The 'Kate Escape'

One of the big advantages of having a Royal Wedding this month as well as Easter is that we all get an extra Bank Holiday, so what better time now Spring's in the air to be up, out and enjoying the great outdoors

The ‘Kate Escape’

One of the big advantages of having a Royal Wedding this month as well as Easter is that we all get an extra Bank Holiday, so what better time now Spring’s in the air to be up, out and enjoying the great outdoors in Kent

With high-speed rail services from London St Pancras, the scene is set for a top activity break in a favourite part of Kent - Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

Journey times to the Isle of Thanet in Kent are just over an hour on board the new hi- tech trains so take your pick from fresh air and fun in the open (water sports and horse riding are top of the list) or if you fancy an indoor activity, there are some very accessible arts courses.

WATER SPORTS

SAILING    

Most Read

Thanet’s association with sailing goes back centuries and it’s home to the country’s only royal harbour at Ramsgate. Learning to sail opens up a whole new world and the good news is there’s plenty of help at hand to get you started, from practical courses to individual demos. Basic sailing principles can be learnt in a day or so but you’ll need quite a bit longer mastering the art of sailing well.

Pick of the bunch

Royal Temple Yacht Club, Ramsgate CT 11 9H1

Welcomes new members and will give you both the theory and the practical tuition. Founded in 1857, the club organises Ramsgate Week, the popular annual event regarded as the alternative Cowes.

01843 591766.

Margate Yacht Club, CT9 1HD

Family sailing club with members of all ages. Dinghy and cruiser sailing takes place at weekends and some evenings in the week.

07816 098166 Andrew Hudson

Broadstairs Sailing Club, CT10 1EU

Provides a range of training, dinghy sailing and racing activities for families, couples and individuals.

01843 861373.

Minnis Bay Sailing Club, near Birchington CT7 9QP

Dinghy and catamaran club geared to racing or cruising. Welcomes new members.

01843 841588

SURFING

Thanet has a great surfing heritage as the isle is unique in offering beaches that face north east and south, meaning they pick up the North Sea swells as well as channel swells. Surfers have been riding the waves at Joss Bay, Broadstairs for more than 40 years and this classic surf spot is suitable for all levels of surfer.

Pick of the bunch

Joss Bay Surf School, Broadstairs CT10 3PA

Provides courses for beginners, either on a one-to-one basis or group lessons (maximum of eight), led by a British Surfing Association instructor. Refresher courses are also available. One of only a handful of surf schools in England to provide lessons for the disabled.

07812 991195 Dave Melmoth

Kent Surf School, Broadstairs CT10 1SW

Based at Viking Bay, which is a safe and friendly place to learn to surf. Affiliated to the Surf Hire Safety Scheme set up by the RNLI and the BSA to make surf hire safer. 07970 870098 Dan Chapman

KITESURFING

Kitesurfing is a new water sport, its very simplicity making it challenging. Your body is the only connection between the kite and the board so you have to pilot the kite and steer the board on the water at the same time. Favourite riding style is freeride and most boards are designed for this, enabling kite surfers of any ability to take to the water.

Pick of the bunch

Ride Kite Surfing – variety of beaches around Thanet. Most popular: Minnis Bay, near Birchington CT7 9QP and Pegwell Bay, Broadstairs CT12 5JE.

The school offers a range of courses but if you can’t find what you’re looking for it will tailor one to suit your needs. One of the fastest growing and, the school says, the easiest water sports to learn.

07977 147115 Perry Lamb

SCUBA DIVING

There’s no better way to watch marine life close up than this!

Pick of the bunch

Kent Scuba Diving Club, Margate CT9 2PT

Welcomes new members. Beginners start off with a poolside safety lesson and pool dives and then graduate to the waters. Once you’re in at the deep end there’s plenty to see including crabs and crayfish, lobsters, sea anemones and a lot more! If you take the Open Water course you can dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres deep.

01843 297430. 

WINDSURFING

You don’t need to be a good athlete to enjoy windsurfing and it’s suitable for the young and not so young, no matter what level of ability you have. Boards for beginners are extremely light (12g) and can be handled and launched without having to take a body-building course!

Pick of the bunch

Minnis Bay Windsurfing Club, near Birchington CT7 9QP

Friendly recreational water sports club which actively encourages people of all ages to take up the sport. The club has a rescue boat and free car parking for members.

01843 833042. 

WATER SKIING

Water skiing is fun and challenging and the perfect activity for sheltered bays as the expanse of water must be wave-free. Standard skis are now made of fibreglass-based materials rather than the original wood.

