Whitstable. A little town by the sea with a lot going on; Whitstable is where it’s at for an upmarket new year’s weekend getaway. Of all the seaside towns in the South East this one is unique for its top class food scene, yes you can get great fish and chips by the sea, but there are several excellent seafood restaurants in and around Whitstable. The Sportsman and The Fordwhich Arms are two highly sought after foodie spots if you’re lucky enough to get a reservation and booking in advance is highly recommended. Whitstable is also a beautifully quaint town with plenty of pretty architecture and fisherman’s huts to keep your Instagram feed happy. There are little pop up shops located on the seafront at the weekends selling local art, handmade items and plenty of gifts to take home. The high street is also full of cute little gift shops and, of course, historic pubs for you to get a good old pint of beer and. If you don’t fancy it for NYE, can bare the crowds (and manage to find somewhere to stay), visits during the summer oyster festival.
Hastings. By far the most affordable option on the list and also a more traditional English seaside town for you to bring in the new year. Hastings has some, shall we say, undesirable areas that you probably want to avoid, but the little old town is up there with the best of them. Eastbourne and Folkestone could have also made it to this spot for their off-centre emerging arts scene, they all have traditional piers, typical amusement arcades which should be experienced at least once in your life, and fish and chip shops galore. But Hastings has one thing that most British seaside towns lack, a really cool old town with a great selection of pubs and bars to spend December 31st. George Street is the main hub, with quirky antique shops, art galleries and a Thai restaurant in a book shop which pretty much sums up George Street. It’s a little haven in the eastern side of town which you could happily spend a day or two exploring, if you do go for a weekend then The Hastings Contemporary is a museum of contemporary British art and well worth a visit. And if you can drag yourself out of bed the next day the mini golf course will provide low-key hangover fun in the fresh air.
Margate has been through something of a regeneration when the historic amusement park, now called dreamland, was re-opened in 2017. This breathed new life into the place and brought with it a new, hipster arts scene. The town now has an array of eclectic cafes, vintage shops and a respected arts scene. There are some temptingly Instagrammable photo ops on offer including Dreamland, beach huts, the shell grotto and an insanely colourful Airbnb on Sidney Street called Margate Location House (seriously look it up @margatelocationhouse). Margate’s crowning glory is the Turner Contemporary, with its ever changing exhibitions feature world class art, notable events and a great view of the sea. The vast sandy and, lockdown dependent, empty beach in Margate is a beautiful compliment to the variety of restaurants and wine bars that scatter the seafront. Try the notable carrot cake in Ziggy’s Rooftop Bar and for NYE sample some natural wine with a cheese platter in Little Swift wine bar and deli.
Broadstairs. A three and a half mile walk from Margate along the Viking Coast with the picturesque Botany Bay on the way with white cliffs, smugglers caves and chalky stacks for your camera reel. A quintessential seaside town with some beautiful Georgian, Victorian and regency buildings that have featured in a variety of films. Broadstairs is traditional without the tacky edge that tends to come with many British seaside towns; basically it’s a bit classy. Small but perfectly formed is a good way to describe this quaint little town, you could easily spend a weekend perusing the gift shops and having leisurely fish and chip lunches. If you go in the summer the pristine sandy beach isn’t big but is clean and likely to be less crowded than the likes of Brighton and Eastbourne, a walk along the cliff top Victoria Gardens will take you to Bleak House which is where Dickens wrote David Copperfield. For new years eve the pub scene in Broadstairs is also notable, with gastro pubs like the Charles Dickens and quirky micro pubs like The Chapel – a pub in a bookshop in an old chapel that manages to maintain features and charms from all three lives, the Thirty-Nine Steps Brew house will quench your craft beer thirst.
Eastbourne. Is a typically English seaside town with an array of good examples of Victorian hotels of the seafront that’s worth a visit for a relaxing new year’s weekend. There are some cute little cafes, fish and chip shops and pubs to keep you fed and watered. A pleasant stroll along the beach on a sunny day will also relax the mind. The brilliantly painted Towner Art Gallery will give you a dose of modern British works and the nearby Redoubt Fortress has a military museum for an historical and educational fix. But the best thing about Eastbourne is that it is the gateway to the south downs national park with the south downs way spanning 60 miles, you can find the beginning by walking to the end of the promenade and towards Beachy Head you will embark upon the seven Sisters hills and the picturesque striped lighthouse built in 1902.