Broadstairs, the town was originally called ‘Bradstowe’ (sometimes spelt ‘Bradstow’). St Mary’s Chapel, now the Chapel ale and cider house, is built near the location of a chantry chapel to ‘Our Lady of Bradstowe’. Local legend has it that ships had to lower their topsails in salute as they passed this much venerated spot.
A strong connections with author Charles Dickens, who was a regular visitor, and there is an annual Dickens festival.
Rising above the harbour is the bulk of Bleak House, renamed because its owner believed it to be the one used by Dickens in his tale of the same name. Whether or not it truly is the house that inspired Dickens is a matter for debate, but the owner believed it was so, so he renamed the house! It now operates as a guest house, with the added attraction of a smuggling museum and ‘Dickens’ Study’.
Dumptop gap. Just along the shore is one of the best low tide walking routes to Ramsgate during low tide, however it is very important to check the tide times before setting off. A quiet sandy bay with a promenade and kiosk, there are plenty of rock pools to explore but at very high tide the beach is totally covered by the sea.
Botany bay. Smugglers were very ripe around these waters and most highly mentioned in the history of the area is Joss Snelling’s gang, the Callis Court gang and the “battle of Botany Bay” in spring 1769. Joss Snelling and his notorious gang had been bringing contraband up from the beach when they were spotted by a revenue patrol, a battle ensued that left several smugglers mortally wounded and a local riding officer shot by one of the gang members, possibly Joss Snelling. There are a few accounts of the Botany Bay battle, but in all cases it was a bloody and deadly battle.