie French Dressing.

Reculver

Reculver Towers
Reculver Towers

Continuing Eastward from the King's Hall, either a 50 minute sea-level/clifftop walk or a few minutes drive, one comes to the town of Reculver. Reculver is famous for Reculver Towers, the twin towers which are the remains of the 12th century St Mary's Church. St Mary's was built on the site of an earlier Roman fort, some walls of which remain.

Reculver Visitor's Centre (on the clifftop a little to the West of the Towers) houses a permanent exhibition highlighting the archaeological, historical, geological and wildlife conservation value of the area.

In the 1950's and 60's Reculver housed a thriving caravan park where visitors from London would spend their weekends and Summer holidays. Though much quieter than its heyday, due to cheap holidays abroad, some caravans, two amusement arcades and the King Ethelbert pub remain.

Web I Can Herne Bay based Web design, creating custom Websites at an affordable price

Herne Bay Online
The Official Canterbury and Coastal Kent Tourism Site
The Official Guide to Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and Rural Area

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