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News 2019

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1919 Angling Club Junior Pier Festivals

Sunday 21st July & 18th August 2019


The Muddy Stilettos Awards Winners 2019

Muddy Stilettos, 23rd May 2019

Best Art Gallery: Linden Hall Studio (Deal)
Best Bar: The Common Rooms (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Beauty Salon: No. 6 Clinic (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Bookshop: Harbour Books (Whitstable)
Best Boutique Stay: The Pig at Bridge (Canterbury)
Best Café: Juliets (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Children’s Business: Once Upon A Wish (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Day Spa: The Granary Spa (Great Chart, near Ashford)
Best Destination Pub: The Kentish Hare (Bidborough)
Best Family Attraction: Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest (Goudhurst)
Best Farmshop/Deli: Fuller’s Butcher’s & Farm Shop (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Fitness Instructor: Fran Flin, Flin’s Fitness (Orpington)
Best Local Food/Drink Producer: Cellar Head Brewing Company & Tap Room (Flimwell)
Best Florist: Flowers by Enchantment (Tonbridge)
Best Gift Shop: Made by Kent (Staplehurst)
Best Hair Salon: Leigh Roberts (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Interiors Store: Duck & Dog (Cranbrook)
Best Jewellery Store: Bella Jane Jewellery (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Photographer: Zuzu Valla Photography (Ashford)
Best Restaurant: The Small Holding (Kildown)
Best Theatre/Arts Venue: Trinity Theatre (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Women’s Store: The Beehive (Ashford)
Best Yoga/Pilates Instructor: Lucy Parker, Flow (Tunbridge Wells)
Best Newcomer: EveryDog (Snodland)


'Deal … the houses are lovely'

The Sunday Times, 19th May 2019

The country's coast is being transformed from tatty to trendy. Here's where to buy:


The Rose: 'London has arrived' restaurant review

Grace Dent, 17th May 2019, The Guardian

A plutonium-grade revamp has turned this old-school boozer into a chic magnet for mini-breakers down from the capital.

One of the perils of living in a seaside resort such as Deal on the east coast of Kent is that, eventually, London will find you. One minute, you can pop out to Londis [1] in your dressing gown [2], drink Gold Blend [3] and have no real opinion on nuno felting [4], then a shift will occur. One of those incomers will paint over a pebble-dashed [5] terrace with Farrow & Ball Arsenic [6], open a gluten-free macaron kiosk [7], and the game will be up. For Kensal Rise and Hackney people [8], that's like leaving jam out for ants. Soon, you'll be knee-deep in nocellara olives [9], spoken-word performances [10] and places like The Rose on Deal high street, a recently tarted-up pub, restaurant and boutique hotel.

Any implication that the plutonium-grade revampment of The Rose from rough-and-ready, 200-year-old, old-school boozer to chic magnet for mini-breakers is “an improvement” will doubtless cause the locals umbrage. Nevertheless, it now serves rhubarb mezcal cocktails, tiny bowls of Marcona almonds, wild nettle soup and ox tongue on beetroot. For £200, without dinner, I stayed one Friday night in a bric-a-brac-stuffed room painted in jarring shades of burgundy, turquoise and navy, with a velour curtain in place of a toilet door and a communal Nespresso machine in the corridor. I do not like anyone in this world well enough to forgo a toilet door, while if you speak to me at a communal Nespresso machine at 7am before I have drunk the Nespresso, I will unapologetically hammer you to death with a Muji indoor shoe.


The Rose in Deal's 'very good' anchovy-stuffed deep-fried olives

Downstairs, the dining room is thankfully less aesthetically busy. There's an open kitchen, so you can watch the chefs flap, plus a bar to sit up at on stools and order a 'Hedgerow Cobbler' made with sloe gin, raspberries, blackberries and elderflower while you nibble very good deep-fried olives stuffed with anchovy. The front-of-house are warm and kind, and there are plenty of them. This goes a long way. Executive chef Rachel O'Sullivan, of Polpo and Spuntino fame, was the name that flavoured all the opening coverage of The Rose last year, but on the evening we visited, she was certainly not present, and the menu seemed a skeleton version of the delicious, complex list I'd seen on Instagram.

We chose three of the five starters, beginning with good, home-blitzed taramasalata served with slightly past-their-best radishes. A plate of steamed asparagus appeared, topped with a ladle of gritty, brown and not particularly pleasant walnut-and-anchovy butter. 'Hot smoked salmon with pickles and creme fraiche' turned out to be a piece of baked - but now almost cold - salmon that was hot neither in flavour nor temperature. And the smoked prawns advertised on the specials board had run out by the time we sat down at 8pm, despite there being only a handful of other diners.


The Rose's crisp lamb shoulder came on 'a pulpy bed of skordalia that was so bland, I thought it was polenta'.

By this stage, it had occurred to me that The Rose's food was clearly not good enough to schedule a special trip to Deal around. But, by God, it feels as if it ought to be: a monumental number of moodboards and Mr & Mrs Smith audience-focused marketing has led to this point, where punters now travel miles and pack overnight bags to dine here. But those who do will find very little to write home about.

A main course of hugely overdone smoked haddock arrived with a handful of salty samphire and similarly assertive pangrattato breadcrumbs; the accompanying 'soft egg' was at least soft, although I realise I am giving credit here for someone in the kitchen being able to boil an egg. Our other main course of crisp lamb shoulder was fine in a 'Sunday roast leftovers' way, but it came on a pulpy bed of skordalia (Greek garlic and potato mash) that was so bland, I argued blindly that it was polenta until we re-examined the menu.


