The charming historical village of St Peter’s is on the outskirts of Broadstairs. It sprawls out from the magnificent church towards the town on one side and the delightful Reading Street on the other. The church dates back to Norman times when St Peter’s was far larger and more important than the then fishing hamlet of Broadstairs. Everywhere you go in the village you will find a plethora of period and character properties from the Georgian Nuckell’s Almshouses to the delightfully picturesque flint buildings remaining from what was originally the Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens. With its large village hall, pubs, local eateries, convenience store and newsagent, St Peter’s offers a wonderful community atmosphere. If you want to find out more you can always go on one of the St Peter’s Village tours and meet costumed residents providing entertaining vignettes of the area’s past. This popular village was home to the artist Walter Sickert in the 1930s as well as Annette Mills – of Muffin the Mule fame.
Minster and Monkton
The beautiful village of Minster has grown up around the original
Minster Abbey, founded by Saint Domneva in 670AD and now owned by an order of
Bavarian Benedictine nuns. The village offers everything you imagine from a rural community, with two pubs, some delightful restaurants and tea rooms where you
can enjoy a relaxing drink and a chat with your friends. It has a raft of shops
from supermarkets to greengrocers and a pharmacy to a gift centre so you need
never leave the village if you don’t want to! There are also hair and beauty
salons, an excellent veterinary centre, surgery and primary school, garage,
newsagent and post office. You even have a mainline station able to whisk you
to Canterbury, Ashford and London on the high speed rail. Minster and nearby
Monkton enjoy an all encompassing community life, with amateur dramatics, the
horticultural society, fishing, badminton, bowls and football on offer among a
myriad of other activities, there is something for everyone to get involved
with if they want to.
The sprawling village of Manston is just the place if you are looking for a rural retreat. You can enjoy the delights and privacy of the beautiful Thanet countryside but still be near enough to Westwood Cross if you fancy some retail therapy or entertainment. Even the village itself has the Jolly Farmer pub – a veritable social hub for the village – and a very active parish council, organising a variety of local events in the Village Hall and on the nearby playing fields.
Acol is a charming hamlet between Manston and Birchington. It has grown up around the original ‘big house’ – Cleve Court – and includes a variety of charming old character properties and a selection of newer houses – most of them with wonderful views across farmland and the Thanet countryside. It is rumoured that Anne of Cleves actually stayed in the original Elizabethan house – hence its name – but the present building was erected around 1720. Many interesting characters have owned the property over the years including the erstwhile Josiah Farrer who became High Sheriff of Kent at 23 and locked his wife in a cell so he could enjoy drinking and ‘ladies of the night’. Lord Carson – architect for the creation of Northern Ireland – was probably the most influential owner while Baroness Orczy (of Scarlet Pimpernel fame) was the most colourful. She used to drive her wonderful Hungarian horses three abreast through the village – much to the amazement of the locals.
Garlinge is a village on the outskirts of Margate. It was originally part of the Dent-de-lion estate fanning out from the old castle. The gate is the only part of the original building still standing but it is now surrounded by delightful converted barns. Technically the property was not a castle but a fortified manor house, initially belonging to the Dandelon or Daundelynn family and subsequently sold to Lord Holland who gave it to his second son – the famous (or infamous) Charles Fox – who was a prominent British Whig politician during the Georgian period. He supported the abolition of the slave trade and other political reforms but led a particularly scandalous private life – even for those days. (He was bankrupted twice and his father had to settle his gambling debts to the tune of £120,000 – equivalent to about £11 million of our english pounds in today’s money!)
The village has its own community feel and active residents association looking to make sure it always retains its individuality. If you don’t want to go further afield, the village includes a bakery, newsagents, barbers, a petrol station and two car workshops.
Cliffs End is so-called because it is the end of the cliff that comes from Ramsgate. It was originally part of the St Augustine’s estate and continued as part of a religious centre until 1538 and the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. The area was then owned by the Crown but eventually bought by Colonel Whitehead in 1875 and he created Cliffs End Hall, in grounds of about 27 acres. These grounds have now become the village of Cliffs End with its delightful houses with magnificent views overlooking the sea at Pegwell Bay, spilling back to the A256 road.
With the new Cliffs End bypass, the village no longer has to cope with through traffic in and out of Thanet, so has returned to being a peaceful seaside community with a convenience store and post office as well as the Sportsman pub for good food and drink. The cliff top is now home to the newly-restored Hugin – a replica of a Viking long ship that sailed from Denmark to Broadstairs in 1949 to celebrate the 1500 anniversary of the landing of Hengist and Horsa and the betrothal of Hengist’s daughter Rowena to King Vortigen of Kent. For dog walkers and bird lovers, you can enjoy the Pegwell Bay Country Park and for golfers the village includes St Augustine’s golf club.