Viking Coastal Trail
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Whether you are an experienced cyclist or a novice, you will find plenty to enjoy along the 32 mile (51.4km) circular route on the Isle of Thanet exploring Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate.
Romans, Saints and Saxons landed here, artists and writers drew inspiration here, so hop on your bike and discover why visitors have been coming for centuries. Whichever section of the trail you choose to explore, you are sure to find dramatic scenery and a wealth of local historical gems. Divide the trail up into the manageable sections and you’ll find a variety of fantastic days out.
The route is also known as the Regional Cycle Network 15.
The inland loop is on quiet lanes, taking in pretty Kentish villages with ancient churches such as St. Nicholas at Wade and passing Minster Abbey, one of England’s oldest inhabited buildings founded in 670AD.
A short detour leads you to the 16 acre Monkton Nature Reserve, an important resource for the protection of wild flowers, including rare orchids.
At Ramsgate, the splendid Pugin Victorian church of St. Augustine’s Abbey is worth a visit, or enjoy a rest at one of the many cafes overlooking the harbour and marina. Learn about the towns maritime history at Ramsgate Maritime Museum or head underground at Ramsgate Tunnels.
Rounding the coast from Ramsgate to Broadstairs, you’ll ride through the King George VI Memorial Park where the 19th century Italianate Glasshouse sits within a sweep of parkland. Explore the landscape that inspired famous figures including Charles Dickens and Thomas Crampton as you ride through timeless Broadstairs with its seven glorious bays.
As you cycle from Broadstairs to Margate you pass Kent’s most established surfing school at Joss Bay, see the picturesque Botany Bay with its chalk stack and marvel at Turner Contemporary art gallery overlooking Margate harbour and the town’s main sands.
Minnis Bay is popular with swimmers, as well as sailors, windsurfers and sea canoeists.
From here, the scenery changes with striking views of the flat marshland as you approach the twin towers of Reculver Church, a few miles east of Herne Bay.
To find out more about the area including attractions, accommodation and events visit the Thanet Tourism Website.
If you do not want to undertake the whole route, try the 9 mile (almost traffic-free) stretch that follows the sea wall from Margate to Reculver via Westgate-on-Sea and Birchington, Kent’s largest village.
You can join this well-signed route directly opposite Margate train station. Along the sea wall you will find plenty of diversions, with slopes and steps to the cliff tops and down to the popular beaches and rock pools.
The on-road section takes you along the cliff from Westgate-on-Sea to Epple Bay where you rejoin the sea wall. Whilst cycling is allowed on the promenade, seasonal restrictions are in place from 1st May to 30th September. Please note these promenades are shared spaces and there are PSPOs (Public Space Protection Order) in place to help ensure the safety of all users. Please make sure that you follow the instructions on localised signs which require you to dismount and slow down. Promenades are designed for walking so be aware in all locations of all promenade users especially in busy areas and where there are beach huts
Cycle Hire and Clubs
Save the hassle of bringing your bike and hire one instead! There are several places to hire a bike situated along the Viking Coastal Trail.
- The Bike Shed/Ride, 71 Canterbury Road, Margate CT9 5AS and Margate Train Station CT9 5AS. Tel: 01843 228866
- VCT Bike Hire The Parade, Minnis Bay, Birchington CT7 9QR. Tel: 01843 843309
- Harbour Bikes Arch 20 Military Road, Ramsgate CT11 9LG 01843 585060
- Margate Bikes and Hire 87a Canterbury Road, Margate, CT9 5AX 07756 041452
If you’d like to join a group, there is a selection of friendly cycle groups to suit a range of abilities. Why not get in touch and join the next group ride along the Viking Coastal Trail?
- Spokes East Kent Cycling Campaign. Tel: 01227 830336
- Wheelability, cycle club aimed at people with disabilities. Tel: 0333 366 0834
- Thanet Road Club