Deal is one of the prettiest towns on the Kent coast and currently a bit of a hotspot attracting day-trippers, staycation holiday makers and homebuyers. It even made it to a Sunday Times feature as one of Best Places to Live in the UK ( March 2020). We took a flying visit last weekend to see why it is so popular .
Arriving early we bagged a great parking spot on the seafront. Parking is £1.30 per hour, alternatively some local roads in offer free parking on Sundays.
From London St Pancras fast trains run to Deal taking just 83mins making it a perfect seaside day trip from London.
We considered a walk we had seen on the Discovering Britain website . This free downloadable coastal walk takes in Walmer and Deal Castles. The walk includes most of must see sites in the area and helpfully stops for refreshments along the way .
As we had our 14 year old Bichon in tow we decided to stick to Deal and save the walk for another day.
Refreshments in Deal
We were drawn across to Deal Pier as dogs are not permitted on the beach from 9am - 8pm from 1 May - 30th September. This Grand Dame recently celebrated her 60th Birthday and has been treated with a £1.1million renovation.
At the end of the pier is the award winning Deal Pier Kitchen. Beware though, it is very popular and there is no booking system . You just need to turn up and queue - I’m advised it is well worth waiting . If you don’t want to wait there is also the newly opened DPK shack offering takeaway home made sausage rolls, ice cream, drinks and cakes.
Alternatively you may enjoy the cosiness of the Pop Cafe in the High Street. This cute cafe is renowned for great coffee and freshly baked on the premises sour dough bread. Don’t be fooled by the name, this isn't a temporary pop-up, the cafe has just celebrated it’s 8th Birthday !
Or how about some home made Ice Cream? The Sicilian is highly recommended by locals for it’s authentic Sicilian food, brilliant pizza, and delicious gelato.
No seaside trip is complete without fish and chips. Deal has some great chippies, we had been recommended to The Middle Street Fish Bar, but it is closed on Sundays. The Seaview was open with a long line of hungry people waiting to be served so I am assuming it must also be good too !
Next we headed across to the Conservation Area. This area is very special, the way it has been preserved reminds me very much of Spitalfields in London. Walking through these evocative streets like those in East London feel as if you are stepping back in time . The area is used as a filming location and has been seen in Little Dorrit, Ruby Blue and Legacy. Deal featured most recently in the ITV Drama Liar.
In 1968 the Middle Street area was designated as Kent’s first conservation area. Boasting 18th century houses and a few timber-framed cottages from the 17th century, it looks much as it did in Nelson’s time. The conservation area has since been extend, there are helpful signs around Deal to guide you while you explore.
However these magnificent buildings were so nearly lost . They survived a threat from war clearance in 1947, modernisation in the 1960's and later a new road . This was because of local people who fought to save this area from demolition and who now work hard to maintain these historic buildings.
There are lots of great pubs to discover in Deal, some them offer accommodation.
The Royal Hotel was a favourite of Lord Nelson and Charles Hawtree (remembered by a blue plaque in Middle Street.) The Kings Head is a stunner with an impressive floral facade, and has 14 rooms for bed and breakfast guests .
Perhaps I should consider a future blogpost on the pubs in the area ?
The Rose Hotel The Rose Hotel is a former pub in the High Street. It can be seen occasionally on Instagram quietly showing off swoon worthy accommodation. With a former Wallpaper Magazine Design Editor and her Husband at the helm it’s no surprise that this place is so cool . There is now also top notch food with a menu designed by Chiltern Firehouse's Nuno Mendes as seen last weekend in The Sunday TimesMagazine.
This Hotel is truly a hidden gem.
One of the many things that makes the town so special is the award winning Deal High Street with it's independent shops, restaurants and cafes . Currently some have restricted opening hours or maybe shut due to the impact of Covid -19. It is advisable to check opening times before visiting.
September is usually the time for Deal Braderie . This popular annual antiques and collectable Brocant style market stretches along the High Street bringing traders from all over the country. This year due to Covid -19 the market was cancelled, along with the Deal Arts and Music Festival in June .
The Saturday Market is currently still open and is the place where locals meet to stock up with all the usual essentials - fruit, vegetables, flowers and eggs etc. There is also a very popular furniture, bric a brac and antiques section where you may even spot a local celebrity shopping .
I hope you have enjoyed this trip to Deal and maybe even feel inspired to visit yourself one day ?
I plan to return to visit both Walmer Castle and Deal Castle. I will make sure I take a longer walk along the coastline ~ without my elderly dog !
Image Credits :
The RoseHotel - Instagram | Deal Seafront - The Sunday Times
Deal Pier - Kent Life Magazine
Deal Pier Kitchen - DPK Instagram | Pop Up Cafe - Pop Up Cafe Instagram
The RoseHotel - Instagram | Deal Pier - Kent Life Magazine | Market - @mrs_lang1
All other images are my own .
Thank you to Mrs Lang for helping with local knowledge for this blogpost .