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In addition to the local services, our Living in Birchington guide will give you a sense of what life is like in the seaside village – its history, its culture and its recreational activities.
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What Is Life Like In Birchington?
Birchington-on-sea is a sleepy, seaside village in the district of Thanet, north-east Kent, and is close to Herne Bay and Margate.
It’s easy to see why the village was selected by Coast Magazine as one of the ‘best and coming' seaside locations – it has a beautiful sandy beach (Minnis Bay) and laid-back lifestyle. Birchington and the areas surrounding it are popular with tourists and those looking for a slower pace of life – especially those retiring.
Bungalows are amongst the most sought-after homes, as are seaside apartments. The Avenues in Westbrook is a popular place in which to buy, and in Birchington-on-Sea itself, the roads surrounding the stunning Minnis Bay attracts those who want to live as close to the coast as possible!
History Of Birchington
Birchington-on-Sea was first listed in 1240, although archeological evidence has suggested that the area was inhabited long before then, as Roman and prehistoric artefacts have been found. Minnis Bay is thought to have been the site of an Iron Age settlement.
The village was predominantly a farming community until the 19th century when Birchington rail station opened, bringing tourists to the coast.
These times also saw nearby Westgate-on-Sea and Westbrook expand and also become firm favourite seaside resorts.
Days Out In Birchington
Birchington may be a relaxed seaside area, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not plenty to do!
Quex House is a great day out for those wanting to get a true feel of Birchington’s history. It was first owned in the 1500s by the Quekes family, who were wealthy from Kent’s wool industry – and then by the Powells in 1777. Over the years, the house has seen extensions and exciting changes, but still remains a beautiful family home, which is open to visitors throughout the summer.
Next door to Quex House, is the Powell-Cotton Museum, which was established by Percy Horace Gordon Powell-Cotton to house natural history finds from his adventures in Asia and Africa. Powell-Cotton was one of the first to display mounted animals against backdrops of their natural habitats – something that still wows guests, young and old alike!
Of course, a day out in Birchington wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of the area’s beaches – the Blue Flag award-winning beach, Minnis Bay, being a must-visit. For the adventurous, Minnis Bay has water sports including windsurfing and kitesurfing whilst, for families, there’s a children’s play area or, if sunbathing’s more your thing, relax and enjoy catching the rays on the bay’s stretch of golden sand.
With Margate less than 20 minutes’ drive from the village, there are options aplenty for days out, as the seaside town is home to the Turner Contemporary gallery, recently revived Dreamland pleasure park, Margate’s Old Town (with chilled cafés, vintage shops and chic restaurants) and the UK’s second-oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal, along with so much more!
Things To Do In Birchington
Birchington Village is believed to be one of the largest villages in the UK, and boasts amenities to go alongside this, including a large number of shops – which are located on flat ground and so accessible for those needing assistance.
Talking of shops, Westgate has stunning canopied shops, giving a nostalgic nod to its Victorian heritage. The town’s independent cinema costs only £2.50 to visit on weekdays too!
Enjoy eating out? You’re in luck, as the area has plenty of places serving delicious dishes, for all budgets. Westbay Café on the seafront in Westgate is a wonderful place to enjoy a big breakfast or light lunch, whilst overlooking the bay. The Minnis Bay and Brasserie also offers spectacular views, and specialises in seafood and serving locally-sourced produce. The Smugglers Lounge Bar and Restaurant in Birchington Village offers dining in a comfortable yet sumptuous environment.For active residents, Birchington has both a tennis and bowling club and then there’s Westgate-on-Sea’s popular golf course with stunning views out over the Kent coastline.
Schools In Birchington
Birchington has several excellent schools located nearby.
Primary & first schools include:
- Birchington Church of England Primary School
- St. Nicholas At Wade Church Of England Primary School
Secondary schools include:
- King Ethelbert School
Transport In Birchington
Birchington has fantastic transport and road links to London and the Kent coast.
Birchington-on-Sea Rail Station has direct services to London Victoria (in 1 hour and 45 minutes), St Pancras International (1 hour and 35 minutes), Faversham (25 minutes) and Ramsgate (20 minutes). Nearby Westgate-on-Sea station is also served by the Victoria, Faversham and Ramsgate routes.
Buses and coaches
East Kent offers a substantial number of buses running regularly to Canterbury, Margate, Westwood and nearby Kent towns.
Birchington is also served by National Express coaches on routes running to London, Ramsgate, Maidstone, Gatwick Airport and Margate.
The nearest airport to Birchington is London City, just 68 miles drive away. Gatwick is 74 miles and Heathrow is 94 miles from the village.
Birchington is located just off the Thanet Way, providing great access to Canterbury (27 minutes), Whitsable (20 minutes) and London (90 minutes).