With so many golf clubs and tour companies offering exceptional deals on “Stay & Play” golf trips, its easy to see why they appeal to the masses. However, for travel lovers like us, we look for a little more from our trips. Here we’re going to explore how you can play some of the best golf, but still enjoy the local history and amenities that Deal and it’s surrounding area in Kent have to offer. Known for its prestigious golf and history alike, this seaside town has so much fun to offer on a short trip away, and we think it would be a crime to miss any of it.
Where to Stay
Deal is a quintessential seaside town situated less than 10 miles from the port of Dover, and only 80 miles from London. Deal is easily reachable by car or public transport and so in the summer, this seaside town comes to life with people from afar. Deal has a lot of history – it has been settled since Julius Caesar’s Roman invasion of Britain, but became of notable importance in Medieval times when it became a ‘limb port’ of the Cinque Ports, where fisherman became the countries main naval defence from Norse invasion in exchange for the ability to import goods from overseas. Deal does not have a ‘port’ so-to-speak, but their silty and shallow waters provided a soft anchorage for larger ships, enabling smaller vessels to ferry goods back and forth. Henry VIII built 3 castles in the vicinity of Deal, two of which still stand. Deal is strewn with important historical features, and its town centre is conserved in order to retain its charming character and history. The cottages are small and wonky in places, and the streets narrow, and you cant help but to be in awe of this preserved slice of history.
We recommend staying in Deal, or nearby Sandwich or Walmer, for ease of access to the four prestigious and distinctive golf courses that we’re about to recommend. But first, here are our favourite places to stay:
The recently renovated Rose Hotel lies in the centre of Deal town centre and provides easy access to each golf course and activity we’ve listed here. The 8 rooms are full of vintage furniture and colourful decoration, each with their own personality and a combination of glamour and homely comfort . The Rose, like Deal, has a long and colourful history, and the owners let it shine through! The hotel comes complete with a very well reviewed restaurant and bar, too! Rooms start at £90 per night.
The Clarendon is situated on the seafront near to the pier. Many of the 17 rooms have an eastern facing sea view, meaning you could wake up to a beautiful sunrise every morning of your stay! All of the rooms have nautical themed decor too, which we think is an absolute must when staying on the English coast.
A Holiday Let
Deal is packed to the brim with holiday let properties of varying sizes, and this is often the most cost effective way for a group of people to enjoy their stay. Many websites offer homes and cottages for varying lengths of time over the summer, but we love Keeper’s Cottage’s portfolio of properties across the region of Kent, with many options in Deal, Walmer, Sandwich and Kingsdown for you to choose between.
Where to Play
Due to it’s incredible geology and geography, Deal and it’s surrounding area has become a hot spot for some of the best golf in the country. With all four main clubs all situated next to the sea, the golf can be as challenging as it can be delightful. On a fair and clear day, you can see France and watch the ferries and fisherman making the 20.7 mile journey across the busiest stretch of water in Europe.
Kingsdown & Walmer Golf Club
This stunning 18-hole course overlooks the English Channel from the top of a cliff – the infamous White Cliffs. A course deigned by the acclaimed James Braid, Kingsdown & Walmer have retained their membership of the James Braid Association which allows players from other membership clubs to play for a reduced green fee. Don’t worry if your club isn’t a member of the scheme though, as the green fees here are the most reasonable in the area at between £40-£50 (depending on when you play).
Royal Cinque Ports
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club has a long and rich history and is considered one of the most prestigious courses in the country. Having had ‘royal’ associations since around 1900 when the Prince of Wales (who went on to become Edward VII) used to visit and play frequently, it’s Royal Patron is now Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Royal Cinque Ports has also held the Open Championship twice, in 1909 and 1920, and is also the home of the Halford Hewitt, an amateur tournament between alumni of public schools in Britain. The green fees here are between £95-£215 depending on when and how long you wish to play.
Royal St George Golf Club
Royal St Georges Golf Club is perhaps the most well known in the area, not only for its fantastic links golf, reputation and Royal status, but also because they are hosting The Open in 2020! This summer, the green fees are between £225 and £275 depending on how many rounds you want to play!
Prince’s Golf Club
Prince’s Gold Club is a 27-hole course which neighbours Royal St George’s (just a little further towards Sandwich) and often hosts the qualifiers for The Open. You can play each of their 9-hole rounds any number of times and in any combination, which provides great variety. You can play 18 holes this summer for between £80 – £105.
