by Janis on 19th March 2019 / 0 comments

A quaint seaside town yet to be discovered

Why Deal I hear you say? Well, I’m going to let you into a little secret, Deal is a true gem for so many reasons.

Pastel coloured cottages, working fishing boats, quirky little shops and steeped in history back to the Romans.

Not only is it ideal for a day trip, but you could also turn it into a mini-break and discover more of the region.

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Where is Deal?

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Let's Discover Deal

Ahh the sea air
It had been years since we’d visited Deal, and you would have thought that as it’s in our home county of Kent, we would have headed there more frequently. But, as it’s so often the case, we travel further afield and are guilty of bypassing those things on our doorstep.
The pastel-coloured buildings decorated with potted plants & window baskets of beautiful Beach Street in Deal, Kent
Beach Street
Well, this was being rectified, and as soon as Gary and I jumped out of the car, I felt the sea-breeze blow across my face, the sun was shining and I thought this is why I love the English seaside.
The golden shale beach of Deal, under a deep blue sky, stretching along the Kent Coastline
The Shoreline along Deal

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Deal through time

The History Bit
Along this little stretch of the English coastline is said to be where Julius Caesar first stepped foot on British turf. I’m leaving that open to discussion, however, what is known, about this three-mile area of shoreline, are the three defence castles that King Henry VIII had built during the 16th-century.
The wooden bridge across the moat to the ivy-covered Walmer Castle
Entrance across the moat, Walmer Castle

Walmer Castle in the south is the plusher of the three and has some incredible gardens.

Deal Castle around 1 ½ mile north is a lot more functional than Walmer and then 1 ½ mile further north is (or was) Sandown Castle. The remains that are now visible have been turned into a lovely seated garden, maintained by the local residents.

Access to Warmer & Deal Castles are free to English Heritage Members
The Alpine-style planing of the Sandown Castle Community Garden in Deal, Kent
Sandown Castle Community Garden

Exploring Deal

The Coastal Walk
As I said, we arrived at Deal by car, and if you park slightly on the outskirts of town along the coastline, then there are no parking charges and you can enjoy the walk into town.
A small fishing boast surrounded by and covered in, floats and other fishing paraphernalia on the beach in Deal, Kent
A working beach

We started at the southern end of Deal, by Walmer lifeboat station. The RNLI run a fantastic charity that has been saving lives around the British shores since 1824. More often than not, the stations are staffed throughout the day, and you can peek in and check to see if you can take a look around.

If you’d enjoy a deeper journey through the RNLI’s history, head to the Historic Dockyard Chatham (also in Kent).

The mid 19th-century stone built Walmer lifeboat station opposite St Saviours Church
Walmer Lifeboat Station, Deal

We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England.  It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.

I never knew that about Coastal England Cover

The Kent Coastline

When I say the beach!!!!
Now I’d just like to say, don’t think that when you arrive at Deal, there are going to be endless golden sandy beaches, it pebbles all the way here. But that’s what add to its charm, this is a working beach as well as a place to have fun skimming stones across the waves.
The Morning Haze small wooden fishing boat, flying the Union Jack, in the single beach of Deal
Morning Haze on the beach
You can wander amongst fishing boats that have just been hauled ashore with the “catch of the day”. And I’d lay money on the fact you’ll be grabbing some fish and chips by the end of the day.

How to get there to Deal

You can catch a train from London St. Pancras International direct to Deal Station, which takes around 1 hour 25 minutes.

Or alternatively, you can do it all on a road trip, Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.

The Darkest Hour

Remembrance
Take a moment to head to the bandstand, this was erected in memory of the Deal barracks bombing. On 22 September 1989, the IRA exploded a bomb at the Royal Marines School of Music. The building collapsed, killing 11 marines and wounding another 21. This was an extremely emotional time for Deal and the whole country alike.
The Deal Memorial Bandstand on the promenade at Deal, Kent
The Deal Memorial Bandstand

Deal Castle

Halt who goes there?
As you head towards Deal town, you’ll pass the historic castle. Which is quite low-key in castle terms; however, it was built as an artillery fort and had sixty-six firing positions, to fend off the oncoming seafaring enemy.
The exterior walls and raised towers of the stocky Deal Castle
Deal Castle from the coastal path

Visit some of Kent’s coastal towns

Kent is not short of picturesque historic towns, particularly along the Kentish coastline., and we have a collection of posts you may enjoy - why not check one out?

Deal's link to London

Greenwich Mean Time
A little further along on your left you’ll notice the ‘Timeball Tower’.
The four-storey Time Ball Tower featuring a crossed compass on and the large round time-ball atop the tower in Deal, Kent.
The Timeball Tower

At precisely 1pm every day the time ball drops, this would have been a signal to the ships out at sea and enabling them to set their timepieces accurately.

This time ball received an electric signal directly from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".

You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.

