I grew up living by the sea and although we didn’t spend long days there as children, it was a constant throughout my childhood. Except I didn’t realise it.
Subconsciously I had spent a lot of time by the sea, I had passed it every day, but I didn’t know any different. It was just “there”.
Until I moved away to university. And then met my husband and ended up settling in Surrey. Although I used to visit regularly, I wasn’t prepared for how much I missed the sea.
When we moved back, we were lucky enough to find a house where the beach was within walking distance and have been making the most of it ever since.
Deal beach is pebbly – there is no getting away from it – and recent work on the sea defences has made it steeper in some places than I would like. But it has definite charm. On a warm summer’s day a trip to the beach can instantly make me feel like I’m on holiday whether I am or not. During the winter months the brutal tide is mesmerising and the sound of the waves on the shingle deafening. But pebbles don’t get in your sandwiches, your handbag or your knickers like sand does and they provide endless treasure hunting opportunities and hours of fun finding the perfect stone to skim or make the biggest splash. And of course, you have to have chips!
The promenade stretches from Sandown Castle in the North, to Kingsdown (and a great pub – The Zetland Arms) in the South and contains three castles. The ruins of Sandown, Deal Castle and Walmer Castle – posts on these another time!
But it’s biggest landmark is the iconic pier. It isn’t Southend, but Deal pier is 3/4 mile long with a café / bar at the sea end, a good tackle shop and a quintessentially British seaside shop “The Beach Hut” serving whippy ice cream as well as the local brand Solley’s at the land end.
Always occupied by keen fisherman – amateur and otherwise, who will happily talk to you about their catch, or the weather, and if you’re feeling brave you can venture down to the bottom deck which at high tide can be completely immersed. Views back to the shore are beautiful.