We took a family holiday to Deal in Kent.


We had chosen the location partly for its easy train journey, but due to a rail strike, they weren’t actually running trains to Deal. We had to go to Ramsgate and get a taxi.

I had incorrectly assumed the second part of that would be expensive but easy, but the regional taxi company’s app (and phone line) said ‘no drivers available’. Your entire company is about having drivers available, that's what you do! I hate Uber but we tried that and it wasn't any better. We were starting to panic, but after 25 minutes an oldschool taxi thankfully showed up at the station car park.

It rained all day and we had to hurry to the supermarket to get food as soon as we arrived, so I didn’t take pictures.


We were staying in a nice, rather large and tall house in the old part of town near the sea (where all the smuggling allegedly went on).

View out of the window to North Street.
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The house had lots of stairs.
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Shadowy patterns on plaster.
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Our three-year-old had never seen the sea before.

R and Adam walking down North Street toward the sea.
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Sea! (1)
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Some kind of marker (at low tide).
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Throwing stones into the sea is the main activity here.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO160 51°13′31″N 1°24′18″E

Deal has a pier, with a fancy and busy café at the end. I liked the food, R didn’t, and Adam very much didn’t like how long we had to wait for it!

Rain shelter on the pier.
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View north from pier.
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Flags on high street. It’s not a chemist.
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We visited the Deal Museum in the afternoon. It’s a very nice little museum, worth seeing.


Obviously we spent some more time on the beach.

Sea! (2)
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Looking north along the beach (distant cliffs are in Ramsgate).
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Deal Castle is quite large and well-preserved. The above-ground part has a museum which was generally not interesting enough for a toddler. There is also a very large below-ground area (where they used to keep supplies, gunpowder, etc.), which I thought was great - but the darker parts are, allegedly, too scary.

Keep walls.
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Underground, looking to well.
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Brickwork to window.
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Window high above at ground level.
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Nice greenish door.
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View down the well (that’s a lightbulb, not the moon).
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Looking down a dark passage to the door at the end.
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Inside an oven.
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Windows upstairs.
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View from the top (into rain).
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After the castle we went back along the seafront.

Rain shelter.
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Road along the front.
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I popped out on my own in the evening, just for a few minutes.

North Street.
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Rain shelter.
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Sea! (3)
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Pier from below. (We bought a black-and-white postcard of this view; it hasn’t changed.)
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Sea from under pier.
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View from pier rain shelter.
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Pier after rain shower.
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Boats on beach.
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For our child’s first beach holiday, of course we took great care to choose a suitable location. So we didn’t know that the beaches were all shingle. Great for throwing stones into the sea, less great for making sandcastles.

Feeling slightly guilty about this, we took a train to nearby Broadstairs to visit a very busy sandy beach for the day.

Changing trains at Ramsgate station with a nice signal box and large grey shed.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO160 51°20′28″N 1°24′18″E
Viking Bay beach and harbour, Broadstairs.
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We took a short walk north along the seaside to Sandown, where there used to be another castle (no sign of it now). The castles here were built to defend the area (which was strategically important as a safe place for ships to anchor) against the French, but only ever saw action in the Civil War.

Looking toward the golf course.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO160 51°14′21″N 1°24′4″E
View from sea wall.
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Various structures in the sea.
1/500 at f10, 23mm, ISO160 51°14′17″N 1°24′9″E
Rain shelter.
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In the afternoon we went to the Timeball Tower museum, which is really great. It used to show the time to ships anchored nearby because the ball on top went up, and then dropped down, at 1pm. (Now they do it every hour when the museum’s open.) They have a top quality 1980s video explanation, lots of other displays, and you can punch the time on your entry ticket with an old clocking-in machine.

Top of the tower behind disused cinema.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO160 51°13′21″N 1°24′13″E
Very fancy doorway to Rothwell House.
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More of disused cinema.
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’Hacker’: old radio in exhibition case.
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Tower mechanism.
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Tower window with beams.
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Original stairs.
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In the evening, on the beach, we saw the local rowing club practicing.

Pile of stones (the other beach entertainment).
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Nutters. (And a seagull.)
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Sea! (4)
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Pier. (And if you’re wondering, did I get my feet wet - yes.)
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Adam (in tomato jacket) picking up stones on the beach.
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We visited the local film museum; Adam was grumpy and unimpressed, even though they did have picture books and other stuff. For adults it was fairly interesting. It‘s in a normal-looking house on a residential street.

Shadow theatre.
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R trying out a hat from their dressing-up clothes.
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO160 51°13′27″N 1°24′2″E

Adam and I went out on the pier again, and then the beach some more.

Pier metal flooring, concrete pillar.
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Rain shelter.
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That’s the end of our trip - our first proper holiday (except visiting relatives) for years! Deal is actually a nice place to visit although you have to plan a bit - ideally, better than us - because the museums and shops tend to open only a few days each week, even in summer season. And there are lots of cafés but, inexplicably, only one nice tearoom.

Sea view from house. (Not advertised, to be fair.)
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XX: view through window.
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All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.