Where To Eat & Drink
The Frog and Scot
The Frog & Scot is a modern-classic French bistro in Deal town centre and is a wonderful place to go for a meal or a lunch. Offering quality ingredients and superb cooking in a warm and friendly environment, Frog and Scot is bistronomy at it’s best! Serving up both classic and contemporary dishes, food is prepared using the freshest, locally sourced seasonal produce. The bistro has been included in both the 2019 Michelin Guide and the Good Food Guide 2019, and offers a casual yet elegant setting for a damn fine meal.
81 Beach Street
The menus at 81 Beach Street provide a wonderful range of diverse and quality food served on a daily basis. Put together by one of the most experienced and talented kitchen teams in the area, there is always a great choice of fresh, creative plates; meals that taste as good as they look!
The Courtyard Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Is any trip to the seaside without oysters complete? We think NOT! Dedicated to creating a relaxed grown-up ambiance – whether you’re sipping a glass of wine in the lounge or dining under the stars with the sliding glass roof – The Courtyard have a focus on sourcing the freshest ingredients possible, whether that’s lobster caught by local fishermen just a stone’s throw from the restaurant, or other locally sourced Kentish produce.
The Just Reproach
You may have heard of the recent phenomena of “Micro Pubs”, and The Just Reproach is a Micro Pub in its entirety. Started in December 2011, the Just Reproach is now firmly part of the Deal community. Specialising in real ales from microbreweries across the UK, and with no phones or computers allowed, the owners serve great Real Ales and great real conversation. Stories have circulated about the proprietor nailing ringing phones to the wall, and there are some somewhat evidential phones up there already, so make sure you switch it off and enjoy yourself!
Perhaps the most jumping pub in Deal, its not hard to understand why. With its central location, quirky decor, a sun-trap beer garden and all beers and spirits under the sun, ‘The Boho‘ (as it’s called by the locals) is a fun and happening place for a few ‘scoops’ before you settle in for the night.
The Kings Head
You certainly wont miss this pub with its gorgeous adornment of bright flowers on the front of the building, and neither should you. This small, 250 year old pub is a popular spot for sport-lovers, without being a crazy sports bar. The selection of beers is great, and they also serve traditional ‘pub grub’. Keep your eyes peeled whilst you’re there, as you may bump into a celebrity or two! This pub is a favourite of many locally-residing TV stars!
Located just up the road in neighbouring Walmer, The Lighthouse almost counts as an activity as opposed to a venue. Almost every night of the week, you can watch some of the area’s finest creative talent perform, including musicians and comedians, while you enjoy your drink. It is usually free to attend, apart from some specially ticketed events, but ensure you have some change to “put in the pig” on the bar to help support all that they do.
Activities Other Than Golf
Built by Henry VIII in order to help protect Britain’s coastline in times of artillery advancement, this fortress is one of the finest artillery castles in the kingdom. Today you can explore the whole of the castle, from the storerooms to the first-floor captain’s residence. A new permanent exhibition is now on display at the castle, revealing how Henry VIII’s fears for the safety and security of his realm shaped the country’s defences and his own married life.
Also originally a Tudor fortress, Walmer Castle evolved into a stately-home for the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports, and became the residence of famous names from the Duke of Wellington to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The castle is the location where Wellington passed away, and the rooms where he resided have been preserved in their original state. This month marks his 250th birthday!
The Deal Maritime & Local History Museum
filled with local maritime history, local industrial history, information on local geology such as the old coal mines and the Goodwin Sands, if you want to understand more about how this quirky town came to be then look no further.
Deal is scattered with many antique and restored vintage furniture shops. The selection of what you can find is immense, and if you are looking for something in particular, be it a piece of furniture or a trinket, then Deal is surely the place where it will be revealed. There is also a Saturday market which is worth a browse!
The walk from St Margarets at Cliffe back down into Deal town is a beautiful way to spend a morning when the sun’s shining. You’ll meet loots of walkers, dog walkers, cyclists and runners, and on a clear day your can see France. The terrain isn’t too perilous, but take your walking boots because it can often be a little muddy. Don’t forget to stop for refreshments at The Zetland Arms, and have one for us, too!
Main Image: camerashake, Deal Pier Kent, Flickr Creative Commons
By Sofi Pickering