Sporting activities and sports clubs in Thanet
Whether you are an avid sportsman or woman or just a spectator, Thanet offers an enormous variety of energetic and not so energetic options in the world of sport.
The quote from the Thanet Bowls Club probably says it all: “Our aim is to promote bowls as healthy, fun and if you want it to be a competitive sport enjoyed by everyone whatever your age, sex or ability.” No longer just considered something for the more mature members of the community to indulge in, bowls has increased in popularity among all age groups in recent years. With indoor bowls clubs springing up in many areas, it is now a sport that can be enjoyed – whatever the weather or time of year.
The Thanet Bowls Club in Montefiore Avenue in Ramsgate includes a beautifully maintained green, one of the best in the area , and a delightful clubhouse. Throughout the summer there are a variety of matches for men and women of differing skill levels and coaching sessions are available for anyone who wants to improve their skills. There is a very active social membership with non bowls events taking place throughout the winter.
The Birchington Bowls Club in Beach Avenue also includes tennis courts and a large car park. There are full, junior and social membership categories and, as families are encouraged to get involved, there is also a family membership. Walpole Bay Bowls Club is opposite the Walpole Bay Hotel in Cliftonville where new and inexperienced members are always welcome and there are times when you can just ‘roll up’ and have a go. When the weather is inclement you can always carry on in the Thanet Indoor Bowls Centre in Cliftonville. If you want something a little different don’t forget croquet one of the most fiendish games on the planet. To find out why, you can always pop round to the Ramsgate Croquet Club on the Royal Esplanade they are very friendly and always looking for new members, but you can go along and just have a try to start with.
Boxing is quite a popular sport in Thanet so if you want to get involved try one of the many clubs available. These include O’Neill’s Boxing Club in Margate that welcomes all men, women and children of all ages and abilities. Free boxing training for youngsters is available at Millmead Hall in Margate while the Margate Amateur Boxing Club offers sessions to young people over seven at Hartsdown Barn. There is also the Ramsgate Boxing Club in Bellevue Avenue, Ramsgate.
While for many of us think of cricket being England and Australia fighting it out over a small urn containing someone’s ashes, or a lazy afternoon on the local village green listening to the sound of leather on willow, residents of our towns and seaside resorts can be equally avid followers of the sport – and Thanet is no exception.
Broadstairs Cricket Club has been established for about 100 years and has just achieved promotion to Division 1 of the Kent League. It is based at The Pavilion, Park Avenue in Broadstairs. It offers a variety of facilities for both players and supporters including pre-match warm up nets, a bar and regular training for both juniors and seniors with winter indoor training taking place in the East Kent Sports Hall, Marlowe Academy. Here, indoor cricket takes place for those who enjoy the sport all year round through the Thanet Indoor Cricket League. Virtually opposite the football club in Hartsdown Road, you will find the Margate Cricket Club. It has a very busy summer schedule and an active ladies section as well as a juniors coaching program.
Football and Rugby
For footie fans, Thanet has Margate Football Club and a raft of local clubs covering the whole of the area including St Luke’s, Minster, Ramsgate, Thanet and District, Belmonte and Galaxy disabled football. There are also seven junior clubs including Ramsgate, Margate and Thanet Colts.
If rugby union is your game, Thanet Wanderers based in Broadstairs is a very active club for both juniors and seniors – men and women. There is also Broadstairs Beach Rugby and the Broadstairs Bulldog Rugby League Club.
Thanet is a magnet for golfing enthusiasts, whether you are an absolute beginner or a budding Nick Faldo there are clubs and courses to suit all handicaps and age groups. There are three golf clubs – North Foreland in Broadstairs, Westgate and Birchington and St Augustine’s outside Ramsgate. In addition there is the Stonelees Golf Centre at Manston and, for more family entertainment, Strokes Adventure Golf on the promenade at Westbrook.
The North Foreland Golf Club is more than 100 years old but has moved with the times and offers both members and visitors two excellent cliff top golf courses – The Main Course or the long course and the Northcliffe Course which is excellent for beginners and visitors, where you are also invited to ‘pay and play’. There are also tennis courts and you can join as a social member and be involved in some of the many social activities.
The Clubhouse at the Westgate and Birchington Golf Club is open daily, offering refreshments to members and visiting golfers alike. The dining area provides fine views over the historical links course while the lounge and the bar are the perfect places to relax after a round of golf. For the over 55s there is the Evergreens section, where Tuesday and Thursday morning are set aside for their use and special events are organised for the older members and visitors.
St. Augustine's Golf Club is a private members club with the reputation of being very warm and welcoming both guests and visitors alike. Situated in the Pegwell Bay area of The Isle of Thanet, the Club was established in 1908 and opened by the famous Tom Vardon. St. Augustine’s is named after the missionary who landed in England to convert the Saxons to Christianity in AD 597 and a cross stands adjoining the Golf Club to mark the spot where he landed.
Stonelees Golf Centre Whether you're a total beginner, an improving golfer, or an expert looking for a test, there's a golf course for you at Stonelees Golf Centre, between Ramsgate and Manston airport. There is a par three course, an Executive course and the full-length Heights course. Having some lessons with one of the excellent pros at Stonelees will assist you to improve your golf where you can test out the floodlit driving range, have a go on the putting green or even try the golf simulator.
Manston Golf Centre
is just the place to learn the basics of golf. There is an excellent 24 driving range, a nine hole course, a well stocked golf superstore, a custom fitting service and the Positive Impact Golf Academy. You will be sure of a warm and friendly welcome from all the staff and they will look after all your golfing requirements. There is a delightful clubhouse where you can have a snack and a drink including outdoor and sheltered terraces as well as a newly created decked area – just the place to look out over the course and Pegwell Bay.
