Deal had long been on my to visit list, having heard only amazing things about the Kent seaside town. I was looking for somewhere within easy reach of London as I was treating my friend Ade to a day away for her birthday and Deal felt ideal for the both of us.
How to get there and where to stay
We caught the high speed train from London St. Pancras and arrived in Deal just an hour and 20 minutes later! You can get a super off peak day return for about £33. Deal, like many of the Kent coastal towns is super easy to explore on foot. The town high street, the sea and even Deal castle are all within easy reach of each other.
We were only in Deal for the day, but it’s somewhere you could easily make into a weekend trip. If you’re looking to spend a night there, The Rose on Deal High Street would be a perfect place to stay. It’s been a landmark on the high street for over 200 years, re-opening in May 2018 as a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar.
What to see and do
Feeling full of fish and chips we decided to take a walk along the sea front which led us to Deal Castle (Marine Rd, Walmer, CT14 7BA). As it was a beautiful sunny day, we decided to explore the castle in more detail. Deal castle was built under the order of King Henry VIII and it is said to be one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England. The castle is one of the earliest and more elaborate of a chain of coastal forts, which includes Calshot, Camber, Walmer and Pendennis Castles. You can explore the whole of the castle, from the storerooms to the first-floor captain’s residence. We had a really fun time looking around the castle and taking part in the interactive parts of the exhibitions.
The Doors of Deal
It turns out that Deal is becoming increasingly famous for its doors. Wandering down Middle Street, you’ll discover beautiful house after beautiful house. All the houses are well looked after – walls and doors are painted lovely colours and many with gorgeous flower displays on show. Definite house goals.
I think it’s fair to say Deal Pier may not match everyone’s idea of a traditional, beautiful seaside pier. The concrete construction built in 1957 is very different to Brighton’s; there are no arcades or candy floss in sight, but I really enjoyed walking along the pier. If you like fishing, you’ll love the pier as it’s a popular spot for fishing between April-November. I enjoyed seeing different generations of a family lining up with their fishing gear along the pier, sharing tips and their catch of the day stories. The pier is also great for taking in beautiful views of the beach and water.
Where to eat
Fish & Chips
For us a visit to Deal wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t stop for fish and chips. A short walk away from the market is Middle Street Fish Bar (78 Middle St, Deal CT14 6HL). Fish and chips costs just £5.50, which is unheard of in London and quite honestly it was the best fish and chips we’ve had. Ade is a tough critic when it comes to this classic dish, but we were both won over. Everything was cooked fresh and we headed up the road with our paper parcels of deliciousness to sit and eat our fish and chips with a sea view. Yep we quickly gathered an audience of seagulls, eagerly watching us for any scraps, but they were all very well behaved. If you’re planning to have fish and chips for lunch as we did, make sure to get there between 12-2 as after that they’ll be open again from 5.30-8pm (open till 8.30pm on Friday and open Tuesday to Saturday)
Victuals & Co
We didn’t end up having dinner in Deal on this occasion. Quite honestly we were still stuffed from our afternoon cake, but I very much wanted to try Victuals & Co (2-3 St. George’s Passage, CT14 6TA). The restaurant uses the best of local produce and the menu reflects what’s in season. The menu is small, but I like that. It often means those dishes are done really well. With the dishes being seasonal, the menu is likely to change often, but the restaurant will always feature a vegetarian and fish option as well as meat. I loved the concept of ‘Raid the Larder’ on a Sunday evening, where the chefs create a menu from the last service of the week. It can be any dish from the current menu or something entirely new. The idea is to make best use of their stock of ingredients to provide great value and reduce waste. I’ll definitely be trying this out on my next visit to Deal.
Not just a place to stay, The Rose has an incredible restaurant too. It’s committed to serving the best local and seasonal ingredients, with a twist on British and comfort-food classics. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is offered. The Sunday lunch looks amazing and there is also a kids menu, making it perfect for all the family.
If you want to treat yourself to an ice cream by the sea, head to Deal Beach Parlour (57 Beach St, CT14 6HY). A traditional ice cream parlour which is exactly what you’d expect when visiting the seaside. The staff are super friendly and you can get old fashioned sundaes and I saw they do club sandwiches too.
As we were in Deal to celebrate Ade’s birthday, finding somewhere to have afternoon tea was very much at the top of our list. After all you can’t celebrate a birthday without cake!! Little Harriett’s Cafe Tea Room (7 Broad St, Deal CT14 6ER) was everything we had hoped for. A lovely tea room filled with comforting furniture, vintage teacups and huge slices of homemade cake. We sat out at the little outdoor terrace at the back of the tea room and tucked into gorgeous cakes accompanied with beautiful pots of tea.
The Saturday Market is a great place to pick up everything you need for a picnic on the beach and if you get weary from wandering around and exploring all that’s on offer, there is a little coffee and drinks van with table seating. We ordered some drinks and they didn’t mind us eating some of our market purchases with our tea.
There is a little gem of a cafe next to the train station called The Post Room (Deal Train Station, Queen Street, CT14 6HD) An independent coffee and brunch bar which is great for grabbing a coffee and sandwich for the journey home.
Where to Shop
Deal High Street was voted one of the best high streets in the UK and won the Telegraph’s ‘High Street of the Year’ award. It wasn’t hard to see why. The high street is full of independent shops, charity shops, tea and cake stops and lots more. It’s a great street for pottering up and down and exploring all Deal has to offer. If you love hunting through charity shops then you’ll be spoilt for choice with charity shops full of second hand books and cute vintage tea cups. I went home with an Agatha Christie novel to add to my collection.
Exploring markets is one of my favourite things to do and Deal Saturday Market ticked all the boxes (Union Street carpark 8:30am – 3:00pm, every Saturday).You’ll find lots of incredible local produce there, from Kent flowers, fruit such as the sweetest strawberries and delicious sourdough bread!! If you go this month you’re bound to find stunning cut Dahlias in every shade. There are plenty of homeware products available at the market too. We saw lots of enamel-ware, vintage postcards, stove top kettles and retro signs and postcards. I was very tempted to leave with so many things, but we had to remind ourselves that we’d travelled down on the train so couldn’t get too carried away with our buys.
I think it’s safe to say I wanted to buy everything in the Hoxton Store (142 High Street, Deal, Kent, CT14 6BE). The store is run by Alison Whalley who originally owned the Hoxton Boutique in London’s East End for over 12 years. Alison swapped Fashion for Homewares and London for Deal, opening Hoxton Store in December 2014. Here you can shop for clothing, ceramics, faux plants, fragrances and amazing cushions. The kimonos are all swoon worthy too! So many gorgeous things to tempt you.
Deal is somewhere I’d love to visit again. I think next time I’d be very tempted to make a weekend of it and fit in a stay at The Rose too. Let me know what your favourite spots in Deal are in the comments.