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Insider Guide: Deal

Complete with beach, fine food and shopping, Deal is proving to be a worthy contender as one of the coolest beach towns in Kent

EAT | DRINK | STAY | WALK | SHOP | KIDS | QUIRKY | CULTURE

(photographed by Seth Carnill)

Here is the lowdown on how to make the most out of your trip to Deal be it travelling with little ones, shopping and cocktails trip with the girls or a gourmet break with Mr Muddy.

EAT

This fab foodie destination at the end of Deal’s iconic pier is one of THE best spots to eat in town with fresh and organic food PLUS it’s dog-friendly. Deal Pier Kitchen has cultivated a reputation for great breakfast, brunch and lunch delicacies, showcasing local produce as well as a wide variety of Gluten Free, Vegan and Vegetarian dishes. The perfect destination to go with the kids and dog after a bracing walk along the beach.

Deal Pier Kitchen

Or there’s The Rose – which is an 8-bedroom boutique hotel with oodles of artistic charm – and where the kitchen credentials here are red hot too. With Nuno Mendes (previously of Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone) onboard as executive chef, where he collaborates on menus with The Rose head chefs Luke Green and David Gadd. The menu showcases seasonal dishes with a twist and, not surprisingly, seafood features prominently. This is a destination dining spot in its own right, whether you’re staying the night or not.

You’ll also want to know about 81 Beach Street, a fine-dining restaurant by the beach here in Deal who has been operating for the past 17 years so they really know their local produce and suppliers. Its Catch of the Day is one of their most popular dishes and their fish comes in fresh every day from Jenkins – the local fishmonger and you will find the same deal for their meat and veg. You could easily come with a big crowd, including kids, and not feel on top of people or for a cozy date night especially if you get a table by the window.

81 Beach Street

Technically closer to France than London, it should come as no surprise that there is a deli in Deal selling a mouth-watering selection of French cheeses, olives, cold meats, freshly baked breads and quiches etc… No Name Shop is on the High Street, a five-minute stroll from the beach, plus it also has a sister restaurant in Sandwich with an attached bistro should you be sticking around for a couple of days and wish to do a bit of beach hopping.

Frog&Scot, a French bistro situated in the heart of Deal. Run by a Frog (Benoit Dezecot) and a Scot (Benoit’s partner Sarah Ross), you can expect to feast on dishes such as rock oysters, seared scallops and baked halibut served with asparagus veloute so maybe leave the ankle-biters behind for this one.

Frog & Scott

Deal has no shortage in fine-food options as there is also Victuals and Co, positioned down a pretty, little passageway off the High Street, which has a small and frequently changing menu, and is well-known for its popular ‘Raid the Larder’ held on Sunday evenings where dishes are often made up on the spot.

DRINK

Be sure to start or end your night at The Lane  – a cocktail bar-cum-restaurant-cum- café-cum brunch spot-cum afternoon tea destination – you get the picture. The Lane caters for all tastes and doesn’t kill the vibe either by spreading itself too thinly. Recommended new cocktails include Breakfast Martini (gin, triple sec, lemon juice & marmalade jam) and with regular live music and DJs spots, you might need one or two of those to keep your dancing shoes going.

The Lane

For a more sedate yet equally enjoyable affair, head to Le Pinardier, meaning ‘wine shop’ in French and owned by Frog & Scot. And it does just that but is also a wine bar, music venue and art gallery so you shall leave with your cultural palate, as well as your tastebuds, fully refreshed. Cheese plates, charcuterie and pate with baguettes are served to accompany your wine if you fancy that kind of night.

And if you are looking for somewhere for Mr. Muddy to prop up the bar while you go ‘window shopping’, then consider The Just Reproach, a quaint-looking micropub, with a wide range of local beer, cider and wine, a stone, or should I say pebble’s, throw from the beach.

The Zetland Arms

Boasting an awe-inspiring location on the beach in Kingsdown, The Zetland Arms makes the most of its stunning setting – pairing spectacular ocean views with sublime local seafood. Walk along the promenade (or hire a vintage bike!) between from Deal to Kingsdown and reward yourself with a bite to eat and tipple on this beachside pub. The Zetland has a reputation for good food and friendly service. Dogs also welcome – you’ll definitely want to book this one.

