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May 4th, 2013, 07:14 AM
  #1
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Choices Choices Help to Make a Good Decision

So of course I packed a lot into my wish list but probably won't have enough days to do them all. I am trying to squeeze in as much as I can though.

If we had to choose between a day for Rye/Battle/Great Dixter vs. a day for St Catherine by the Cliff/Walmer/Deal/Broadstairs? Which to choose? (I think we would rather reserve Dover Castle for a full day and not try to rush to do Deal and Walmer along with it on the same day. This way we can explore a little further afield too like Broadstairs).

Both groupings appear to be mostly outdoor activities with some inside stuff to do. One would be done out of a base of Canterbury while the other would be done from a different base yet to be determined but either Tenterden, Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells.

Trying to determine how many days I need for each base. Either spend one more day in the Canterbury area or one more closer to the middle like Tunbridge or Teterden etc. All depends on what is more popular. DS and DH would enjoy both the beach and the Battle area so it is hard to choose either or.....Need people's opinions on what they enjoyed most.

Regarding Broadstairs, which is the best bay to visit? Viking, Kingsgate, Stone, Botany? How far from the center of town are Kingsgate and Botany? Are there parking facilities nearby?

I should also start a separate thread on this but I read about the Historic Dockyards in Chatham and thought DS and DH might find that interesting too. A day away from castles and gardens. This of course would require a separate day. Has anyone been to the dockyards and do you recommend?
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May 4th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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I haven't been to Broadstairs in years, so can't comment on that. Battle and Rye would be my choice. The audio tour of Battle Abbey is very interesting, and Rye is an attractive small town with a lovely atmosphere. Both are easy to arrive at by train, as the stations are only 5 minutes walk from the centre of each.

Tonbridge is a very ordinary English town with nothing to interest a tourist in itself, whereas both Tenterden and Tunbridge Wells are more attractive. But what Tonbridge does have is a central location near good roads for touring the houses and gardens of Kent and Sussex, and a rail station with very good links to London and the south coast. If someone British was asking me about a good base in that area, I'd recommend Tonbridge over the other places, but it depends what you want from a location. If you're looking for "quaint", it won't give you that. But if you're looking for a central base with shops, pubs and restaurants (albeit chains rather than independents), it's very well placed for the places you want to visit.

The Dockyards at Chatham are definitely worth a day out if you have any interest in maritime history. The chance to tour a submarine was the highlight for my boys.
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May 4th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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Well I'll answer your question about Broadstairs with a question, What are you looking for? Quiet bays,busy bays somewhere close to public transport? Viking Bay is the main bay, convenient for public transport near the buses and about 7 minutes walk from the station, Stone Bay is the next easterly from Viking Bay, it's quieter and slightly less convenient for transport. Kingsgate and Botany Bays are accessible by bus and a longish walk, for a day or half day trip I'd stick to Viking Bay or Stone Bay. Both are sandy but watch Stone Bay if the tide is in you may have to move off the beach. Viking Bay is never completely covered at high tide. There are public conveniences, and refreshment kiosks on the beach and plenty of places to eat along the promenade, plus shops on the way down if you want to picnic.
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May 4th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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Sorry I didn't see the bit about parking, in this case I would try and park along Eastern Esplanade, the road above Stone Bay and walk, either just to Stone Bay or along to Viking Bay.
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May 4th, 2013, 09:52 AM
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We visited Chatham Historic Dockyard a couple of weekends ago. It's a huge site with different areas, that could easily take you two days to see everything. They've recently opened a new attraction called Hearts of Oak which is a great intro for kids and adults alike. Don't miss exploring the two wonderfully preserved ships and the submarine. The amazing ropery, which has timed tours with actor guides is fabulous.

http://www.thedockyard.co.uk/Home
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May 4th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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As far as the bays--I saw pictures of Kingsgate Bay and Botany Bay with cliffs or high rocks on the sand that looked quite unique and interesting.

Dockyards then sounds like I should keep on my list since I think both DH and DS would enjoy it.

Still torn though between the other two groupings if I had only time for one but not the other.
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May 5th, 2013, 10:24 AM
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Hi EN

I can't help with your specific question since I haven't been to most of those places.

We just spent a wonderfully sunny day in/around Dover. We got to the castle at opening time (10) and stayed until about 2 pm, including a light lunch in the cafe. [Try to do the Dynamo Tunnel first before the queues get out of hand.]

We then drove to the National Trust Car park for a walk along the cliffs. It's about 2 miles to the lighthouse. By the time we got back, it was 5 pm so no time for Deal/Walmer if you want to walk. If not, you could probably squeeze or more in on your Dover day (we didn't skip much at the Dover Castle except for the Regiment Museum).

Hope that helps. I'll post photos, etc. in a day or two.
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May 5th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Indydad. Looking forward to your pictures as always. I think we would want to dedicate a full day for Dover like you did and not rush to try and squeeze something else in that day other than maybe a walk along the cliffs.

However, my dilemma is do I add one more day to the Canterbury area in order to cover places like Broadstairs, Deal and Walmer or add the day further west to cover things around there. That is a tough decision since of course we want to do it all. If only we had that amount of time!
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May 5th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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how many days DO you have for the south-east, e/novice?

as you say, there's load to see. at the moment you have a minimum of 3 - a Dover day, Chatham for the dockyards, and Battle/Rye/Great Dixter.

perhaps the most time efficient way to approach it would be to pick a place equidistant from those three and just stay there.

Ashford?
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May 5th, 2013, 10:42 AM
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If we had to choose between a day for Rye/Battle/Great Dixter vs. a day for St Catherine by the Cliff/Walmer/Deal/Broadstairs? Which to choose? (I think we would rather reserve Dover Castle for a full day and not try to rush to do Deal and Walmer along with it on the same day. This way we can explore a little further afield too like Broadstairs)..

been there done all those and to me Rye is exceptional as is Battle - the battle field of course but also a nice small town.

You do not need a full day for Dover Castle - Dover itself is the pits - an ugly town, even for British standards, so you can enjoy St Catharine's that day too or easily Deal, etc. Broadstairs is really nice but Deal and Walmer though in nice seaside locations are not that exceptional IME and IMO and yes this is all very subjective.
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May 5th, 2013, 11:18 AM
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We thought we would split our time in two locations--Canterbury and someplace a bit further west closer to the stately homes and castles like Knole, Hever, Sissinghurst etc.

We haven't yet decided how many days for each and I am trying to work that out by deciding how many days I need for the Canterbury area and its surrounds--Canterbury itself, Dover Castle, Deal, Walmer, Broadstairs etc.
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May 5th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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IMO - even a very slow/very thorough tourer can VERY easily manage Dover plus Walmer Plus Deal in one day. 5 hours at Dover and an hour-ish at each of the other two. That would simplify things a lot . . .
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