For the very experienced golfer there is of course the nearby Royal St Georges open championship course at Sandwich as well as the Prince’s Club.
Whether you have your own horse, are looking to compete at local or national level or want to just enjoy a gentle hack with the wind in your hair cantering along one of Thanet’s sandy beaches, there are riding facilities available to everyone.
The Nelson Park Riding Centre in Woodchurch, near Birchington, provides for all levels and abilities. It includes a large indoor school, equestrian shop, livery and lessons. There are also delightful country areas for hacking. Manston Riding Centre in Alland Grange Road, Manston, offers excellent tuition in its outdoor all weather school for children and adults as well as hacks in the nearby countryside.
Elmwood Farm Riding Centre in Elmwood Road, Broadstairs has a wonderful friendly family atmosphere where the children can spend the day grooming the horses and ponies as well as enjoying lessons. Adults of all ages are well catered for with regular mid week morning lessons for the more mature age groups. As the stables are so near to Joss Bay, hacking on the beach is an ideal way of winding down after a busy week.
If you like to be around horses but may not want to ride, you can always be involved with the Riding for the Disabled stables in Callis Court Road, Broadstairs they are always looking for volunteers to help.
Whether you are a black belt judo specialist or a raw beginner looking to try your hand at taekwondo, there are more than 20 clubs throughout Thanet including the Ramsgate Olympic Taekwondo Club and the Thanet Martial Arts Centre, Broadstairs Tai Chi and Showazakai Karate Club.
Other exciting sporting activities
There are a variety of other sports and activities that take place in Thanet including the Revolution Skate Park and Climbing Centre, on the outskirts of Broadstairs in Dane Valley Road for skateboarding and scooters to various levels of climbing skills. There is Ten Pin Bowling in Cliftonville and at Bugsys as well as gymnastics and even petanque. To find out more, contact Thanet District Council.
Scuba diving is available through the Kent Scuba Diving Club in Margate as well as the Birchington Sub Aqua Club and the Thanet Sub-Aqua Club. If you want to try the thrill of jet skiing, Jet Ski World in Cliftonville will give you the ride of your life while you can learn the delights of surfing at Joss Bay Surf School on the outskirts of Broadstairs. For water skiing enthusiasts there is the Foreness Water Ski Club and Minnis Bay is the place for windsurfing. Apart from the pleasure of swimming in the sea you call always try one of the council swimming pools or the health clubs such as Bannatyne’s and DW Sports Fitness at Westwood Cross.
As you would expect from a coastal area, sailing is a very popular pastime with a variety of clubs providing opportunities for all ages and abilities as well as for a wide selection of boats. Racing in run under IRC yacht rules and
The Royal Temple Yacht Club in Ramsgate, opposite the marina, has a very active IRC yacht racing and cruising section and is well known for its facilities and friendly welcome to members and visitors. The Royal Temple School of Navigation and Sail Training offers great learning opportunities and is run by professionals with over 30 years of experience.
Broadstairs Sailing Club offers a range of dinghy sailing and racing activities from its base in Broadstairs. It has a well appointed clubhouse and bar and provides a variety of social activities for both sailing and social members. The club was founded in 1936 and specialises in dingy racing – mostly Lasers and Vareos. The club’s most famous son was Edward Heath who learned his basic sailing skills at the club.
Minnis Bay Sailing Club is a dinghy and catamaran sailing club suitable for racing or cruising. The classes currently sailing within the club include the F18, Dart, Spitfire and A-Class catamarans as well as the Phantom, Laser 2000, Buzz, Osprey, Topper, Contender, Byte and Mirror dinghies. The club has a growing fleet of club boats for sail training and club members to hire, including three Dart 16's, two laser 2000's, three toppers, a pico and a laser.
Shooting, Fencing and Archery
If weapon orientated sports are up your street there is Ramsgate Rifle Club, based at the George VI Memorial Park. Here there are two separate ranges – for small bore and air rifle and all shooting is overseen by qualified Range Conducting Officers.
The Invicta Fencing Club is based at Baypoint (former Pfizer’s leisure centre) near Pegwell Bay. Whether you are interested in epee, sabre or foil, the club offers every facility. The club actively promotes ‘fitness through fencing’ – so now’s your chance. There is also the Thanet Blades Fencing Club at the Ramsgate Sports Centre.
Archery is something you can take up whatever your age, ability or disability. At the Thanet Archery Club, based at St Lawrence College in Ramsgate, they have members from eight to seventy. The club was formed about 40 years ago and is one of the largest in Kent.
Burn off some of those calories at the Thanet Squash Racquets Club in Broadstairs. Established since 1951 the club has four courts and is open 24 hours a day. It also includes a bar, sauna and a fully equipped gym.
Tennis, Badminton and Table Tennis
There are numerous tennis clubs, societies and tennis courts available in Thanet so if you are a budding Andy Murray or just want to play pat ball with your friends, there is a place for you.
The Broadstairs and St Peter’s Lawn Tennis Club was formed in 1939 and, after the war, has been growing steadily ever since. Although focusing on tennis it also offers badminton and table tennis facilities and has a very active social side. There is a strong children’s section and, with ages ranging from six to 80, this is a great opportunity to enjoy a game of tennis and make some new friends. Margate Tennis Club includes six all weather courts (four of them are floodlit) and a mini court for the youngsters to start on as well as a bar, canteen and newly equipped changing rooms. Thanet also has plenty of all weather Council maintained and subsidised Council Tennis Courts available throughout Thanet including Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Margate and Westgate many of these are free so just contact the council to find out more.