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As well as uncovering local services, our Living In Herne Bay guide will give you a sense of what life is like in the seaside town – its history, its culture and its recreational activities.
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What Is Life Like In Herne Bay?
Herne Bay is a beautiful seaside town with a charming coastline spanning two miles of glorious golden beaches. Located only seven miles from historic Canterbury, this quaint town mixes relaxing award-winning beaches with all the fun of a nostalgic seaside resort.
Unsurprisingly, Herne Bay is popular with retirees and those seeking a laid-back lifestyle filled with beach strolls, sea air and a café culture.
The town is also home to the world’s first free-standing clock tower and has the second longest pier in the UK.
History Of Herne Bay
Taking its name from the village of Herne (2km inland), Herne Bay began as a shipping community, focusing on transporting goods and passengers from London en route to Canterbury and Dover. Boats also came from Newcastle carrying coal.
One of the town’s oldest buildings is the Ship Inn, which opened in the 18th century and was a favourite hotspot amongst the fishing and farming communities.
From the 1830s, Herne Bay attracted the attention of a group of London-based investors and since then has become a well-known seaside town. The wooden pier and promenade were built first and then, with the railway opening, its popularity grew. So much so that, in the decade before 1841, the population had grown from 1,876 to 3,041.
The town’s iconic 75 ft. clock tower on the seafront (believed to be the first freestanding clock tower in the world) was built after wealthy London resident Mrs. Ann Thwaytes donated £4,000 in 1837.
Since then, the area has continued to attract and delight tourists of all ages with its traditional charm and calming atmosphere.
Days Out In Herne Bay
Whether you fancy spending days exploring historical forts and wildlife attractions or prefer having a TLC time-out on the beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Herne Bay!
Reculver Towers and Roman Fort dominate the skyline of Herne Bay. The site is one of the first Roman Forts built against Saxon raids and later became the site of an Anglo-Saxon Monastery and then the Reculver parish church. Now owned by English Heritage, the remaining towers and fort can be explored by the public and is well worth a visit, if not for the view across the bay alone!
For nature-lovers, a trip to Wildwood, a British wildlife park with over 200 native species, is a must. See if you can spot the park’s resident wolves, bison, owls, foxes, wild horses, red squirrels and more, whilst walking through 40 acres of ancient woodland.
For sun-worshippers, what can be better than spending a day on Herne Bay’s quintessential British beach? East Kent has higher temperatures than the UK average and lower than average rainfall, so it’s the perfect spot to catch some sunshine during the summer months. The traditional resort is lined with Victorian architecture, coloured beach huts and plenty of places to pick up some fish and chips!
Things To Do In Herne Bay
Herne Bay boasts plenty of shopping options, from independent boutiques to farmers’ markets and high-street names such as Boots and New Look on the largely pedestrianised Mortimer Street. There are also many coffee shops to indulge in some post-shopping refreshment and in which to watch the world go by.
The Kavanagh is an independent cinema showcasing the latest releases and is a popular place for all ages to visit, as is The Heron’s Leisure Centre. With a swimming pool, new gym, and range of fitness and family classes, all your fitness, fun and relaxation needs are catered for.
Speaking of being catered for, Herne Bay has a whole host of restaurants serving traditional and international cuisine. The Green Door Deli is a great place for a filling and delicious lunch, whilst the Oyster and Chop House offers seafood and The Wallflower Café is a welcome delight for vegans and those with dietary requirements.
Schools In Herne Bay
Herne Bay has fantastic schools and educational facilities nearby. These include:
Primary and first schools:
- Briary Primary School
- Hampton Primary School
- Herne Bay Infant School
- Herne Bay Junior School
- Herne C. of E. Infant School
- Herne C. of E. Junior School
- Reculver C. of E. Primary School
- Herne Bay High School
- The Community College Whitstable
Transport In Herne Bay
Herne Bay is well-connected with trains, buses and roads running to nearby towns.
Herne Bay station is served by services to London St. Pancras (in 86 minutes), London Victoria (98 minutes), Ramsgate (27 minutes) and Faversham (15 minutes).
Buses and coaches
Stagecoach in East Kent operates regular routes (some as often as every 10 minutes) throughout Herne Bay to Whitstable and Canterbury. There is also an hourly service to Margate.
The closest airport to Herne Bay is London City Airport, approximately 65 miles away.
The Thanet Way (A299) between Ramsgate and Faversham runs via Herne Bay. London is accessible via the M2 and A2 in 90 minutes.