St Margaret`s Bay
© Colin Park and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The sheltered, shingle beach at St Margaret's Bay has a spectacular backdrop of white chalk cliffs. Driving down to the beach car park is not for the fainthearted; a steep, narrow road with some blind corners leads down to the pay-and-display car park.
The beach here is made up mostly of steeply sloping shingle which is divided up by a series of wooden groynes. When the tide is out, some good rock pools are revealed, perfect for young explorers looking for interesting sea-life.
From the beach there are spectacular views across the Channel and towards the White Cliffs of Dover. Why not take a picnic and sit and watch the passenger ferries on the horizon? On sunny days it might even be possible to get a glimpse of the French Coast- France is, after all only 18 miles away from this point. For this reason the beach is often used as the starting point for attempts to swim across the Channel. One word of warning- your mobile phone may not get a signal down here, and if you do pick up a signal it is quite possible that your phone provider will think that you are in France!
Attractions not far from the beach include The Pines Gardens, a 6-acre site with ponds, a cascade and an organic kitchen garden, and St Margaret’s Museum, which has displays on local history and wildlife. Along the promenade is a house once owned by Noel Coward. He sold it to James Bond creator Ian Fleming in 1951.
Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May to the end of September and at other times of year they need to be kept on leads, as sheep graze in the area.