We always end up going to the same old places when we go out on a day trip. Mr Gallivant is a creature of habit. Once he finds somewhere he likes he wants to go back there. Why risk somewhere new after all?
I’ve been nagging him for years about visiting the little seaside town of Deal, just over an hour’s drive from us. Last week we had a friend over to stay and I finally managed to persuade him. All of us came home impressed. So what was so good about it?
The pier itself is made of concrete and not very pretty (although apparently Grade II listed), but the views from it are simply gorgeous – over the town in one direction (see main pic) and France in the other. Another reward for the wander along it is the Deal Pier Kitchen at the end. This new restaurant has huge glass windows all around, giving the feeling of being on a cruise ship. The coffee and food are excellent. I can highly recommend the all day brunch – great choice, from traditional Full English and Eggs Benedict to slightly more unusual options like a Middle Eastern Shakshuka, full of spicy, tomatoey flavour and toasted tortillas stuffed with refried beans, avocado and egg. I’m sure lunch and afternoon tea and cake would be good, too – and I believe Deal Pier Kitchen are now offering occasional evening Dining Experiences.
Yes, it’s pebbly, but when we visited it was also scrupulously clean and not too crowded, despite it being the summer holidays. We were blessed with a day of wall to wall sunshine, so I even took a delicious dip in the sea – a rare event indeed.
Deal Old Town
The High Street is pleasant enough but it’s Middle Street which runs parallel to it which is the real stunner. This is a conservation area, lined with unspoilt Victorian and Georgian houses, beautifully kept, often decorated with flowers and painted in pastel hues. It feels a bit like walking through a film set – the fact that it was pin drop quiet when we were there just added to this. A few information boards are dotted along this street, and give a good background to its past as a haunt for smugglers and ne’er do wells.
The feel of Deal!
What struck me most about Deal, is the lack of ‘kiss my quickness’ that you find in many UK seaside towns. No arcades, no tacky souvenir shops – that we saw anyway. Deal feels like a proper living town, not somewhere that just panders to tourists. At the same time, it isn’t particularly trendy like Margate or Whitstable. It just feels gentile – the real deal in fact (sorry!).
We didn’t do any of the obvious ‘sights’, which means there’s plenty for us to see next time we visit. I want to suss out the flower shaped castles of Deal and neighbouring Walmer – and possibly a few of the lovely looking pubs. I can just imagine myself sitting out on the terrace of the Royal Hotel, looking out to sea and sipping a glass of something chilled…
If you’ve been and know somewhere unmissable in Deal, please comment below and we’ll add it to our list! And if you want to know more, check out the local tourism website.