Ramsgate has been in the news of late because a man called Nigel Farage is standing to be MP there. Apparently Nigel Farage does not care for foreigners so I was on the look-out for the blighters when we visited. French Bulldogs; Carpathian Sheepdogs; Boston Terriers, which are from Boston in the USA and not Boston, Lincolnshire – I wondered whether Ramsgate would be a veritable tower of barking Babel. But I did not meet one foreigner – only a Scottie, and he is not from a different country quite yet. I was disappointed, in truth – I would have very much liked to practise my Carpathian.
Anyway Jane and I are not in Ramsgate because of Nigel Farage – we are in Ramsgate because our friend Tim fancied a weekend away and asked us to join him. One of our Rover Reporters had told us that the place to stay in Ramsgate is the Royal Harbour Hotel but, perhaps because it’s the place to stay, it was fully booked. So we went for Albion House, which had only been open a few weeks, and is on the edge of a smart little square, two-minutes from the town centre. (The smart little square is handy for a late night pee, although bereft of squirrels and foxes and foreigners, making it a bit boring-bones.)
Albion House, though – well, I couldn’t fault the place. The decor was all very minimalist and smart: I liked it, apart from this strange feller loitering around in reception who I didn’t much care for.
And the staff were very friendly and welcoming – so welcoming, in fact, that I thought I’d test out their dog-friendliness and did something I have never done before. Rover, I lifted my leg against a plant pot in reception, in full view of the hotel owner.
In my defence, this was the view from our bedroom window – a very large lamp post. I defy any dog to inhabit a room with a view of a loo and not have a bladder that requires immediate evacuation.
Jane screamed in horror but the owner was very relaxed – a cleaner was called and I left the scene of the crime unadmonished. The owner wouldn’t even accept the £10 note Jane attempted to give him in recompense for my misdemeanour.
(I have learnt my lesson, however. When Jane screamed in horror, I recoiled in horror at the pitch and decibel-level of her cry – akin to a seagull that has scoffed a packet of Lambert and Butler landing on my head. It was a very aurally unpleasant experience.)
Tim, who had been hoping for a quiet weekend by the seaside rather than a leg-lifting, horror-screaming extravaganza had, by now, had quite enough of all this ‘nonsense’ and marshalled us out to explore.
Ramsgate has plenty for the terrier traveller to get his sharp teeth stuck into. There is a harbour where humans can gaze at boats and dogs can bark at seagulls. There is a very long beach which, at low tide, leads all the way to Broadstairs.Between May and September, however, dogs are banned from some of the beaches which imho (in my hound’s opinion) is all wrong. (Perhaps this is something Mr Farage could address if he’s elected MP. He will have plenty of time, as there are no foreign dogs in Ramsgate, so he doesn’t need worry on that score.)
There are also some underground tunnels – apparently, during WW2, 60,000 people sheltered here from German bombs and at one time there were 1000 permanent residents. No doubt some of those fine underground dwellers were of canine-kind but, today, dogs aren’t allowed in. A shame but we are welcome, waggers, at Ratz cafe at the entrance to the tunnels where a bowl of water is provided for us.
Then we went for a stroll around the town itself and happened upon a cafe called Vinyl Head. It is called Vinyl Head as, along with coffee and cake, it sells vinyl – very old vinyl which people place on record players and spin around. The man who runs Vinyl Head is very friendly and brought me a bowl of water, pronto, and the other customers were very friendly too. One told Jane that Ramsgate is the ‘new Brighton’. I don’t quite understand why we need a new Brighton when we have a fit-for-purpose old one already but Jane nodded at this comment, as if it made sense to her. Then she made me pose for a photograph next to a piece of old vinyl but I couldn’t be bothered and I strolled out of shot. I am not a performing monkey – I have free will – and if I don’t want to be photographed next to some old vinyl I will vote with my paws and abscond.
What I wanted was to visit a public house – I’d heard that Nigel Farage is always in one and I hoped to discuss my idea about allowing dogs on Kent beaches all year long with him. So we ambled down the street to the Queen Charlotte and what a fine pub it was too. There were fairy lights, an old gramophone and paintings and ephemera (a big word for a little dog) from days gone by. But no Nigel Farage! I was confused-bones at first – Nigel Farage is always in the pub so why isn’t he in the pub? Then, as Tim and Jane chatted over their craft ales, I deduced the reason why Nigel Farage was absent. I think this might be the reason….
That is all getting a bit political for me, though, and, despite my name, I am not really a political animal. Instead, I’ll leave you with a nice photo of a Ramsgate Rover enjoying some spring sunshine tied to a lamp post.
Phileas Phacts: Ramsgate
- Albion House, Albion Place, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 8HQ Tel: 01843 606630; www.albionhouseramsgate.co.uk
- Prices start at £140 for a sea view cosy room; dogs stay free. Dogs aren’t allowed in the restaurant but can sit in the bar with their owners and can be left unattended in rooms.
- Royal Harbour Hotel, Nelson Crescent, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9JF Tel: 01843 591514; website: www.royalharbourhotel.co.uk
- Prices start at £100 per double per night and up; £10 per dog per stay.
- Ramsgate Tunnels, Marina Esplanade, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 8LN Tel: 01843 588123; www.ramsgatetunnels.org
- Vinyl Head, 2-3 The Broadway, Addington Street, Ramsgate, Kent Tel: 01843 334653; search Vinyl Head on Facebook for more information
- Queen Charlotte, 57 Addington Street, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9JJ Tel: 07956 666 192; search Queen Charlotte Ramsgate on Facebook
- For more information on which Ramsgate beaches dogs are banned from over the summer months log on to: http://thanet.gov.uk/your-services/beaches-and-coastline/dog-byelaws/dog-ban-beaches/