Ramsgate Tourist Guide
Ramsgate is a seaside town on the Isle of Thanet in East Kent. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque Ports. It has a population of around 39,600.
Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast and Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. The town centre is set above the charming waterfront and fronted by Regency and Victorian terraces. Although steeped in history, Ramsgate’s modern town centre offers everything for today’s visitors from gift shops to great restaurants.
Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet. It was the reputed landing place of the invading Anglo-Saxon warriors Hengist and Horsa in AD 449. Ramsgate as a name has its earliest reference as Hraefn's ate, or cliff gap, later to be rendered 'Ramisgate' or 'Remmesgate' around 1225 and 'Ramesgate' from 1357. The Christian missionary St. Augustine landed in Ramsgate in 597 which marked the beginning of Christianity in England.
Ramsgate's harbour is the central feature of the town. The building of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The harbour has the unique distinction of being the only royal harbour in the United Kingdom. Ramsgate was granted ‘royal’ status for its harbour in 1821 in recognition of the hospitality given to King George IV when he sailed from Ramsgate with the Royal Squadron on his way to Hanover. Because of its closeness to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.
In 1915-1916 early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston as a site for emergency landings. The position near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over the other earlier established aerodromes. By 1917 the Royal Flying Corps was up and running and taking an active part in the defence of England. The aerodrome played an important role in the Second World War and is now known as Kent International Airport.
The town has a thriving marina with over 800 moorings and a range of marine-related businesses that operate in premises in the renovated arches under Royal Parade. Port Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years. In the past Sally Ferries provided a service of passenger and car ferries to Dunkirk. At present a service of primarily freight is provided to Oostende.
Ramsgate's chief attraction is its coastline, particularly Ramsgate Main Sands, which was awarded a 2006 Blue Flag, assuring high standards of cleanliness and general beach management. This sandy family beach has plenty of children's attractions and bathing to enjoy, with cafes, seafood restaurants and public houses. There are enjoyable coastal walks/cycling to Broadstairs and Pegwell Bay, as well as around the historic seafront and harbour.
There is an annual Powerboat Grand Prix event based out of the harbour of Ramsgate during the summer. Ramsgate carnival is a popular annual parade also during the summer.
Ramsgate is connected to the national road network chiefly through the A299 which continues onto the M2/A2 for the M25 and London. The A256 provides a link to Dover and onwards onto the A20 for the Channel Tunnel. Ramsgate railway station is situated at the top of the town near the parish of St Lawrence. Trains from the station run to London Charing Cross and London Victoria. Commuting time to the capital is 1 hour 50 minutes. The trains pass via Margate, Chatham and Bromley South, or via Canterbury West or Dover Priory and Ashford International. Ramsgate railway station is operated by Southeastern (train operating company). The town is situated directly under the flight path of Kent International Airport at Manston.
The Maritime Museum is situated in the Clock House on the quayside of Ramsgate harbour. A museum devoted to the maritime heritage of East Kent, with permanent displays and temporary exhibitions on the fishing industry, World Wards I and II, navigation etc. Ship models and cannons, plus a marine archaeological collection of unique finds from late Stuart Warships wrecked on the nearby Goodwin Sands can be seen. There are four permanent galleries covering the development of the harbour, navigation, fishing, lifeboats and shipwrecks. A fifth exhibition space houses a 17th century 32-pounder demi-cannon raised from the wreck of the Stirling Castle. Tel: +44(0)1843 570622
The town has three prominent churches. The first building used for worship in the Thanet parish of 'St Lawrence' was at St Laurence-in-Thanet, built in 1062 and rebuilt during the following centuries with the most noteworthy changes being in the 16th century. The second important church is St Augustine's, which is situated on the town's west cliff. Considered one of the most majestic and individual surviving, it was designed by Augustus Pugin in 1847 in the neo-Gothic style. Its dedication commemorates Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who landed at Ramsgate in AD 596 and brought Christianity to Britain. Thirdly, the town's parish church of St George is to be found just off the town's High Street. Its lantern tower was added at the request of Trinity House as a navigational aid to passing ships and looks over the town. The ground was consecrated on 23 October 1827.
