Once the home of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, on whom Charles Dickens based much of the character of Miss Betsey Trotwood in his novel David Copperfield, this building has been adapted as a museum to commemorate the novelist's association with the town of Broadstairs.
The parlour is refurbished as described by Dickens and illustrated by H. K. Browne (Phiz). Some of the author's own letters and memorabilia are on display. Around the house there are fascinating old prints of local and Dickensian interest as well as costumes and Victoriana.
One of our favourite things is to sit on the jetty with a cuppa, admiring the view, the sea and people watching.
One has to careful of the huge gulls that swoop down for the leftovers. The pair we watched fighting, broke 2 cups!
The cafe serves excellent tea, coffee, etc as well as seafood- prawns, crayfish tails, mussels, cockles, whelks, everything you can think of..Oh.. and oysters.
As well as fish and chips!
On your walk through the town, you will already have caught glimpses of the sentinel like, castellated house high on the edge of the cliff, with its commanding views of Vikings Bay. In Dickens's time this was known as Fort House, and access is gained by making your way up Fort Road. It is now named after the novel Bleak House whose title it inspired (although that house is in Hertfordshire) and was Dickens's favourite holiday retreat from the mid 1840's until 1852.
Bleak House is now open to the public as a memorial to the author, and many of the rooms are preserved as Dickens would have known them. The billiards room and dining room, both on the ground floor have a variety of mementos and the upstairs bedroom with its spectacular views, houses the original big brass bed from the Bull Hotel Rochester.
(Excuse picture it was taken on my Nokia 6600 phone and it is rubbish... VGA? My a**e!)
UPDATE - AUGUST 2007: I have the distinct idea that the house is now in private hands on no longer open to the public - check before you go.
Bleak House inspired Charles Dicken's novel of the same name. He lived here for some time, and wrote the majority of 'David Copperfield' here. The house stand imposingly on the cliff over looking Viking Bay (the main beach in Broadstairs). It has had a number of owners recently and is currently undergoing restoration. I have added a link to the new website which hopefully will be up to date with opening times etc.
Broadstairs is set in one of seven adjoining bays, and between them there is something to suit just about everyone. Going towards Margate from Broadstairs, you come to Joss Bay. This is a very popular family / surfing beach, which is patrolled in the summer season by lifeguards. It is an extremely clean beach and has won several local awards. there is a pay and display carpark there, but I like to walk along the coast from Broadstairs - it'll only take you about half an hour at a gentle pace.
If you feel like learning something new, surfing lessons are available in the summer season - see the website for further details. I don't surf myself, but friends who do tell me this is a good place for it. Surfboards and bodyboards are available for hire, or if you're feeling less adventurous you can also hire deckchairs, windbreaks and so on.
It is quite easy to find, being in the shadow of the famous North Foreland lighthouse which was the last manned lighthouse in the UK prior to automation.
OK, so you've been to the beach, had something to eat, and possibly a few drinks in one of the many fine hostelries in town. So what now? You want to have a sit down somewhere quiet and perhaps read a book or just have a quiet doze in tranquil surroundings. Well, this might just be the place for you.
Originally the grounds of the still extant 1785 Pierremont Hall, which now serves as the local Town Hall and Folk Week office, it is a pleasant garden, well laid out and maintained. It is a perfect place to sit in the Kent sunshine and relax.
A word of warning, though. I wouldn't recommend you go near this place in the evenings, especially in the summer, when the local yobs seem to make it their personal domain, getting drunk / stoned and generally causing trouble.
A stroll along the jetty is a must.There's a cafe at the end which serves cockles and mussels and other seafood.
Seats along the jetty enable you to sit and gaze at the sea or watch the activity of the fishermen and their boats, which moor beneath it.
The sea can get quite rough and the waves soak the cars parked up there, to the delight of onlookers,(who parked elsewhere!).
This magnificent house, where Charles Dickens lived when he wrote 'Little Dorrit' can be visited all year round.
The underground cellars have been converted into a 'Smugglers' Museum', telling the history of smuggling on the Kent coast.Some scary sights down there!
Quite a few nice restaurants
Good Vegetarian B&B
Nice beach to walk along-even out of season.
Very sweet minature railway museum- worth a visit.
Not such a great high street