Pick of the bunch

Foreness Water Ski Club, Margate CT9 3SE

The club’s amazing location is a large natural bay below the shelter of chalk cliffs which protects it from the elements. The water is accessible at all phases of the tide using the club tractor facility.

Chris Lucy at chris@waterskiclub.co.uk

JET SKIING

Joining the jet set will give you plenty of thrills as you speed across the water. A mix of water skiing and speedboat driving, with jet skis you’re standing so the sport is all about mastering the art of weight distribution. Be aware of the speed limit!

Pick of the bunch

Jet Ski World, Margate CT9 3EL

Now open all year round so follow a blast on the open sea with a hot meal in the Jetski Caf�.

01843 231703 David Osbourn

HORSE RIDING

Horse riding is a hobby enjoyed by all ages and although many take to the saddle when they’re young more of us, it seems, are turning to it in later life.

Pick of the bunch

Manston Riding Centre, Alland Grange, near Ramsgate CT12 5BX

Friendly riding centre open seven days a week with lessons for all ages and abilities from four upwards. Hacking also available on one of the local beaches or in the countryside.

01843 823622

Nelson Park Riding Centre, Manston CT7 OHJ

Friendly, family-run business and the largest horse and pony riding centre in the south east. More than four acres of cross-country course with jumps available. Approved by the British Horse Society and the Association of British Riding Schools.

01843 822251 Sarah Catterall

ART FOR EVERYONE

There’s something very enticing about trying your hand at one of the popular art forms. Age is no barrier!

Pick of the bunch

Flint House Art Courses, Broadstairs CT10 1ET

Courses available on mosaic with Martin Cheek, portraiture and still life with Margaret Foreman, and watercolour with Cherryl Fountain. All tutors are experienced, well-known artists in their particular fields. Courses take place in the spacious, light and airy studio and excellent lunches are included in the course fee. 01843 861958

Meltdowns, Ramsgate CT11 OQ2

Innovative international arts studio established by artists Sarah Craske and Stephen Melton with courses, project space and workshop opportunities.

01843 580083.

Art for All, Margate CT9 1DH

Workshops in pottery, watercolours and mosaics for all age groups in a fun and friendly environment created by Helen Price and Christine Pettet who also work with local schools, special schools and community groups.

07878 776196.

Where can I stay?

 

MARGATE

Hot picks for water sports enthusiasts

White Lodge, Westgate CT8 8PE

Small, friendly guest house run by Heather and Ian Johnson only 100 yards from Westgate’s sandy bay. Two doubles, one twin, three family and two ground-floor rooms, all en suite with Wi-Fi. Winner of Pride in Thanet Tourism Awards 2010.

01843 831828

BROADSTAIRS

Hot pick for luxury

Royal Albion Hotel, Broadstairs CT10 1AN

Major refurbishment and modernisation project has revived the glory of this historic Shepherd Neame hotel’s heyday when it was a prime destination for well-heeled Victorians. Unrivalled seafront position only a few steps from sandy Viking Bay. The rooms have undergone a �1m transformation with luxury bathroom suites and opulent soft furnishings.

01843 868071

Hot pick for accessibility

The Fayreness Hotel, Broadstairs CT10 3LG

Stunning cliff top location overlooking Kingsgate Bay with 29 en suite rooms and a sea-view restaurant. Direct phone lines and free internet connection. The hotel is adjacent to the famous North Foreland Golf Club. Call 01843 868641.

RAMSGATE

Hot pick for self-catering

Manston Court, Ramsgate CT12 5AU

Home to three handsome self-catering properties: Annie’s Cottage (sleeps up to four), Well Cottage (ideal for a couple or a small family) and The Chapel (a beautiful 13th- century Grade II listed building, sleeps up to 10).

01843 823371

Hot pick for B&B

Glendevon Court, Ramsgate CT11 8DB

Four-star guest house which also has self-catering facilities but then you’d miss out on Charlie’s famous full English breakfasts including bread baked on the premises! Six rooms all with free Wi-Fi (and hypo-allergenic, anti bed-bug mattresses.)

01843 570909.

Hot pick for style

Royal Harbour Hotel, Ramsgate CT1 9JF

Two adjoining Georgian Grade II listed townhouses in Ramsgate’s best known historic garden crescent, Nelson Crescent. Many of the rooms have great views over the harbour, the yacht marina and the English Channel, some even with their own private balcony. Noted for its appetising breakfasts and original artwork.

01843 591514.