The Rose's rhubarb and pistachio mess: 'After three spoonfuls, I would happily not see it again until next summer'.

We stared at the pudding menu: a chocolate mousse, a panna cotta and a 'mess' - as in a crunchy, creamy thing flung into a bowl, not someone chucking napkins about willy-nilly. All of these are puddings contestants choose on MasterChef when they either cannot cook or are being strong-armed into making a pudding. The mess involved stewed rhubarb, pistachios, whipped cream and chunks of honeycomb instead of meringue, and came in a glass dessert bowl. Just like Eton mess, then: after three spoonfuls, I would happily not see it again until next summer.

Because of all this, I am now ever so slightly put off moving to Deal and opening a reiki healing centre or mead brewery. The locals will be joyous.

The Rose, 91 High Street, Deal, Kent, 01304 389127. Open Wednesday-Sunday, lunch noon-3pm (4pm Sun), dinner 6-9.30pm. About £30 a head, plus drinks and service.

Footnotes

[1] Londis - a chain of 1900+ local grocers, one of which is located in Deal at 97-99 St Richards Road, Deal CT14 9LD (open until 10:00pm).

[2] A bathrobe, dressing gown, housecoat or morning gown is a robe, a loose-fitting outer garment, worn by either men or women. A dressing gown may be worn over nightwear or other clothing, or with nothing underneath.

[3] Nescafé Gold Blend is a premium instant coffee with a smooth, distinctive flavour and rich aroma.

[4] Nuno felting is a fabric felting technique developed by Polly Stirling, a fibre artist from New South Wales, Australia, around 1992. The name is derived from the Japanese word "nuno" meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. The fibres can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allows the backing fabric to show. Nuno felting often incorporates several layers of loose fibres combined to build up colour, texture, and/or design elements in the finished fabric.

[5] Pebbledash is a form of render in which the top coat is roughly textured by pebbles or stone fragments. For pebbledash, clean material is thrown at the freshly plastered surface then pressed in, so the colour of the material is visible.

[6] Arsenic, 'a lively mint green' manufactured by Farrow & Ball ('craftsmen in paint and paper'), has a lively, stimulating feel despite its name being derived from the poison that was rumoured to have been in the wallpaper that poisoned Napoleon after his capture.

[7] Macarons are gluten-free and are made from egg whites, sugar and almond flour.

[8] Trains from Kensal Rise to Hackney Central.

[9] Nocellara del Belice is an olive cultivar from the Valle del Belice area of south-western Sicily. It is a dual-purpose olive, grown both for oil and for the table. It is used to make "Valle del Belìce" extra-virgin olive oil, which is pressed from a minimum of 70% Nocellara del Belice olives.

[10] Spoken word is a performance art that is word-based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. It is a "catchall" term that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud, including poetry readings, poetry slams, jazz poetry, and hip hop, and can include comedy routines and prose monologues.


Black Douglas named 15th best coffee shop in England

Kent Live, 18th April 2019

The Black Douglas has been named 15th best coffee shop in England by Big 7 Travel.

The small venue rubs shoulders with other trendy cafés in London and Brighton.

A worldwide travel guide has picked out and small and quirky coffee shop in Deal as one of the must visits in the country. Big 7 Travel compiles recommendations and general tips for people who are visiting different countries and cities. One of their lists looks at the best coffee shops in England, and the Black Douglas in Beach Street has made 15th place. It sits highly esteemed among other foodie outlets in trendy parts of London, Brighton and Bath in the west country. It is the only café in Kent to be shortlisted.

So what makes this coffee shop so stand-out from others in Kent ? Big 7 says votes were cast in an online poll which was put out to its 1.5 million followers. A panel of coffee experts were also approached. Online reviews were taken into consideration, any media coverage and blogs also contributed to the overall rating, it said. Big 7 says:

"The final list is subjective - if we've missed out on any must-try coffee stores across England, please do let us know."

The cakes are 'droolworthy'

Big 7 says the following about the Black Douglas:

"This cosy, laid-back café sources all its ingredients from local producers, and the coffee here is as good as you'll find in higher end speciality coffee shops. It's charming and welcoming, and the cakes are so droolworthy you'll be on your third cuppa before you know it."

Are reviewers as complimentary ?

TripAdvisor rates the cafe four stars out of five, with reviewers gushing over its breakfast offering and the quirkiness of the interior. The latest review, left just five days ago, said:

"Really good veggie breakfast. The place has character and food was very tasty. The staff are lovely. I would recommend eating here. The main stay of the menu is eggs. However they do have a specials board."

Another from London added:

"This is a great brunch place, very eclectic decor, friendly staff and good egg dishes. There is also a sandwich menu."

Many diners also spoke about the café's location, which overlooks the seafront and Deal Pier.


15. The Black Douglas Coffee House - Kent

Deal Pier Kitchen and Linden Hall Gallery are 'Muddy Award' finalists

Muddy Stilettos, 14th May 2019

"The Finals start and voting opens on Wednesday 15th May at 9am. They come and go in just 7 days, so if you love a local business and want to give it a pat on the back, head to the Awards site and do your bit before it slips your mind because the Finalist with the most votes will be crowned Winner."

This year's local nominees are:


Topknot caught from the Pier stem

Scott Mairs, Sunday 21st April 2019

Damien Bartlett caught this elusive topknot on Good Friday from the upper deck. His father, Scott, reports:

"It was the first ever fish Damien has ever caught all on his own on the equipment I bought him for his birthday the week before. The rare topknot fell to a single lugworm. Since posting the photo on the South East Sea Fishing group on Facebook quite a few people have suggested that this fish would likely have been a new record if it had been weighed etc. But to be honest we are both just really happy that he caught the fish and it's safe to say he is now hooked on fishing. Thanks for a great day out which resulted in something amazing."


