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Image for Herne Bay: The Place to Visit this Summer

Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 21st June 2018

Herne Bay: The Place to Visit this Summer

Herne Bay has been changing at an extraordinary pace over the last five years. This rather sleepy, neglected little seaside town is now wide-awake, blossoming into a vibrant visitor attraction and listed in national papers in top slot as one of the best places to buy a home .

Local people are enthusiastic about the regeneration of Herne Bay and what is so remarkable is that the many local volunteers are working so well together towards a common goal – rejuvenating their seaside heritage.

Herne Bay Pier is bringing in lots of visitors and the lovely seafront is bustling. The town has developed a strong focus on art and music with Beach Creative, another successful volunteer initiative, leading the way. There are several galleries including the King’s Hall, Beach Creative and the Bay Gallery, which is not surprising as the county’s coast has always attracted artists to take advantage of those breath-taking sunsets over the sea, which JMW Turner so loved.

Herne Bay still has all the things which made it a famous seaside resort a century ago – safe sandy/pebble beaches which stretch for miles from Hampton to Reculver, stunning walks and cycle paths across the cliffs and several beaches which offer safe, clean bathing.

Bay Watch

Over the last six years, volunteers have spearheaded many projects to restore parts of the town’s heritage. Friends of the Clocktower secured Heritage Lottery funding to completely restore what was the first freestanding clock tower with its mosaic plaza.

This year, a new group, Friends of the King’s Hall, has been formed to protect another seaside gem from closure or sale. This lovely Edwardian theatre and hall at the east end of the beach needs an enthusiastic group to take it over from the council and regenerate it into a thriving community asset and visitor attraction just as they have done for the pier.

Proud of our pier!

In just four years, the HB Trust has transformed Herne Bay Pier from desolate, empty tarmac into a vibrant visitor attraction. Run and financed entirely by unpaid volunteers, the Trust has built 30 pretty white huts for start-up businesses to sell quality products ranging from gifts, floristry, children’s goods, seaside related articles, clothes and nibbles. The popular children’s activities include a traditional carousel and helter- skelter, bouncy castle, water boats and bunjee for kids!

The pier’s excellent food court provides lots of tasty meals – Thai, Californian, Italian, fresh seafood, Caribbean, ice cream, desserts and a traditional fish and chips cafe. It also has plenty of sheltered seating and stunning views for those who simply want to enjoy the sunshine and sea.

2018 sees the additions of a large fully-equipped stage for community and commercial events and a wedding venue on the pier as well as many music and art events every weekend – something for all the family. Last year, Herne Bay Pier won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence as a visitor attraction and was featured on ITV in May 2018.

Once the second longest pier in UK, the HB Pier Trust, a registered charity, will now be looking for funding to build on another walkway and a second platform heading out towards that tantalising former cafe we can see stranded a mile out at sea.

A Summer of Fun

Starting with a regatta on 28th-29th July, BayFest 2018 is a month-long festival run by the people for the people. Last year, the town took over the festival extending it from two weeks to four with great success.

Throughout the summer, BayFest 2018 includes:

- A Xarnival
- Herne Bay Rocks Bands’ Competition
- Fireworks
- Many Art Events
- A Lantern Parade
- A Jazz Festival
- A Classic Car Show
- Cartoon Festival
- Food & Craft Fair
- Beach Hut Day
- Herne Bay’s Got Talent on the Pier

The Regatta on the 28th-29th July brings together the rowing club, the two sailing clubs, the Pier to Pier Big Swim and many shore and pier events for all the family to enjoy.

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