Picking up from our walk around Thanet our next section to explore was to be Ramsgate Royal Harbour.
We parked in the residential area at the top of the slope leading into the centre of Ramsgate and walked along the cliff top down into the harbour. The weather was mild and sunny and the harbour held a peaceful Sunday atmosphere. You could feel it was a day off, a fun day and it excited us.
One of my favourite things to do when strolling around a harbour is to look at the boats, check out the most expensive one and wonder who it could belong to. Ramsgate was no different and offered some splendid examples that are way out of my wage packet.
Ramsgate Royal Harbour
Ramsgate Harbour is the only harbour in the United Kingdom awarded the right to call itself a Royal Harbour. This was bestowed by King George IV after he was taken by the hospitality shown by the people of Ramsgate when he used the harbour to depart and return with the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1821.
On the quayside there is a Clock House which is home to the Ramsgate meridian, 5 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of Greenwich meantime. The Clock House is also home to Ramsgate Maritime Museum which gives an introduction to the town’s important maritime past.
We didn’t call in this time as the weather was so nice, we chose to walk along the seafront and see if we could find anything else for future visits.
We passed by Peter’s Fish Factory and spotted this wonderful Fresh Seafood van offering all sorts of delicious food.
Further on we came to the coast where there is a lovely beach with a park and amusements for children.
Along the promenade there are paintings on the wall, each of us had fun choosing our favourites and the girls stopped to read some as they passed by.
Walking along a little bit further threw up two fantastic surprises, the first, a colourful Rainbow staircase painted by a local school to brighten up the huge concrete wall…
and then, hidden in that concrete wall are the Ramsgate Tunnels!
We did venture into the tunnels a bit and I found out that there are tours of the tunnels which is better to book yourself on, especially in high season. We all promised to return another time to explore.
In a nutshell the Ramsgate tunnels were created to house people during the war. 60,000 people could find shelter here and there were over 1000 permanent residents at one time.
The Ramsgate Arches
We started to make our way back to the car and walked alongside the harbour taking in the fabulous Ramsgate Arches which are now homes to restaurants, art shops and vintage stores. The arches start off quite small as you can see from the first photo.
You can also see the emblem of the Cinque Ports of which Ramsgate is considered to be a Limb of one of the ports.
Ramsgate Home for Smack Boys
Another place of interest we noted on our walk was the Ramsgate Home for Smack Boys which in a first instance can give off some distressing ideas of what this could possibly be but a little investigation proved that the smack boys were apprentices to the fishing smack skippers of Ramsgate.
Lastly was the pretty and peaceful Sailor’s Church.
The Sailors’ Church and Harbour Mission was built in 1878 by Canon Eustace Brenan, vicar of the nearby Christ Church. He was aware how hard and dangerous the Smack Boys work was and their need for physical help and spiritual guidance. He built the church so when the Smack Boys came ashore they could find comfort in the rooms above the church.
I loved the look of this old building on the harbour but haven’t been able to find out yet what it once was. A nightclub? An amusement arcade? The statues are still in almost perfect condition and although the building needs a lot of restoring I hope somebody does take the project on.
One last spot was on the wall of a home where our car was parked. A blue plaque informing us that Charles Darwin had visited Ramsgate and stayed in this house. The twins have heard and talked about Charles Darwin at school so were excited to find he’d been here too.