Damien Bartlett and his Norwegian topknot (Phrynorhombus norvegicus), the first caught from the Pier since July 2013.

The Rose voted "Hotel of the Week"

Kate Lough, Evening Standard, 10th April 2019

Kate Lough falls for the charms of this diminutive Kent seaside town thanks to its new boutique hotel.

For the last few years, Kent's coastal towns such as Margate, Whitstable and Hastings have been enjoying their moment in the sun. But it's only recently that quaint Deal has found itself on the map for weekenders - and this is largely thanks to the opening of its first boutique hotel, The Rose.

Its owners, husband and wife duo Christopher Hicks and Alex Bagner, have always had a special relationship with Deal. Chris' family are from nearby Walmer, so his childhood summers were spent on this stretch of coast and it didn't take long for the couple, who live in London Fields, to snap up a house in the area. Their natural love of hosting and entertaining formed the basis of their idea for The Rose. "We want it to feel like an extension of our own home," says Alex. "It's personal, fun and considered, but at the same time it has that element of luxury." For the couple, the dream of having their own place was inextricably linked to Deal. As Alex says, "The Rose is all about Deal and vice versa."

Here's everything you need to know about staying at The Rose.

Where is it ?

On Deal High Street, just a road back from the seafront and within walking distance of this tiny seaside town's best spots, including delicatessens, vintage markets and wine shops.

Style

The Rose is a riot of colour, deliciously comfortable and with an artistic mindset that makes for a super chic British seaside retreat. Most of the furniture was sourced by the couple over the period of a year from local vintage shops, markets, auctions and eBay - and the art is a zany mix of their own and a collection from the Margate-based Carl Freedman gallery.

Downstairs there's a very good-looking, but cosy bar with an original Tracy Emin on the wall, terrazzo tables with mid-century chairs and jewel-toned fabrics at every turn. In short, it's a very photogenic place where guests can enjoy everything from breakfast to afternoon tea and pre-dinner negronis. The eight bedrooms are all designed uniquely with daring colour palettes, pretty-as-a-picture wallpapers, sumptuous textiles and - in some cases - freestanding tubs.

Which room ?

Every room looks good enough to eat, but we loved the charming and generously-sized Room 4, which overlooks the high street. Dark navy walls set off a burnt orange velvet bedhead to perfection, while cane furniture and rose motif textiles bring a little lightness and frivolity to the room. A sliding door reveals a freestanding aubergine-hued tub to soak in, as well as a rainforest shower decked out in avocado green tiles with organic Austin & Austin products. It's the extra touches that define The Rose and they come in spades in the bedroom: vinyl players with a selection of old-school records to set the mood, travel magazines to inspire your next trip and glass jars of retro pic'n'mix.

Facilities

The Rose is a small but perfectly formed hotel, so it's all about the aforementioned little details - not 'facilities' - which make a stay here so special. Like having the latest issue of Wallpaper delivered to your door at 3pm, to pour over with your afternoon cuppa which you can make yourself on the landing. There's coffee and biscuits too - as well as whisky for a nightcap.

Food and Drink

In the evening, The Rose's restaurant, handsomely decked out in the old pub's original wood panelling and moss green button-down seating, serves comfortable, posh pub grub. After a few cocktails in the bar, we looked towards the sea for our menu: mussels in cider, roast cod caught on the Kent coast and wholesome fish pie. But the foodie highlight of our stay had to be breakfast. Cappuccinos, fresh orange juice and the morning sun beaming through the windows to accompany The Rose's Scandi plate is just the thing to start your day. A wholesome, colourful plate (vintage of course) of smoked salmon, soft boiled eggs, beetroot, rye and whipped cream cheese with dill make a welcome change to the usual brunch offerings.

Extra-curricular

If you're staying for the weekend, as we did, fuel up on breakfast on Saturday morning before heading up the road (literally) to Deal's Saturday antiques market in Union Street Car Park. You'll find retro seaside posters, vintage glasses and plates and some fresh produce too. Then take a wander through Deal's pretty, cobbled alleys with sherbert-painted houses until you find yourself at the seafront. There's a lovely café with almost 360 degree sea views on the pier called the Deal Pier Kitchen which makes for a cute coffee stop.

In sunnier times, walk the pleasant hour down to neighbouring Kingsdown, where a seafront pub lunch - and spectacular sunsets if you stay long enough - awaits you at the Zetland Arms. If you fancy a change of scenery for dinner, check out The Frog and Scot. A French bistro exactly opposite The Rose, it's a neighbourhood favourite that boasts a chef formerly of Kent classic, The Sportsman and Seasalter near Whitstable. The couple behind it also own Le Pinardier down the road, where you can stock up on French wine should you wish.

Best for

Couples wanting a quick night or two out of London that feels like a treat and is hassle-free.

When to go ?

Anytime really. If, like us, you go in deepest darkest February, you can look forward to hunkering down in your cosy room. In spring and summer, you'll be able to make more of seaside walks, picnics and alfresco pub lunches. Each time of year has its different charms.

How to get there

From London, it's super easy to jump on the High Speed line to Deal (1hr 20 from St Pancras) and then it's a few minutes' walk to The Rose.

Details

Room prices from £100 per night, www.therosedeal.com.


