Are you looking to escape the Big Smoke and fill your lungs with some sea air? Then Deal with its pastel-hued fisherman’s cottages, wide pebbled beach, vintage shopping and dreamy food might just be for you. At less than 90 minutes from London, it’s certainly worth giving it a go.
Where to stay
Do yourself a favour and book a room at the adorable The Rose. This much-loved hotel and restaurant is always a popular pick and has graced the travel pages of most UK magazines – Grace Dent is a huge fan. Unlike many similar places, this one truly lives up to the hype.
Dine downstairs where cosy pub food is delivered with great aplomb and tinkle the ice around your Rum Old Fashioned while putting the world to rights before you clamber upstairs to your colourful chamber. Snag a room with a bath to relax in true TeamCoco style.
What to do
Grab yourself a takeaway coffee from PopUp Café and take to the shore, wandering first through the rows of fisherman’s cottages before hitting the pebbled beach.
On a bracing day, head down the brutalist pier to Deal Pier Kitchen and reward yourself with a chunky slice of homemade cake. If you need a longer walk head down the coast past Deal Castle to the seasonally open Hut 55 for coffee and ‘trash cookies’.
Back on dry land, wander the town’s high street bobbing into charity shops stocked to the brim with retro delights and vintage gems. On this research trip I was rewarded with an 80s wool camel coat so it’s always worth bringing space in your suitcase. If it’s a Saturday be sure to swing by the Deal Market (8am - 2pm April to October and 9am - 2pm November to March) and bag a couple of Bygga Bo’s (ex-East London Scandi café) cinnamon buns before they all sell out.
Also in town pop into Hoxton Store for delightful homeware and candles that remind you of expensive hotels. For retro furniture check out Mileage before making your way to Smuggler’s Records for some vinyl browsing with a bevvy in hand. Our pick is a local can of Time & Tide’s fresh and citrusy Fridge King IPA.
What to eat
In addition to The Rose’s dinner options (see above), our top pick in town is Vampiros Taqueria which is popping up on Saturdays at live music venue The Lighthouse Bar. The Birria Tacos were the perfect combination of melt-in-your-mouth and satisfyingly drippy with fresh salsitas and chips on the side. It’s hard to come across decent Mexican in this part of the world but this is it – and then some.
Keep your eyes on The Rose's instagram for their mid-week winter deal (yes, a deal in Deal) - it's often dinner for two, an overnight and a multiple course breakfast for an absolute steal. See you there.