This autumn I had an opportunity to visit Deal in Kent for a short weekend break. This tiny town in the White Cliffs Country just blew my mind! Deal is the most charming English coastal town I have visited so far.
It steals your heart with its picturesque streets, quirky shops and markets, pastel-coloured house facades, pristine seaside, mouth-watering food, and above all, the friendliness of its residents (they genuinely live up to their town’s motto: “Befriend the Stranger”).
Wherever I travel to, I’m always on the lookout for the most photogenic and eye-catching locations.
Today, I want to share with you my top 6 most insta-worthy spots in Deal, Kent.
Deal Castle is the major attraction in Deal. It is the 16th century Tudor artillery fort built on the orders of King Henry VIII. It was designed to repel foreign ships from any approach.
That’s why it was built with its fascinating circular design. I spent an hour inside the castle to learn more about its history and to escape torrential rain.
Wandering around the circular rooms and underground tunnels of the castle was quite a spooky experience. Most of the passageways were dark and disorientating (purposefully built this way to protect it from any intruders who had managed to enter the castle).
I didn’t take any interior photos but I got some nice shots of the castle taken from the courtyard and from the seafront. From the castle courtyard you can get some nice shots of the shoreline, too.
Following my visit to the Castle, I continued my walk to the beautiful three-mile seafront promenade. That’s where you can find the prettiest thing to photograph in Deal – the colourful fishing boats known as Deal cutters.
Interestingly, Deal has never had a harbour. The fishing boats are simply pulled up onto the shingle. They offered a splendid splash of colour against a turquoise sky (luckily the sun came out eventually after a heavy rain). The “Morning Haze” was my favourite.
You can go wild with your camera here! The photo opportunities are limited only by your imagination. You can get some nice shots of the boats with the Deal pier and English Channel in the background.
Deal Seafront and Pier
The pebble beach and pier are very picturesque. On the day of my visit, the beach was nearly deserted, and the pier was occupied mainly by fishermen. It was lovely to go on a quiet stroll along the pier, taking in the relaxing coastal vibe.
There are many pretty cafes, pubs, and restaurants along the seafront. And you can take many great panoramic shots of the seafront from the pier. You could also come here right before sunset to take photos at the golden hour or to take some night shots of the beautifully illuminated pier.
If you want to enjoy a coffee break or meal with a spectacular view over the sea, you can stop at Deal Pier Kitchen, a restaurant perched at the end of the pier.
Shops and Local markets
I love treasure hunting in local flea markets and quirky vintage shops, and Deal has a lot to offer for shopping lovers.
If you are often on the prowl for unique gems to bring home with you or take a snap of, you are in for a treat.
I visited two markets during my stay. The first one was a Deal Saturday Market held at Union Road Park. You can browse here for anything from clothes, jewellery, toys, antiques, and flowers to local produce.
Note that it’s open from 8am until 2pm (April to October) and 9am until 2pm (November to March). So, if you come here on a Saturday, this is where to start your day.
The second market I visited was the Village Indoor Market, where you can find anything from refurbished furniture, antiques, and homeware to food and second-hand clothing. It’s open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 4pm.
While strolling through the town, and especially award-winning High Street, you will come across many other gorgeous independent shops and unusual boutiques. They are perfect for gift and souvenir seekers.
Deal Saturday Market: Union Rd, Deal CT14 6BE
The Village Market: Sonders Road, Deal, CT14 7BW
Once in Deal, you also need to take a stroll through narrow, winding Middle Street. It is the prettiest street in Deal and full of its own character. It’s lined with historic Georgian terraced houses. Their pastel facades are a perfect backdrop for photos.
Middle Street is also shrouded in mystery. This is where smugglers were operating in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their hiding places can still be found in some of the private houses.
Many houses were once pubs or inns. Some of those inns survived until today as private houses and have original pub names, such as “Deal Cutter”.
There are many side streets leading from Middle Street that are historically interesting and worth exploring too.
Victuals & Co
I cannot leave you without mentioning this charming restaurant. I stopped here for lunch and a glass of wine after reading many awesome online reviews about this place.
It’s worth mentioning not just for its pretty and Insta-worthy interiors but also superb food (looking almost too good to eat :)) prepared with fresh and mainly locally-sourced ingredients.
The menu changes seasonally so each time you visit Victuals & Co, you can try something new. I can guarantee that you won’t leave unimpressed by its haute cuisine and extremely friendly service.
I hope this article encouraged you to go and explore Deal through your own eyes and your camera lens. I will definitely plan another visit to explore more of this hidden seaside gem!