Spring Fling: the vibrant Kent seaside town of Deal ticks every box for a holiday from eating to sleeping

By Emma Ledger, Acting Lifestyle Editor, The Sun, 31st March 2019

Bargain hunt … From pubs on the beach to the last remaining complete pier in Kent, Deal is the perfect destination for the quintessential British seaside trip. Join us for 48 hours of coastal fun in this historic Channel town.

Wander the peaceful Georgian streets to learn about the town's colourful past - Julius Cæsar arrived here in 55BC, plus it became England's busiest port in the 16th century. Nowadays, Deal has a vibrant music and arts scene, and fans of antiques shopping will be spoilt for choice. Our faves are Mileage Vintage and Hoxton Store (hoxtonstore.com), plus every Saturday there's a market in Union Road car park for more retro treasures and local fresh produce. Don't leave without a Scandi-style cinnamon bun from Bygga Bo.

Grub's up … The burgers at 81 Beach Street, from £10.90, are the stuff of dreams. There are also vegan and kids' choices, and an incredible value lunch menu, £10 for two courses (81beachstreet.co.uk). Stop by '50s institution Deal Beach Parlour for a Mr Whippy ice cream, £1.50. For special occasions, Whits of Walmer does the best fish in town and is just a stone's throw from the beach. The menu changes daily - the local lobster ravioli starter was sublime, £10.95, or order the bass, £19.75, if there's any left (whits.co.uk).

Pier pressure … Deal is home to the last remaining complete pier in Kent, and it stretches out from the wide pebbled beach, dotted with traditional fishing boats. Above the waves, the newly refurbished Deal Pier Kitchen is the perfect spot for a cuppa and chill. Gaze across the sea and on a clear day you can even spy France. Locals swim all year round - pack your cossie if you're feeling brave.

Pedal power

Less than five minutes from Deal, Betteshanger Country Park is a former colliery transformed into a family adventure land. Hire bikes from £4 per hour to enjoy a rural 3km cycle trail through beautiful woodland. There's also archery, fossil hunting, a huge play area and great visitor centre explaining the site's history. Entry is free, but it costs £3 per day to park (betteshanger-park.co.uk).

Be a history buff … Continue along the coast for a stunning view of the famous White Cliffs of Dover - Henry VIII built both Deal Castle and Walmer Castle. They're great for kids and the latter has glorious gardens, entry £10.90 (english-heritage.org.uk). From there, walk or cycle on the bike path west to the town of Kingsdown, stopping for a tipple at The Zetland Arms pub (zetlandarms.co.uk). Continue along the coast for a stunning view of the famous White Cliffs of Dover.

Thirsty work … Deal's smuggling past makes for some great traditional watering holes. The oldest pub in town is the King's Head (kingsheaddeal.co.uk), a cosy 17th-century gem with walls full of maritime memorabilia, while The Ship Inn is a classic wood-panelled boozer. For something a bit more modern, The Bohemian has great beers and a sun-trap garden (thebohemian.co.uk).

Sleep cosy … Deal ticks all the boxes for a family trip. Stay at The Manor Farmhouse, which is set in several acres of farmland a few miles from the centre. It sleeps 12, with four-legged friends also welcome, and for extra cosy points there's a wood burner and piano for sing-a-longs. Three nights start from £1,160 (mulberrycottages.com). Or, stay at Samphire Cottage, a lovely Grade II listed terraced fisherman's cottage (sleeps 8) quietly tucked away in the heart of the conservation area built during the 1790s and just two minutes' walk from the Saturday market and bustling town centre. If you're after a romantic break for two, The Rose in the centre was recently named one of Kent's most stylish places to stay. Rooms cost from £100

BTW … Deal and Walmer Castle were built to look like Tudor roses from above and Deal is 1½ hours from London by train. Visit southeasternrailway.co.uk.


Clocks go forward on Sunday

This year the clocks go forward by an hour on Sunday, 31st March, marking the start of British Summer Time (BST). BST will begin at 01:00 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), meaning that people in the UK will have one hour less sleep as 1am becomes 2am. The reasoning behind switching to BST is to have more daylight in the evenings. GMT resumes in autumn, on Sunday, 27th October. At 02:00 BST, the clocks will go back an hour to become 01:00 GMT again. This is so there is more daylight hours during the winter months. An easy way to remember how clocks change is the phrase: 'Clocks spring forward in spring and fall back in the fall'.


Lower deck remains closed …

Dover District Council, 26th March 2019

We are given to understand - but have not been told - that the lower deck remains closed to the public until further notice.

Anglers are strongly advised to call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for news regarding progress of the TMS works, access to the lower deck and any other fishing restrictions.


320th anniversary of Dexit: 13th October 1699-2019

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (1800) Edward Hasted, Volume 10 at paragraphs 35 and 36

"The town and parish of Deal"

"The borough of Deal was at that time governed by a deputy and assistants, nominated by the inhabitants of it, and appointed by the mayor and jurats of Sandwich, and it continued so till king William III's reign, when violent disputes arose between the inhabitants of Deal and the corporation of Sandwich, which in great measure originated from the former having grown wealthy by the resort of shipping to the Downs, in the wars of the preceding fifty years. They began to feel the inconvenience of resorting to Sandwich upon every trifling occasion for justice, which was heightened still more by their own importance. This produced a restlessness and impatience to cavil on every occasion, and they seized the opportunity of the mayor of Sandwich's having too violently pressed for a market, pursuant to the lords justices reviving an old statute for the payment of toll, &c. as the ground of petitioning for an exclusive charter of corporation, to render them independent of Sandwich; which, after much solicitation, a strenuous opposition being made to it by the latter, they at last obtained, in the year 1699, anno II king William III, on the 13th October, in which year the charter is dated.