Kent's Strangest Tales Cover

Deal's touch of nostalgia

Strolling the pier
Promenading past quaint B&B’s, seaside pubs and beautifully kept houses, we arrive at the pier. I must admit it’s not the most eye-catching pier; however, it is Deal’s 3rd iteration as the two previous have succumbed to gales and the Second World War.
The front of the attractive looking Channel View Guesthouse, in Deal, decorated with mini-conifer trees.
Channel View Guest House
The brick-built, three-storey, Ship Inn in Middle Street, Deal
The Ship Inn
The present one which was opened in 1957, has since undergone extensive repairs. At the entrance is a half-moon seating area, where you can sit and watch the seaside world go by.
The 3 meter high, bronze statue, 'Embracing the Sea' of a man in a boat wrestling a fish, in front of Deal Pier
Entrance to the Pier

Just because the pier hasn’t got the lure of the “end-of-pier” arcades, it doesn’t detract from the pleasure you get strolling out above the waves and amongst the locals trying to catch their evening meal.

The view back across the bay is one to savour.

The view back to Deal town from the end of the concrete pier, lined on either side with benches.
The view down the pier

Where have you been?

Have you visited any of England’s old seaside towns, drop a comment below to tell us where you enjoyed visiting?

The best of Deal

The Old Town
After our promenade, we head a couple of streets back to discover what Deal’s traditional old town has to offer.
The beautiful brick-built, turn of the 19th Century, Deal Town Hall with its curved corner featuring what would have once been a water fountain, but now planted out.
The Town Hall
Wandering through most High Streets today you’ll get the modern touch creeping in, and Deal is no exception; however, here it feels like Deal is also making an effort to keep with its old-style storefront facades.

More info

Why not check out the While Cliffs Country section of the Visit Kent site?  It covers Deal, as well as Dover & Sandwich
Number 123 High Street, a beautiful home interior shop on Deal's High Street
High Street Shop
Two shops at the end of Deal's High Street. The first, the 'No Name Shop', a French Delicatessen, the other 'Allsorts', a tools & DIY store that seems to sell everything.
The No Name shop and Allsorts
Colourful boutiques, art galleries, antique shops mixed with bric-a-brac, traditional old fishmongers and butchers and of course plenty of cafes and tea shops.
Unique, individual, independent shops that line the end of Deal's High Street
The High Street

Escape for a few days

Are you looking for that ‘perfick’ holiday hideaway to relax in while you discover the Garden of England?

After a day exploring the Kent coast and its many historic castles enjoy one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.

Picture Postcard Deal

Historic lanes
The area of Deal old town that I loved exploring was amongst the tiny lanes and courtyards. Old fisherman’s cottages painted in pastel colours, you can tell that the locals here are proud of where they live.
The soft pastel coloured building of Griffin Street in Deal
Colourful Griffin Street
The narrow Farrier Street leading the the beach at Deal
Farrier Street to the sea

Wandering along Middle Street is a must, there is so much architectural history and so many beautifully kept buildings of times gone by.

Though I think in the days of smuggling a few old yarns could have been told amongst these streets.

A view along the Deal's quaint Middle street with its soft pastel colours and brick buildings.
Historic Middle Street

Where to stay in Deal

- The Royal Hotel - Located on the seafront of Deal offers incredible views across the bay. The 18th-century charming hotel is a perfect base for exploring Deal and touring the Kent coast.
- The Waterfront Hotel - Overlooking Deal pier this historic family-run hotel offers a delicious breakfast ready to sustain you for a full day ahead.

Deal in Literature

Well read
Although Deal has a strong nautical presence, it is also a town with plenty of literary history and has been associated with Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.
Slightly more recently, it was the setting for Ian Fleming’s original 1955 James Bond novel “Moonraker”, don't get confused by the movie - the original is nearly all set in the region with Hugo Drax's fictitious mansion nearby.
Moonraker by Fleming, Ian

(Amazon Link)

A famous resident of Deal

What a “Carry On”
Deal has been the home of a few familiar faces, anyone that remembers the “Carry On” films will most certainly recall Charles Hawtrey. He lived in Deal for the last 20 years of his life and was a colourful character regularly seen about town.
Number 117 Middle Street Deal with its Blue Plaque declaring it was the former home of Charles Hawtrey, 'Carry-on' actor
Charles Hawtrey’s former home

Where to eat & Drink in Deal

Spoilt for choice
What Deal certainly doesn’t lack are its choices in eateries.
The quaint looking Dunkerley's Restaurant & Hotel in Beach Street, Deal
How about fish 'n' chips?
I felt it catered for all pockets, you could sit in a stylish restaurant or café, or you could choose to grab yourself some freshly caught fish and eat it on the seafront.
The flamboyantly decorated Traditional King's Head pub in Beach Street, Deal
The King's Head
Although, if the local ales were tempting you head to one of the many traditional old pubs.

Our video of Deal

A look through our eyes

We have created a little YouTube video of our visit to Deal.  Why not take a look?

Also, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

A love of Deal

I won’t leave it so long, next time

My lasting memories of Deal will always be how it’s kept its old traditional charm but, not looking dated. Yes, it has the old familiar amusement arcades and kiss-me-quick gift shops, but it also has plenty of proud locals happy to share their piece of old seaside England.

Ohh and I can’t forget the squawking seagulls hovering above waiting to fleece you of your fish and chips.

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