While Kent is known as the “Garden of England” due to its luscious green countryside, it’s the coastal landscapes that attract many visitors to the county.
With popular seaside destinations like Whitstable, Margate, and Broadstairs along its coastlines, Kent has many places worth visiting if you’re after some time by the sea.
Along with the many charming towns and villages, there are many beaches in Kent that offer the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the sea air.
Whether you’re looking for the best things to do in Kent for couples, fun family days out, or just want to explore different places, heading to locations such as Tankerton Beach or Viking Bay is always a good option.
If you’re planning a trip to this county, make sure to check out our top recommendations for the best beaches in Kent.
1. Whitstable Beach
Famous for its oysters and charming seaside charm, Whitstable Beach is a must-visit for seafood lovers and beach enthusiasts.
As one of the most popular UK coastal breaks for couples and anyone looking getaway for a trip to the seaside in the southeast of England, Whitstable comes alive in summer especially, and its beach is a hotspot for anyone looking to enjoy the sun and sea.
There are plenty of amenities by the beach, with pubs, ice cream vans, and other places to eat all along the seafront.
You’ll also be able to see the nets of the oyster farms when the tide is low, as well as the Isle of Sheppey in the distance, making this one of the more unique beaches in Kent.
2. Tankerton Beach
Very close to Whitstable, on a stretch of coast that faces north and offers views of the Essex coastline on a clear day, is Tankerton Beach.
As a quieter alternative to Whitstable Beach, you’ll find plenty of places to relax away from the crowds on this pebbly beach, amongst the many groynes.
It stretches a long way to Swalecliffe, and the further away from Whitstable the quieter it’ll be.
With many multi-coloured beach houses by the beach, it’s one of the most picturesque beaches in Kent.
3. Minster Leas Beach
The Isle of Sheppey is a less-explored area of Kent that contains numerous coastal environments, including some amazing nature reserves.
Leysdown Beach on the east coast of the island is one of the most popular spots, receiving many holiday-makers, and Sheerness has another of the busiest beaches on Sheppey, but it’s Minster Leas Beach which is the nicest in the area.
Minster on Sea is a small town and you won’t find many shops or places to get a refreshment (although The Playa is a great pub to grab lunch), but this just increases the solitude and makes it one of the most peaceful beaches in Kent.
4. Viking Bay
Situated in the heart of Broadstairs, the golden sands of Viking Bay makes it one of the most beautiful beaches in Kent.
The crescent-shaped bay keeps the beach sheltered, and you’ll appreciate the views as you head down the stairs from the promenade.
With its shallow waters and lifeguard presence, it’s also a safe spot for families with young children, and a day at the beach here is one of the best free things to do in Broadstairs.
As Broadstairs is a popular destination for seaside getaways, the relatively small beach at Viking Bay can get busy during summer, so we’d recommend visiting out of season.
5. Botany Bay
Just around the coast from Broadstairs, Botany Bay is a captivating beach renowned for its dramatic white cliffs and crystal-clear waters.
Its picturesque rock pools and golden sands create a perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic, as well as being a great spot for fossil hunting.
With fascinating rock formations and stunning sunsets, Botany Bay is an idyllic spot for nature lovers and photographers seeking dramatic coastal landscapes.
6. Joss Bay
Located between Botany Bay and Viking Bay at Broadstairs, Joss Bay is a favourite among surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
This 200-metre-long sandy cove, backed by rugged cliffs, often has the perfect waves and ideal conditions for both beginners and experienced surfers.
A car park and cafe right by the beach also make this an easily-accessible location to head to.
7. Margate Beach
As one of the most popular beaches in Kent, Margate Beach has been attracting visitors for centuries, with unique attractions such as the fun-filled Dreamland making Margate a go-to seaside resort.
The expansive sandy beach has plenty of space lay down a beach towel and enjoy the sun or try out a range of activities, from building sandcastles to playing beach volleyball.
You’ll also find many amusement arcades along the seafront, as well as cafes and other interesting places to visit such as the Turner Contemporary art gallery.
8. Dungeness Beach
For a beach experience like no other, head to Dungeness, a unique and otherworldly location on the coast of Kent.
Famous for its vast shingle expanse, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, with a diverse array of plant and bird species to discover, especially at the Dungeness Nature Reserve nearby.
Access to the beach is across a wooden boardwalk which takes you across the shingles, and the historic lighthouse makes this one of the most fascinating beaches in Kent to visit.
9. Minnis Bay
On the north coast of the county, Minnis is widely regarded by the locals as one of the nicest beaches in Kent, with a long stretch of sand catering to the preferences of all beach enthusiasts.
You can have a go at stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and wakeboarding, when conditions are right, and the tidal pool is a fun place for a dip.
Additionally, the four-mile path to Margate serves as a convenient rest point for cyclists exploring the Viking Coastal Trail, while the nearby town of Birchington-on-Sea offers all the amenities you could need.
10. St Margaret’s Bay
Near Dover, right at the south-east corner of the UK, St Margaret’s Bay is another of the most beautiful beaches in Kent.
The bay is the first place in mainland Britain that the sun reaches in the morning, so if you don’t mind an early wake-up, it’s a magical spot to watch the sunrise.
With the white cliffs of Dover behind and France in view across the English Channel, it’s a picturesque spot to enjoy some time by the sea. Plus, you can visit the historic South Foreland Lighthouse or take a walk along the cliffs to Dover.
Kent beaches FAQs
Are there any dog-friendly beaches in Kent?
There are several dog-friendly beaches in Kent, including Dumpton Gap, Minnis Bay, Westbrook Bay, and Tankerton Beach. However, it’s always advisable to check local regulations and any specific restrictions or guidelines regarding dogs on the beach before visiting, especially as some restrictions are seasonal.
Are there facilities available at the beaches in Kent?
Many of the best beaches in Kent offer facilities such as public toilets and cafes, especially when located near towns. However, the availability and specific facilities may vary from beach to beach, so make sure to research the amenities at a particular beach beforehand.
What are the more hidden or lesser-known beaches in Kent that are worth exploring?
There are some hidden or lesser-known beaches in Kent that are worth exploring, such as Botany Bay, which features stunning chalk cliffs and rock formations.
Shellness Beach, located on the Isle of Sheppey, is known for its tranquillity and seclusion due to its relatively remote location. Dungeness Beach, with its unique landscape and picturesque lighthouse, is another off-the-beaten-path destination.