By this charter, it was made a free town and borough of itself, and a body corporate and politic …"


Lower deck closed for a week from Monday

Dover District Council, 15th March 2019

The council informs us that the lower deck will be closed to the public for a week from Monday to allow TMS an opportunity to complete their works.

Anglers are strongly advised to call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) on Friday 22nd March for news regarding progress of these works, access to the lower deck and any other fishing restrictions.


2019 Pier Midnight Fishing Dates

Dover District Council, 1st March 2019


A weekend in … Deal

Gemma Bowes The Times, 15th February 2019

Poor old Deal. The seaside town in Kent has been left in the shade of late as the art and vintage of Margate, the cutesy nostalgia of Broadstairs and the food and beach huts of Whitstable steal the show.

Not any more. The opening of the Rose, a trendy boutique hotel, has put the sweet little fishing town on the map, bringing a cavalcade of style-seekers and foodies to poke about the galleries and cool homeware shops that have been quietly multiplying over the past five years.

Yet as soon as I drive in, along a rolling sylvan lane, I have to wonder why we haven't all been coming here for years. Pretty streets of tipsily leaning, Georgian terraced townhouses and fishermen's cottages, the Tudor artillery castle and that sparkling sea - surely this is the loveliest resort on the Kent coast?

We arrive in time for dinner on Friday in the converted pub's packed restaurant, where Rachel O'Sullivan, the Polpo alumna who launched London's Spuntino with Russell Norman, is at the helm. Hers is a subtly interesting menu that does not cling desperately to locality and seasonality, but leans that way. Even grilled courgettes with cheese are terrific; there's a Tracey Emin on the wall and schnitzel on the children's menu.

"I wanted the hotel to be fun and punchy; a look you wouldn't have at home, but is fun to be in," says the owner Alex Bagner, who runs the hotel with her husband, Chris Hicks, whose family hail from the town. Wes Anderson-colour combinations, vintage furniture and fun touches such as record players in the rooms have been pulled together by the interior designers Michelle Kelly and Nicola Harding for a very 'now' look.

Modern art includes a fantastic painting of a whale by the local artist Edward Bridges and pieces from the Carl Freedman Gallery, which recently relocated to Margate from Shoreditch in London. Clever bargain hunting and upcycling are evident: a G Plan dining table bought on eBay for £9 was laminated a fabulous ochre by car mechanics. With toddlers in tow, dinner is as far as our Friday night goes, and there's something sorrowful about my lack of a hangover the next day, considering that a good night out could certainly be found. Smugglers Records has craft beer and DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings; Le Pinardier wine bar hosts live acoustic sets; and a town built on ill-gotten gains will always have plenty of pubs for clandestine encounters. The Ship Inn, traditional and dark, is full of nautical memorabilia, including a poster listing the sale of spoils from a wreck in 1817: "Cavalry saddles, pieces of barbozettes, firkins of butter."

Deal's maritime past sits close to the surface here, not buried beneath layers of touristy razzmatazz as in other seaside resorts. Much of this is revealed on a coastal walking tour with Will Thomson, whose jolly 'tide walks' teach the public about the ebb and flow along our coasts. He leads us down the steep shingle, pointing beyond the unusually brutalist pier, which is undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment. A seal pops up its head. A Spitfire whirls overhead. Out there, more than 2,000 ships came a cropper on the notorious Goodwin Sands, submerged sandbanks a little way offshore, he says. Wrecks appear now and then, when the sands shift, and treasure hunters must dive on them fast before any valuables are reburied and lost once more.

Sheltered anchorages between the sandbars and the land helped to make Deal one of the busiest ports in England by the 16th century and a haven for smugglers. Returning from France, they would drag their shallow boats across the sands to escape customs officials in bigger vessels, which couldn't follow.

I had expected a nerdy cagoule-wearing Nicholas Crane-alike, but surfer Will is typical of the new face of Deal: young, inventive, alternative. Enlightened too - he's building a catamaran with a plan to sail the globe, investigating climate change solutions, with his artist wife and their tots.

Deal seems to rear, or attract, these kinds of entrepreneurial bohemians, who mix in with the DFLs (down from London), the creative aristocrats, fishermen, theatre folk and Royal Marines to form an interesting population. And the town is freighted with history, from Julius Cæsar's landing at Walmer in 55BC to the Carry On actor Charles Hawtrey, who was known for his drinking during his retirement here. Descendants of another infamous local character, Oscar Wilde's boyfriend Lord Alfred Douglas, run the Black Douglas coffee house on the seafront.

We find time over the weekend for the Saturday market and the braderie - an annual street fair. At Henry VIII's Walmer Castle, whose circular keep and half-moon bastions were the latest thing when it was built to defend against invasion by Catholic powers in 1539, we admire Wellington's boots. The charming Deal Maritime Museum has boats more than a century old and a sunny boatyard perfect for a quiet cuppa, while the funky Popup Café's "kim-cheese" toasties and vegan brunch are just the ticket after all the salty air. We skip the renowned modern French bistro dinners at Frog and Scot, fine Italian at Salentino's and the quirky menu at Victuals & Co, and plump instead for the popular Middle Street chippy, eating fish and chips on benches looking out at black waves beneath a full moon.

