This area of Kent which includes St Margaret’s at Cliffe and St Margaret’s Bay has been aptly named First Light Coast and Country. As the sun rises, you can bask in the first light of the day in the midst of the White Cliffs. Surrounded by spectacular countryside throughout the year, this area offers such a range of activities. Walk for miles along the deserted coastline and get inspiring views of the Heritage Coast, the Channel and also the coast of Northern France. Further inland there are the Kent Downs which are valued for their chalk grassland and wildlife.
In summer, the beach and rock pools are perfect for children, with safe swimming in the bay. St Margaret’s Bay has been for a long time a good location for kayakers and canoeists. If you enjoy fishing then St Margaret’s Bay is good for catching sea bass, mackerel, dogfish and sole. If you are lucky, you may even spot the odd seal that comes close to shore.
The village of St Margaret’s has many local amenities including a village shop, tea rooms and three lovely pubs which all offer great food and fine ales. The Coastguard Pub on the beach is an award winning pub with food made from fresh local ingredients. The Pines Calyx with its gardens, tearooms and museum is well worth a visit and includes six acres of organically managed gardens. The 12th Century local church is also interesting with rounded arches and doorways.
A beautiful coastal cliff walk takes you from St Margarets Bay to the White Cliffs of Dover National Trust Visitor Centre which is positioned directly over the port of Dover. This walk passes South Foreland Lighthouse belonging to English Heritage. This stunning Victorian lighthouse was the first to use an electric light and is well worth a visit. Children can fly kites for free, play with large wooden games and take part in a treasure trail. Enjoy an English tea served in bone china teacups at Mrs Knotts tea room – once the lighthouse keepers cottage – before taking a tour of the lighouse and discovering its history.
Further afield, there is the historic Dover Castle and Walmer Castle both good locations for days out with themed events during the school holidays.
For sporting activities, there is much to offer, horse riding, cycling, swimming and water sports. For golfers, try your skills on a links course and this area has plenty to offer; Walmer and Kingsdown Golf Links, Royal Cinque Ports in Deal and Royal St George’s in Sandwich are all within an easy reach.
If France beckons then why not take a ferry from Dover or the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone for a day trip, it’s so close, so don’t forget to bring your passports!