The Port of Ramsgate features a 700 berth Royal Harbour Marina with amenities designed to meet the most discriminating boaters. As Kent’s foremost marina it offers people the kind of welcome you would expect from the UK’s only Royal Harbour. In 2006 the marina once again achieved the celebrated Four Gold Anchor Award, evidence of its commitment to provide the best in customer care and facilities. Situated just 35 miles from the French coast the marina is on the doorstep of the continent, a connection reflected in the cosmopolitan cafes and bars lining the scenic waterfront. One of the largest municipal ports in England and Wales, the Port of Ramsgate now provides the only passenger ferry service between the Channel ports and Belgium. Operated by TransEuropa, passengers can choose from eight sailings a day between Ramsgate and Ostend. Freight services have been operated by TransEuropa between the two ports since 1998 and currently six ships make the crossing up to 20 times a day.
Founded in 670, Minster Abbey in Minster-in-Thanet was destroyed in 840 and restored in 1027. Two wings of the old building with Norman crypt contain the ruin of a church tower. The Abbey is now the home to a community of Benedictine Nuns. There is a chapel, completed in 1994, built in keeping with the style of the ancient house, which is a place of silent prayer and worship. Tel: +44 01843 821254
RAF History Museum in Manston Road has a large number of exhibits. Check out its website at www.rafmanston.co.uk.
The Granville Cinema is the town's sole cinema. It has 2 screens. The cinema is located in Victoria Parade. Tel: +44(0)1843 591750.
Westcliff Leisure Park Royal Esplanade is a family based company catering for all ages. There is a licensed restaurant, children's adventure playground, boating pool, arcades and bar/cafeteria. Plenty of free parking makes this truly a place for everyone.
At Stonelees Golf Centre in Ebbsfleet Lane everyone is welcome to use the many practice facilities, including the floodlit driving range, chipping area, bunker and putting green. There is a fully licensed bar and restaurant where staff are happy to cater to everyone’s needs after their round of golf. Open 7 days a week from 8am – 10pm (Driving Range 10am – 10pm weekdays, 9am – 10pm weekends). Visitors and groups are welcome.
Invicta Cars, 4B York Street Tel: 01843 588588
Central Cars, 4B York Street Tel: 01843 585585
Invicta Taxis Ltd, Ralph House/4B York Street Tel: 01843 595595
Ambassador Cars, 3 Barnett Court, Minster Tel: 01843 826255
Star Cars, The Barn, Turner Street Tel: 01843 584757
Dee-Lux Taxis, 5-7 Allenby Road Tel: 01843 581612
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, St Peters Road, Margate Tel: 01843 225544
Vale Square Dental Practice, 44 Vale Square Tel: 01843 591083
Hamill Family Dental Practice, 73 Hereson Road Tel: 01843 581666
Dumpton Park Dental Centre, 246 Hereson Road Tel: 01843 591694
Ali S M & Associates, 131 High Street Tel: 01843 592423
Abbey, 40 High Street Tel: 0845 765 4321
Nationwide Building Society, 52-54 High Street Tel: 01843 250200
Natwest, Po Box 123, Ramsgate, CT11 9DQ Tel: 0845 600 2803
Barclays Bank, 11-13 Queen Street Tel: 0845 755 5555
Lloyds TSB Bank, 1-7 Queen Street Tel: 0845 300 0000
HSBC Bank, 1-3 High Street Tel: 0845 740 4404
Woolwich, 19 Queen Street Tel: 01843 583611
Halifax Plc, 2 Queen Street Tel: 0870 600 5000
Ramsgate Market days are Fridays and Saturdays and is situated in the pedestrianised areas of the Town centre just off the seafront namely High Street, Queen Street, King Street and Cavendish Street. The market is busy all year round but more so during the Summer period obviously being a resort.
To check any details visit or contact Ramsgate Tourist Information Centre at 17 Albert Court, York Street, Ramsgate CT11 9DN Tel: +44 (0)1843 583333
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015