That sea keeps calling us back, and the last of the autumn sunshine urges us towards the beach. We like it best at Kingsdown, the next village south after Walmer and many grand Edwardian villas. Elated after a surprisingly warm dip, we spy the Zetland Arms and amble across the shingle, past colourful beach huts, to the cosy, shabby-chic pub. We decide that if there's more than a ten-minute wait for food, we'll move on. I go to order the fish chowder. An hour, they say. I look around at the smiling families enjoying what is clearly their favourite local, all the Kentish ales on tap, my kids playing on the beach by the pub benches. "No problem," I reply.

On Saturday night I duck out of bedtime duties to join a sea-shanty session at the Saracen's Head pub. White-haired folk sit, heads down, singing softly of ports, drowned sailors and lost loves. One man turns to me in tears. "My grandfather was a sailor, snatched from school to work on boats aged 13. He knew lots of boys who drowned. That's why these songs mean so much," he says. Call me maudlin, but this is exactly the sort of thing I want from a weekend by the sea.

Need to know: Gemma Bowes was a guest of the Rose, which has B&B doubles from £90 a night (01304 389127).


Lower deck partial reopening

Dover District Council, 16th February 2019

The council informs us that the lower deck has partially reopened but will close again in a fortnight's time when a start on the concrete repairs will be made.

Anglers can expect further closures for the foreseeable future and are strongly advised to call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for the latest news regarding access and fishing restrictions.


Deal one of the six best UK towns for spring breaks

Jane Dunford and Sarah Baxter, The Guardian, 4th February 2019

From Bath to Belfast, these destinations are all compact enough for a short break yet packed with culture, shopping and great food …

Deal, Kent

This seaside town is perfect in spring, with good restaurants, cool shopping, a smattering of galleries and flower-filled walks on the doorstep.

Meander down the Georgian lanes to a high street crammed with shops like the Hoxton Store, for eclectic homeware and fashion, and J Cosmo for retro-style clothes. Galleries include Taylor-Jones & Son and nearby Will & Yates. For foodies, there's a Saturday market with wine tasting and good bakeries, and the Wild Kitchen runs seashore foraging days, followed by feasting and cocktails (£75). On the Pier, the Deal Pier Kitchen has opened, serving breakfast and lunch with views over the ocean, or eat French bistro-style at the Frog and Scot.

Walk west along the coast from Deal towards Kingsdown and onto the cliffs beyond, or join local William Thomson for a tide walk. Down the road, the gardens of Walmer Castle are magnificently flowery in spring. For family fun, nearby Betteshanger park has everything from cycling trails to geocaching, and Kent Mining Museum opens in March.

Book it - The Rose has doubles from £100 B&B.


Lower deck closed again

Dover District Council, 6th February 2019

We understand that the lower deck has been closed again - this time for a period of two weeks - with a partial reopening scheduled for Friday, 15th February.

As the council has not confirmed this closure, if you are planning a trip to Deal to fish from the Pier you should first call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for the latest news regarding access and fishing restrictions.


Lower deck partial reopening

Dover District Council, 28th January 2019

We understand that the council has reopened the north-facing (Ramsgate) wing of the lower deck but no formal confirmation or notice to that effect has been received. Since

anglers can expect further disruption and unannounced closures for the foreseeable future.

Accordingly, if you are planning a trip to Deal to fish from the Pier you should first call the Pier Attendant (01304 363185) for the latest news regarding access and fishing restrictions.

On Monday, 28th January 2019 the council informed us as follows:

"Last Friday we made the decision to open up the north and south decks that have now had all the grilles installed. I had to make this choice because the contractor has had to leave site for a further two weeks until all the other grilles are fabricated for the triangular areas around the cabins. The contractor has fenced off to make safe and this does still mean there is no access to the cabins, but further space to fish off the lower deck. The contractor is due back on the 4th February when we will need to close for a further two weeks to completely finish off and open up again."


Phase two of renovation of Deal Pier

KentOnline Friday, 1st February 2019

New lighting and a range of refurbishments are set to feature in the second phase of renovations for Deal Pier. The new £600,000 investment will include:

Dover District Council will discuss the works at its meeting next Monday morning. The second phase is set to take place during the financial year 2019/20. Work already completed under the first phase includes:

Repairs to the lower deck are also nearing completion.

The new café restaurant Deal Pier Kitchen also opened on January 4.

The first £500,000 phase of refurbishment works was announced in 2018, following the celebration of Deal Pier's Diamond Anniversary in November 2017. Cllr Trevor Bartlett, DDC cabinet member for corporate assets said:

"Deal Pier is the jewel in the crown of Deal Seafront, and is a popular site for local people and visitors. We are delighted to invest in upgrading this fantastic amenity, to provide an enhanced visitor experience, and to make it fit for the next 60 years."

For more information, please see report to Cabinet on the DDC website, moderngov.dover.gov.uk or for more details on Deal Pier, please see the council's Deal Pier page.


Meet the creators of Deal Pier Kitchen

Deal Community Ad Magazine, 27th January 2019



Meet the team behind Deal Pier Kitchen

A love letter to Deal - one of the best places in the UK

Lauren MacDougall, KentLive, 13th January 2019

Quirky architecture, a bustling high street, a beautiful seafront and a buzzing nightlife, what more could you want?

One of Kent's best kept secrets is starting to get out - Deal is a phenomenal place to live and work. The people who call Deal their home have always known this, but last year it was made 'official' when the Sunday Times 'Best Places To Live' survey ranked the town as one of the best places to live in Britain. The survey assessed a wide range of factors, from jobs, schools and broadband speed to culture, community spirit, local shops and their own on-the-ground experience to compile the top locations. Key judge Tim Palmer said:

"I really like Deal. Compared with Margate, which is either super-trendy or a bit rough around the edges in parts, Deal has a proper independent character all of its own. It's a Goldilocks location that's got lots of great independent shops and beautiful houses, especially in the Middle Street Conservation Area. It also has an amazing view of the sea-front from the pier and really good modern restaurants."

