I have noted on many of my other tips on this page that my main reason for visiting Broadstairs is for the excellent annual Broadstairs Folk Week, although over the years I have made many friends there and regularly visit at other times. This warning is in relation to the week the festival is on. Exact dates vary but it is the second week in August every year from Friday night to the following Friday.
The festival attracts a lot of people every year, which is good, but the town itself attracts a lot of people on summer weekends. The powers that be have decreed that, due to the large numbers of people drinking in the street outside the pubs, that the main street (Albion Street) needs to be closed off every night of Folk Week. Frankly, this is nonsense. At the weekends I can understand it when all the youngsters come from nearby towns to drink before heading off to nightclubs elsewhere but during the midweek period there is absolutely no need at all.
Broadstairs Folk Week is a registered charity, operating on a very tight budget, and the cost of this generally unecessary road closure is borne solely by them after having been funded one year by the local publicans. No doubt the Thanet Council appointed stewards love it.
Should you be driving in Broadstairs during Folk Week, be aware that Albion Street is closed from 2000 to about 0200 very night between the junction of Charlotte Street (beside Barclays Bank) to the car park just past Harbour Street. Diversions via Vere Road and Carlton Avenue are in place.
This tip does not concern a danger, in fact it refers to something that prevents danger but it is a warning to beer purists who may visit the town, especially in summer. During the excellent Broadstairs Folk Week, which I play every year, most pubs in the town will only serve pints and halves in plastic glasses. I am not sure if this is a police / council requirement or just something the various licensed premises demand themselves but I know I hate drinking out of plastic glasses. Many of the hard-core folkies get round it by bringing their own pewter tankards which seems to be acceptable.
Additionally, there are some premises which do not permit you to take glasses outside into the street at any time. Notable for this is the excellentTartar Frigate and this is understandable as it stands on the beach and nobody wants broken glass where people are wandering around in bare feet. Other places have a summer ban on glasses outside with all the visitors in town but are OK with it in the winter. It can be quite confusing.
If you are going into the street, to smoke for example, it is always best to ask the staff what the local rules are. They will be happy to tell you and provide plastic if required. I wouldn't want you to be embarrassed or get in trouble with the police!
The towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate are very popular with language students, and there are lots of schools catering for those of you who want to learn English. Please be warned that some of our local yobs (every where has them!) take exception to groups of students wandering round the town, and try to cause trouble for them. If you are coming to Margate in a large group to learn English, don't carry around the rucksacks/bags that label you as a student (eg. with the company name on etc) and don't maraud up the road making lots of noise and bumping in to people.
I know everyone should be free to express themselves, but unfortunately it can cause problems.
(This tip appears on my Margate page too!)
During folk week, the atmosphere in the town is very good and there is rarley any trouble (not caused by the folkies anyway). Outside of Folk Week, however, things can get a bit "lively" on a Friday and Saturday night.
Personally, I would avoid Cramptons, the Dolphin and the Rose at these times.
Apparently, all the young people from Ramsgate and Margate congregate in the town (it's about midway between the two) and there can be a bit of bother.
Update - 02/09/2006.
You may want to avoid fireworks nights during the summer in the town. apparently, this sumnmer on one particular fireworks night there was a riot involving about 200 people near the train station. the police were forced to temporarily withdraw, admitting they could not control the situation, before reinforcements could be summoned.