STAY

Stayed in Kent’s coolest new boutique hotel yet? Grab the other half and make a beeline for this seaside bolthole – with stunning interiors, tasty dishes and oodles of artistic charm – we love! The Rose has 8 stylish bedrooms, is centrally located in Deal set amongst boutiques and vintage shops plus it’s just a 2 min saunter to the beach and pier.

The Rose

If you really need a room with an uninterrupted view of the sea, then go to the Royal Hotel where some rooms have private balconies and roll-top baths overlooking the waves down below. They look after those travelling with younger ones, and there are family rooms with bunk beds that can fit up to two adults and three children.

Oyster House, Deal, Keepers Cottages

If you aren’t after a hotel, try Keepers Cottages the leading letting agency for holiday homes in the seaside of Deal and the surrounding area. All the holiday homes are in great locations and offer wide range of luxury self-catering accommodation. Find your perfect holiday retreat in the beautiful coastal towns of Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown as well as further inland in Sandwich, Canterbury and beyond.

WALK

There’s nothing like a bit of bracing sea-air to blow out the cobwebs from any over-indulgence the night before and there are many walks in and around Deal that you should factor into your trip.

One particularly lovely trail is from Deal to Walmer, six miles of a gentle coastal walk suitable for all ages and abilities, taking in beaches and castles along the way. You can download the walks from the Discovering Britain website with helpful historical titbits so you can wow your friends and family with your intimate knowledge of Deal’s part in numerous invasions from Julius Caesar’s Roman legions to Napoleon’s warships as well as First World War bombers to Hitler’s planned invasion in 1940.

Also don’t forget to just potter around Middle Street and the Conservation Area which is at the heart of Deal. Instagram-tastic, you can expect to find Georgian terraced town houses in a multitude of pastel colours on winding narrow streets running up to the seafront. Simply wander around the lanes soaking up the history of this town.

SHOP

Find the weekly market every Saturday at Union Road car park selling a wonderful array of goods! From fruit, veg, flowers, egg, meat, coffee, wine, cakes, clothes, bread, antiques, art and jewellery.

Do not miss the Hoxton Store which opened in Deal in December 2014 as Alison Whalley decided to set up shop having previously owned and run Hoxton Boutique in London’s East End for over 12 years. Hoxton’s loss is Deal’s gigantic gain as you can browse a wide range of fabulous home wear items, including Moorish rugs and brightly-coloured velvet cushions, plus they are also specialists in Vintage style lighting and components so you can create your own unique lighting arrangements.

Hoxton Store

There’s also Dunlin & Diver a gallery and shop, selling contemporary, art, crafts and homewares from local to up-and-coming and well-known artists and designers. We love their collection of unusual greeting cards as well as a great selection of gifts, ceramics, jewellery and prints and paintings.

Mileage, a vintage emporium, is also a must-do for browsing as it contains a treasure-trove of items that you really didn’t think you needed until you clocked eyes on it in this dusty showroom full of electric pieces. There is a tea-room out back with homemade cakes if you need somewhere to sit and ponder on where you would actually put those cinema chairs and disco ball once you have lugged them the whole way home.

Bespoke jewellery designers Rees and Rees are a father and daughter collaboration with over 25 years’ experience based in Deal. With a wide mix of services including beautifully crafted jewellery, special commissions, workshops and featured artists, Rees and Rees also offer luxury experience weekends where you and your beloved can design and make your own wedding bands under the guidance and supervision of an experienced jeweller.

Not technically shopping but this boutique spa salon is also worth a look:

The first Éminence Green Spa in the UK, Brooklyn Green Spa is passionate about design and self-care and prides itself on using on natural and organic products and Beauty Without Cruelty make-up and nail varnishes. After a gruelling day of lying on the beach, surely you deserve its Coco-lucious Scrub & Wrap- a full body exfoliation using raw cane sugar and rich virgin coconut oil is followed by an antioxidant, nourishing wrap containing cocoa! AND then a full body massage. UM – yes please!