But what do the people of Deal like about the town?

Award winning High Street

Largely untouched by big chains and bursting with charming independent shops, it's not hard to see why the Daily Telegraph decided to award Deal 'High Street of the Year 2013'. The bustling High Street has remained a hidden gem for tourists and down-from-London types for decades, due to its location slightly off the main road between Dover and Sandwich. This secrecy makes Deal so special - and you are always rewarded for seeking out its secrets. From more than 500 nominations, a panel of judges, chaired by the minister for the high streets, Brandon Lewis MP, choose Deal from a shortlist as part of a year-long Reinventing the High Street campaign. The judges said:

"Deal is a very good example to other struggling high streets of how an engaged local community, with support from local and national government, can match enthusiasm for their high street with good and innovative practice. There are plenty of charity shops and discount-brand chains, along with the likes of Marks and Spencer, Iceland, and a Sainsbury's a short walk away, up by the station where high street shoppers can leave their cars. Yet woven in and out between them in as seamless and eye-catching a pattern … of small, local and one-off retailers."

Coudn't have said it better ourselves.

Thriving foodie scene

For a small town Deal certainly packs a punch in the culinary scene. And despite us causing uproar last week, saying we haven't had a good brekkie there in a while, you definitely called us out. If you want a huge full English breakfast you'll head to the Sea Café on the Green in Walmer, or perhaps The Lane in South Court. Or you can try the new Deal Pier Kitchen for something fresh and trendy. Some chips from Walmer Fish & Chips in the summertime while watching the ever-popular performances on the bandstand are also a must. And the food at the Middle Street chippy is famous in its own right in the town. There are plenty of upmarket places to eat too, including Victuals & Co., 81 Beach Street, Salentino's, Whits of Walmer and The Courtyard (to name just a few) - which all offer memorable dining experiences for special occasions, date nights and family get-togethers.

Put simply, people in Deal are blessed to have such a choice of foodie havens where they can indulge in pretty much whatever takes their fancy.

Buzzing nightlife

There's nothing better than a summer's evening at the pub in the beer garden, right? And nowhere takes this English tradition more seriously than Deal. In the summer months - and sometimes bravely in the winter - locals pack out the outside seating area on Beach Street, creating a buzz around pubs such as The King's Head and The Port Arms. Even former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was pictured outside the Kings Head in the run up to the 2015 elections, proudly holding his pint, followed by former Labour candidate Ed Milliband just months afterwards.

In Deal the relatively new Wetherspoon The Norman Wisdom co-exists peacefully with the independent wine bars, cocktail bars and pubs which can be found in abundance not only in the High Street, but in the more rural parts of town too. Heading a little further out of town, The Freed Man micropub on the Dover Road is a beacon of the future of drinking out - quizzes, local ales, beers and spirits in a cosy space where you can bring your own nibbles in from the chippy next door.

These scenes are for many other places in the UK reminiscent of a more thriving time, a lost hey day of public houses, but Deal's nightlife is proudly living as it declines elsewhere. We'll drink to that!

Beautiful seafront

Deal's stunningly photogenic seafront offers unrivaled views guaranteed to take your breath away. And Deal Pier - the town’s third, opened in 1957 by the Duke of Edinburgh - has now undergone an extensive half a million pound refurbishment to celebrate its diamond anniversary. The landmark is already one of the town's most famous attractions, popular with residents for a leisurely stroll and with fishermen. And the injection of cash is set to make it even more attractive. And it's not just the views from the pier, but the events that take over the beach front that make the area so great, turning it into a thriving, family friendly arena.

The annual Royal Marines concerts on the bandstand are always packed to the rafters and the popular carnival never fails to draw crowds. Not one, but two stunning castles. One castle brimming with history would be more than enough to shout about. But those who live in Deal have two to explore. Built by the order of King Henry VIII Deal Castle is one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England, and among the earliest and most elaborate of a chain of coastal forts, which also includes Calshot, Camber, Walmer and Pendennis Castles. Today you can explore the whole of the castle, from the storerooms to the first-floor captain’s residence. A new permanent exhibition is on display, revealing how Henry VIII's fears for the safety and security of his realm shaped the country’s defences and his own married life. With new displays, audio and children's activities supported by contemporary artefacts, the whole family can now explore the rich and varied history of the castle alongside the stories of the people who lived and worked there for over four hundred years.

A pleasant cycle and footpath path links Deal and Walmer Castles along the beachfront. Just a short walk away Walmer Castle, along with its gardens, has evolved into a homely residence for many well-known names from the Duke of Wellington to the Queen Mother. Inside you can explore Wellington's career, the story of his life and death and even see the original Wellington Boots. Outside, discover the majestic sea view and eight acres of magnificent gardens and woodland, now home to the Lord Warden.

A state of the art country park

On the outskirts of Deal is Betteshanger Coutry Park, where visitors can enjoy walking, cycling, fossil hunting and various other activities in its picturesque setting. It also hosts big local events such as inflatable obstacle courses and outdoor cinemas. And not only is it a cracking place to take the kids over the school holidays and an excellent facility for outdoor sports, it's also investing a lot into the local area too. Work on the first phase Visitor Centre, encompassing a Green Energy Centre and the Kent Mining Museum has now commenced and is due to open this year. The new £9.5million state-of-the-art facility will be an architectural icon boasting Kent's best EPC rating and have BREEAM Excellent certification. It will provide retail, cycling facilities, education, conferencing, events, gardens and public spaces, as well as offering an outstanding entrance to the 250-acre country park and its exceptional leisure and recreation facilities.

