A long stretch of sand coupled with ample free parking and children’s outdoor play area near by make Minnis Bay the perfect beach for an afternoon in the sun. For the adventurous there is plenty of space for water sports, such as windsurfing or kite boarding, and there is a sailing club close by.
The paddling pool is the perfect location to hunt for crustaceans and there is also an excellent restaurant with a bar, and a kiosk on the prom. At high tide, usually a small amount of beach remains, except at spring time when the beach can disappear until the tide moves out again'(www.visitthanet.co.uk/attractions/minnis-bay/8124).
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
Minnis Bay is the perfect beach to visit on a day trip from South London. In fact, if you visit during the week ‘off-season’, you may be lucky enough to meet members of the Nayland Boat Sea Angling Society who will happily regale you with tales of their 1950s childhood day trips from the Lewisham area to Minnis Bay. As there are no arcades or similar amusements on Minnis Bay people who visit tend to do so because they want to enjoy the beach, the view or to cycle along the Viking Coastal Trail (an excellent way to combine your child’s Viking topic with a day out that doesn’t involve the unpleasant fragrances at Jorvik and is much closer to SE London). It’s less popular than Westbrook Bay or Margate but definitely makes for a more relaxed day as there are a limited number of things that can be nagged for.
The beach is sandy and at low tide offers lots of space for sandcastle-building and beach fun. There is no shade unless you set up shop against one of the stone groynes. During the summer there is a staffed First Aid point and a lifeguard (n.b. it’s worth taking the lifeguard’s advice about how rapidly the tide comes in). Walk along The Parade away from the colourful beach huts (which are only on the promenade during the summer as they are stored in the car park to protect them from winter storms) and, if the tide is out, you will see the tidal paddling pool constructed by the Victorians. Paddling isn’t recommended in it these days but it’s a brilliant location for crab catching, just make sure your child is wearing something on their feet.
Address: Minnis Bay, The Parade, Birchington-on-Sea CT7 9LX.
Playground: No playground on the beach itself but there is one on The Parade. There is a grassy picnic area between the pay and display car park and the area of the promenade where the beach huts begin which is used by groups to play rounders and other games. Beware of the dog poo though as it’s also used by dog walkers (dogs are not allowed on the beach at any time from 1st May until 30th September).
Cafe: There is the Minnis Bay Bar & Brasserie overlooking the beach, near the carpark and during the summer The Windshack kiosk on the promenade serves decent chips and ice-creams. The Windshack also sells buckets, spades and other beach essentials.
Toilets: Yes, in the pay and display car park behind the Brasserie/next to Viking Coastal Trail Bike Hire www.vctbikehire.co.uk.
Pram/wheelchair/mobility friendly: Yes! There are disabled car parking spaces, disabled toilets and, if accessed from The Parade (rather than over the grassy picnic area), the beach can be reached via slopes instead of steps provided the tide is out. Beware of the incoming tide which comes in very quickly. Beach wheelchairs can be booked by calling 01843 296111 in advance.
Parking: There is a pay and display car park at the very end of The Parade (don’t turn down Hengist Road by mistake!). If you arrive early enough you will be able to park on The Parade itself which is free of charge. Beware of using SatNav to get to Minnis Bay; it will direct you to Birchington rather than Minnis Bay so it’s best to use CT7 9QP (postcode for the cycle hire place).
Nearest station: Birchington.
Bus: Buses from Birchington drop off at Minnis Bay. During the summer an open-top coastal bus serves Minnis Bay.
Phone: 01843 577577.
Email: [email protected].
Review by Rebecca Asker.