#Staycation: Postcard from Deal
Looking for some day trip/weekend break/holiday destination inspiration a little closer to home this summer? As the trend for holidaying at home continues in 2021, Stylecamp's #staycation series is back to show the best of the Kentish coastline.
The next postcard in this series travels north from the modern harbour town of my previous postcard, Folkestone (Postcard from Folkestone), along the famous White Cliffs through historic Dover, and onwards to Deal, a charmingly picturesque Kent seaside town that still feels relatively undiscovered.
You can get here in just over an hour from London by train, which is ideal for day trippers who can comfortably experience the best of Deal in a day. A destination perfect for long walks, plan a weekend stay and you'll find there are plenty of things to see and do in and around the town, it being easily accessible to seaside favourites Sandwich, Broadstairs and Ramsgate in the North, and Dover & Folkestone in the south.
With its fascinating history, independent shops, restaurants, beautiful beach and scenery, Deal is one of my absolute favourite places to visit in Kent, and I'm lucky I get to visit regularly! Here's why a short stay in Deal should be on your staycation list, plus a list of the best things to see and do.
DEAL BEACH & PIER
At the end of an hour-long train ride, head straight to Deal's vast shingle beach, lined with characterful historic housing. The beaches stretch for miles in both directions, where you can see Ramsgate, another popular seaside destination in the distance, or take in the scenic walk to neighbouring Walmer and Kingsdown at the other.
Central to Deal town centre is the pier, built in iconic 1950s architecture and one of the last leisure piers still standing. It's a great way to take in views of Deal and the length of coastline, and also features a restaurant at the end for lunch with a view.
For the classic British seaside experience, there's nothing better than good old fish & chips, and Deal has plenty of venues. I personally recommend the Seaview restaurant located by the beachfront, where you can eat in or takeaway. There's also an ice cream parlour just down the street from here, which always has long queues!
With all the local amenities around the pier it can get pretty busy in the summertime, so it's always worth walking a short distance away (with your chips!) to reach a quieter part of the beach, where you can also stop in these original Art Deco style shelters for a spot of shade.
WALKING THROUGH DEAL
Walking through Deal is like stepping through time. In the oldest part of town just set back from the beach, you can wander its streets of quirky 18th and 19th century houses, each one immaculately painted, and many with a model ship in the window as a nod to its maritime past.
Being a naval town with historical military importance, and infamous connections with smuggling, Deal has had a rambunctious past! Strolling its sleepy, pristine streets today, it's hard to imagine it any other way, but definitely stop to read the many plaques dotted around the town that detail all about the secret passageways and other, livelier, parts of its history.
Heading south from the pier, there's a pretty seafront promenade that passes a cluster of working fishing boats that nestle quietly among the shoreline wildflowers. In the height of spring/summer when all the flowers are out, it's simply stunning!
Keep walking and very soon you'll come to the prominent landmark of Deal castle, one of Henry VIII's naval strongholds, where you can wander its many turrets and learn about its strategic importance in defending Britain's shores throughout history.
As you continue down the seafront promenade, it melts seamlessly into a classic Victorian seaside resort, where you can spot pretty Victorian style architecture, a village-style green, bandstand and obligatory beach huts, all overlooking the wildflower-framed sea vista.
Taking a short amble down this scenic promenade (to walk off a chippy lunch!) is very doable in a day, but serious walkers or cyclists can follow the coastal path all the way to the stunning cliffs at St Margaret's Bay, passing through picturesque neighbouring towns Walmer and Kingsdown along the way. You'll be treated to spectactular coastal views, and Walmer houses yet another historic castle with connections to the Duke of Wellington, if you fancy dabbling in yet more history.
Back in Deal town centre, there's a vast array of independent shops and restaurants along its old high street that make this seaside destination so exciting to visit. From antiques and stylish homewares, to independent fashion brands and specialist food merchants, not forgetting to mention a busy Saturday morning market - Deal has a lot to explore.
There are plenty of vintage/antique shops in deal, but Mileage is a must-visit; a large store of independently sourced vintage and upcycled furniture and home decor. Colourful and vibrant with a friendly atmosphere, it's always a pleasure coming in here.
French delicacies, including cheese and pastries, can be found at the tiny No Name Shop - also a great spot to pick up a takeaway coffee!
The Hoxton Store sells lots of beautiful homewares, with a tropical, bohemian vibe.
Deal isn't short of good cafes and restaurants that spill out onto the streets, offering a relaxed continental vibe. French bistro Frog and Scot, always has a relaxed atmosphere, with customers sipping wine with their lunch on the bustling high street.
The Rose is an historic commercial house tavern, that's had a boutique hotel facelift in recent years. It looks like it would be a lovely place to stay for a weekend, but even the dining room and bar looks very appealing.
For the more traditional, there are pubs dotted all throughout the town, but just by the beachfront is a flag-filled square that hosts some of the more popular ones, the King's Head and the Port Arms.
The vibrant colours and social atmosphere are a natural draw for the crowds, it being a lovely sunny spot overlooking the beach, perfect for watching the world go by.