It's famous

Deal came under the national spotlight when controversial ITV drama 'Liar' used the town as its primary spot for filiming. Panoramic views of the town and seafront were shared with millions of viewers as they tuned in each week to follow the gripping storyline. Twitter was inundated with people dying to know where the series had been filmed, while locals proudly chatted about their hometown attracting so much interest from the rest of the country. And more views of Deal are yet to come with the imminent airing of new show Baptiste this year.

And celebrities love it too

Not only is the town essentially famous in its own right now, it's also a magnet for the rich and famous types. The people of Deal frequently walk among celebrities including Paul O'Grady, Geoff Bell and Jan Leeming who all live nearby. Others often visit the town and rave about it when they do so. Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine visited Deal last May, heading down to the coast for a friend's wedding. The radio host travelled to the Kent coast to watch food author Rosie Birkett and Jamie Wellock tie the knot and she could not stop uploading her scenic snaps to photo sharing website Instagram. The 30-year-old uploaded an incredible image of the seafront, which depicted rolling clouds dominating the skyline and hoards of seagulls bathing in the sun. She captioned the photo:

"I can't cope with how beautiful Deal is - perfect wedding weather for R&J."

She even chose to pose beside the town's famous pink house, writing:

"I do like to be beside the seaside! Pier walk to blow away the cobwebs / wine?!"

Other celebrities recently spotted in the town include Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding, model Kelly Brook, comedian Vic Reeves and James Nesbitt. Rumours Johnny Depp and Sir Roger Moore have been spied in the past exploring the town are also rife - but, of course, they remain unverified. Not a bad advert or recommendation for Deal at all, is it?

People are proud of their town

In 2017 Deal was named the best place to live by the sea, two years after it came 23rd in that same list. The Times also listed Deal as one of the top 30 best places to visit for a weekend retreat in April 2014, when it was commended for its quirky 1950s vibe as well as its eclectic mix of locals and visiting artistes. The Telegraph has also recently branded Deal as one of the top 20 towns in the UK to consider relocating to.

But it's not just outsiders that love Deal, the people who live there are very proud of the quaint seaside town. And the numerous accolades from the London-centric media only serves to bolster that pride, boosting the local economy and allowing independent businesses to flourish and grow.


Deal Pier Kitchen

Deal Pier Kitchen, 2nd January 2019

… will open its doors every day from 9am until 5pm as of Friday 4th January.

Deal: Popular pier café reopens with new look and managers as part of £500,000 refurbishment scheme.

Kent Online, Friday 4th January 2019

A popular café at the end of Deal Pier was re-opened today with a new look and management team. The Deal Pier Kitchen has been completely overhauled as part of the council's £500,000 refurbishment of the Pier on which it sits. The unit closed on 31st December 2017 after former occupant Jasin Kaplan's lease was terminated by mutual agreement with Dover District Council.



Council chairman Cllr Sue Chandler cutting the ribbon alongside Cllr Trevor Bartlet (right), Tim Biggs (centre left) and Rebecca Hodson (left)

Not only has the interior been modernised, but the previous leaseholders have been replaced with two new managers, Tim Biggs and Rebecca Hodson. Speaking at the opening, 27-year-old Ms Hodson said:

"We're absolutely ecstatic to finally be open and operational. It's a beautiful town and I've got to spend a huge amount of time here while improvement work was underway. We feel so lucky and immensely grateful to have won the lease and we're excited to see how it goes. The people in the town are great and it's lovely welcoming them through our doors."

Chairman of Dover District Council Cllr Sue Chandler cut the ribbon on the new eatery, which features in the Deal-based ITV drama series Liar. The councillor said:

"This is a special opening for us as the council owns the Pier and it's a key part of our refurbishment plan. It's also great to see two younger people decide to take on this exciting venture."

Having first pitched for the lease in May, the new managers will be working closely with the council over the course of their 20-year lease. Cllr Trevor Bartlett, portfolio holder for property management and environmental health, has played an integral role in the renovations and attended the opening. Speaking about the café, he said:"

"It's absolutely lovely. It's an iconic building and we felt that we wanted it to lend an essence to that and capture the lovely Pier itself. We interviewed Tim and Rebecca and we were so impressed with their enthusiasm. They came along for the interview and brought along some wonderful samples of their food. That didn't sway us but it was lovely having to try all the food. Other people did that as well but there was something about Tim and Rebecca. It was their enthusiasm and you could just sense that from them, that they were really keen and wanted to run this Pier. It's taken maybe a little while longer than we wanted. We had issues with the previous owners and it wasn't just a straight forward process of them just leaving and Tim and Rebecca coming in, but we are where we are and today is the official opening so we're now just looking forward."



Owners, Rebecca Hodson and Tim Biggs with their team at the opening of their new business - Deal Pier Kitchen café - at the end of Deal Pier

The venue - which will be open daily from 9am to 5pm - is dog-friendly and offers a wide range of drinks and brunch options. All of the 300m Pier's seating was replaced ahead of Christmas as part of the council's £500,000 renovation scheme, which was announced on the structure's Diamond Anniversary in 2017. The project was completed ahead of schedule by Walmer-based contractors, Hipperson.


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