Viking Bay


Nostalgic seaside charm and family fun meets with great coffee and a fast-emerging food scene at this popular bay in the heart of Broadstairs town. A stunning horse-shoe-shaped beach just ten minutes from Broadstairs station, which is 85 minutes from London  St Pancras by High Speed Train, Viking Bay and its sweeping stretch of golden sand, framed by white chalk cliffs and picture postcard beach huts, is what has made it one of Kent’s best beaches for more than two centuries.

A quaint seaside retreat for children and adults alike, the bustling bay boasts all the facilities you need for a fun-filled day out by the sea. Accessible by steps, a lift (*open at peak times in the summer) or a slope at the other end of the beach.  You can also get to Viking Bay via the neighbouring Louisa Bay.

Visitors can hire a deckchair and a windbreaker, while young (and the young at heart!) explore the tidal pool, clamber over rocks to try their hand at crabbing and indulge in all the fun of the fair at Kiddie’s Corner - complete with a roundabout, vintage boat swings and a bouncy castle. 

Enjoying this bay is not subject to tide times, but it’s worth noting that medium and high tides are often better for sea-swimming (*check the RNLI website for guidance on swimming safely).
Viking Bay is also a lifeguarded beach, so look out for the red and yellow flags which indicate the safer swimming areas and always supervise children.

The rock pool is covered at high and medium tides, so checking via the Tide Times app or the board at the lifeguard station tell visitors the best times for crabbing. During low tide, you can also walk along to most of the seven bays of Broadstairs and down to Ramsgate via the Viking Coastal Trail – one of Kent’s best coastal walks.

For thrill-seekers, Kent Surf School, based on the beach, also offers group and solo lessons on body boards, surfboards, and stand-up paddleboarding.

While the bathing machines of the 19th century and the beach’s famous donkey rides may be long gone, you can hire beach huts from Your Leisure via their website 

The bay is also a popular filming location, with its nostalgic charm having attracted the filming of television series such as Breeders, The Larkins, Derek and even The Great British Bake Off.  Among the feature films that feature Viking Bay are The Lady in the Van and Juliet, Naked.
While daytrippers may also be flocking to the neighbouring town of Margate, Broadstairs retains the traditional appeal that first attracted the town’s most famous resident, Charles Dickens, back in 1839 – an era which saw wealthy Victorians, including Princess Victoria (who stayed at Pierremont Hall) holidaying away from the London’s smog.

Originally called Main Bay, the name was changed to in 1949 when the Danish government launched an ambitious scheme to commemorate the AD449 Viking invasion of Britain. They constructed an authentic Gokstad Viking ship named Hugin and sailed it from Denmark to Broadstairs.

In the 1500s, Broadstairs was originally called Bradstowe which meant meaning “broad place”.  The town was famed for its shipbuilding, and fast became a smuggler’s paradise for imports of high-tax goods such as tobacco and spirits that locals in nearby St Peter’s would hide in a maze of underground tunnels and caves.

If you enjoy a more legal tender of spirits, along with the many pubs in Broadstairs, you’ll also find beach-side cocktails at the Furnicular café on the beach, as well as the increasingly popular Jetty restaurant, which serves locally-sourced food – both serving takeaways if you don’t want to sit in. Just watch out for the seagulls!

Families and daytrippers are always welcome to bring a beach picnic (and BBQs after 6pm) but there’s no shortage of great food by the sea.

For ice creams, baguettes, burgers, and chips – as well as drinks and coffee, the Viking Bay Café can be found at the centre of the beach.

Takeaway drinks are also available from the Tartar Frigate pub and cones of a mouth-watering array of takeaway freshly fried seafood and frites are available from Flotsam and Jetsam, as well as a more traditional fish and chip shop.

Overlooking Viking Bay is the renowned Morelli’s serving freshly-made ice cream as well as hot drinks and a variety of pastries and cakes.

Away from the beach and just as you exit the lifts, you’ll find Broadstairs’ Bandstand – a central hub for locals and holidaymakers serving Jersey ice creams, coffees and a selection of hot and cold foods to the sound of great music from the numerous acts that perform daily throughout the summer months.

Dogs: Dogs are welcome on the beaches and Broadstairs is a dog-friendly town, but during the summer months from 1st May through to 30th September, no dogs are allowed on Viking Bay between 10am and 6pm.

Parking: Parking can be very busy in the summer months and Broadstairs boasts beaches accessible by train. However, there is street parking and three payable car parks are within easy reach of the beach. See here for further parking information

Toilets: There are toilet facilities at Viking Bay, as well as a small shower situated under the steps by the restrooms.

Viking Bay Broadstairs Kent