Happy day in Herne Bay

Feeling a little worse for wear after a splendid wedding reception at the Poplar Rowing Club we emerged into Sunday morning blinking in the unexpected sunshine. September always knows how to surprise you with a lovely 23 degree smasher after days of drizzle and meh.

With cobwebs to blow away and no plans it was quickly decided that a Big Bernice Day Out was required. We cobbled together some sandwiches and found a single packet of crisps (known in our house, thanks to my friend Sarah, as an “austerity picnic”), stuck a pin in the map and headed off to Herne Bay knowing nothing about what it was like or what was there.

It turned out to be rather….fabulous.

Herne Bay is on the south coast of the Thames estuary and only 7 miles from Canterbury. It’s a mainly pebble beach and is notable for having had the second longest pier in the UK, built for passengers of the paddle steamers, at over 1km. Unfortunately the pier was destroyed in a storm in 1978 and only the lonely landing stage remains out at sea.

A somewhat shorter pier still remains and SC, a lover of all things fairground related, was taken immediately with the merry go round and helterskelter. There’s a lovely row of shops in beach huts offering a wide range of goods and services including glitter tattoos, haircuts, palm reading and whatever your heart desires made of wicker.

The weather was fabulous, bright and breezy and Herne Bay felt really buzzing. Everything was smart and well maintained including the seafront gardens and a great children’s play area.

Boy with Boat (Paula Haughney) accompanied by Girl with Bucket

The bandstand was packed to the walls awaiting a free concert from the Kent Coastal Concert Band. We grabbed an ice cream and settled down for a Joseph medley and Singing in the Rain – brilliant!

At no extra cost was a lengthy, slightly vitriolic rant from the conductor about cuts by the local council and the price of sheet music. We watched the band (and the ranting) until an exploding ice cream and the ensuing mess embarrassed us back to the beach.

After another hour on the beach we dragged ourselves reluctantly back Bernice-ward. SC was delighted to get a bonus go on the trampolines then she and I pressed our faces longingly against the fence of the mini-golf (which looked as if it had been repainted that morning it was so shiny). Scott had to remind us that time was marching on and we had school/work in the morning…spoilsport. Parking for Bongos is easy, there’s P&D along the sea front or free parking on be road a bit further back.

Herne Bay, you’ve got yourself some new fans, we will definitely be back!

No other Bongos spotted yesterday but I did get a full hand-out-the-window enthusiastic wave on the Woolwich Rd on Saturday from a white bongo with purple detail on the AFT. No photo as I was driving and they frown on that kind of thing…


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