KIDS

The beauty of a coastal town for a day-trip or longer break with your crew is that you have an interrupted two-mile beach playground on your doorstop with free swimming option too if you are lucky with the weather. Pack their scooters and bikes too as the beach promenade is the perfect turf for them to scoot up and down, plus of course the afore-mentioned castles to bring out their Knight and Princess.

Or you can walk on up to Walmer Paddling Pool, a traditional paddling pool, set on the Walmer Green surrounded by lawns and next to the beach. The pool has qualified lifeguards, a refreshment kiosk serving hot and cold snacks all day, changing rooms facilities, and deck chairs for hire. Plus there is a putting green, a play area with large children’s games and a bouncy castle.

Make sure you don’t miss an ice-cream from Solley’s, an ice cream parlour situated on a farm, a five-minute drive outside Deal, where you can slurp on freshly-made ice cream straight from their Guernsey cows’ produce while your kids enjoy tractor rides around the farm or let off some steam in the children’s play area. Plus there are plenty of marked trails to explore across its fields and surrounding countryside and camp site should you really not want to go home.

There’s also two castles to explore!

Walmer Castle was once a Tudor artillery fortress that became a stately-home. Explore over eight acres of award-winning gardens (pictured), see the kitchen garden bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables, play in the Natural Play Area and stroll through the wildflower meadows and woodlands.

Built by the order of King Henry VIII, Deal Castle is one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England, and a must see on your visit to the quirky seaside town of Deal! Explore the castle from the storerooms and tunnels below up to the circular rooms above. With displays, children’s activities and fascinating artefacts, the whole family can enjoy the rich and varied history of the castle. 

QUIRKY

Nothing deserves the ‘quirky’ title more than Teresa Hair Fashions on the High Street where time has literally stood still and now deserves to be the backdrop in a cult-retro film or music video. Imagine a line of raspberry-pink vintage electric perm machines with matching chairs and you are just about there.

Deal Timeball Tower is a quirky museum, located on the seafront, dedicated to signalling and timekeeping and you can climb all the way to the top for fantastic views across the town and sea. During the summer season (1 April – 30 September) the ball drops hourly from 9am to 5pm.

Smugglers Records

If mingling coffee, music and booze is your guilty pleasure then Smugglers Records should be high on your hit list. Browse records with a craft beer (or glass of wine) and re-discover the inner muso in you. Look out for the Smugglers Festival in early September if you really get bitten by the bug.

For them hipsters among you, you will feel right at home at The Bohemian on the seafront. Like stepping into someone’s cozy yet crazy sitting room with lots of random clutter floating around, you can while away the hours quite happily here.  Sit with the papers and a coffee in its sun-filled terrace out back, become fully acquainted with The Gin Corner in the bar or get down with its vinyl nights held throughout the year.

CULTURE

Housed in an old industrial building on the site of a former market garden, the Deal Maritime and Local History Museum is a wonderful place to acquaint yourself with the local history of the town. Open from 1st April to 31st October, find out smuggling stories from the past, a re-creation of a World War One trench and Tender Too, a “little ship,” in the centre of a display about Deal and Dunkirk.

How about mixing up some culture with a bit of retail pleasure. If that floats your boat, then make sure you go to Taylor Jones & Son. Husband and wife team, Sonja and Richard Taylor-Jones, opened this wondrous store in Deal in June 2013 and have since put together a cutting-edge space where you can browse recognized artists such as Ned Kelly and Richard Friend as well as snap up prints, artefacts and curiosities for yourself.

Don’t Walk Walk is an independent art-run gallery boasting a ‘punk rock’ ethic and strong desire to offer something a little different. The gallery showcases 30+ artists from up-and-coming and established in painting, printmaking, illustration, photography and sculpture.

Or there’s contemporary art gallery Linden Hall Studio with the ground-floor being a dedicated rolling exhibition space where they feature a variety of solo, two-person and group exhibitions. The first floor is an ever-evolving collection of well-known and selected artists.

Finally there’s art gallery and homeware store Will & Yates bringing together art and interiors with pieces for the home and garden, textiles, ceramics and even skincare. Oooh we like!

P.S: consider visiting from Wednesday to Sunday only as many of the restaurants and shops (even in the height of Summer) are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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