Original article from Kent Live
We're well known for our coastline in Kent – there's no doubt we've got some of the best beaches in the whole country.
But according to a recent Which? poll, some of Kent's seaside destinations aren't as popular as we thought.
In fact none of our beautiful beaches made it into the UK top 10.
Using data from just over 4,000 visitors, people were asked about a number of things that made a destination great.
Rated on a scale of 1-to-5 stars – on their beaches, attractions, scenery, peace and quiet, and value for money – each town was also given a metacritic-style aggregated customer score.
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With just under 100 seaside spots ranked across the UK, a few of Kent's big names underperformed, with the public not being especially kind to some of our historic treasures.
The highest flyers were a mixed bunch, from Bamburgh in Northumberland, to more well known places like Rye in East Sussex and Dartmouth in Devon.
However, none of Kent's seaside locations made it anywhere near the top 10, let alone the pinnacle of the top 5.
A common theme for Kent was a poor rating for attractions, even with the better performers.
However our peacefulness and our beaches were ranked pretty handsomely, scoring above average in most instances.
Without further ado, let's dig into which towns placed where according to this Which? survey
A slightly odd choice for Kent's top seaside town, Dungeness is more of a coastal oddity than a conventional tourist spot, but in that sense the appeal is pretty obvious.
One of Europe's largest expanses of shingle, the flat, stark landscape is a really oddly beautiful bit of Kent, even with the nuclear power station looming over the landscape.
Often touted as the only technical desert in the UK, Dungeness might not be quite the same as Blackpool or Brighton, with only a 2/5 for attractions, but it rated highly for scenery, with a 4/5.
It is also nearly unmatched on value for money and peace and quiet – rating a full 5/5 for both, with a 76 per cent aggregated score across customer reviews.
Deal is next up on the list, and is generally a much more conventional seaside town, again scoring well on value and peace and quiet, landing a 4/5 for both.
Though its beach was only given a 2, the scenery is pleasant, going against the thoughts of British literary greats Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens who really didn't have many kind things to say about it.
Though Dickens described it as having "as dull an appearance as any place I ever saw", the town's pier, historic castle and proximity to Sandwich and Dover make it a perfectly serviceable tourist spot.
Broadstairs is the first of the better known tourist spots to fall well down the list.
Known as the "Jewel in Thanet's crown", the town is right on the tip of Kent's northeastern coast, and its economy thrives off tourism, with nearby beaches like Viking Bay making this understandable.
However Which's customer reviewers weren't quite so enthusiastic, and though the beach landed a Kent-best 4/5, the attractions were given a pitiful 1, with the rest of the town thoroughly average (according to customer reviews).
Despite not being the worst ranked on the list, with a 74 per cent aggregated rating, bizarrely Whitstable's star scores are clearly the worst in Kent.
With everything other than attractions given a 2/5, there's little reason it was ranked even as high as 56th from the data we have.
This is made only more perplexing by the fact the town's attractions were given but a single star.
In any case, we're sure something is amiss here.
73rd: Herne Bay
Getting really into the bottom end of the rankings, Herne Bay is almost the opposite of Whitstable, with its star ratings a little better than its low placement might suggest.
With a nice 4/5 on peace and quiet, an acceptable 3/5 on value and not-so-awful 2/5s on its beach and scenery, the north Kent seaside town ranks just above the far better known Hastings in East Sussex.
Maybe the pier being partially lost to the sea, with the end totally stranded in the water, has pulled it down a place or two.
But honestly, we think its all part of Herne Bay's unique charm.
With just 64 per cent from customer review scores, Folkestone is one of the worst seaside towns on the list, though its scenery and beach getting 3/5 are saving graces.
Though there's reportedly little to do, according to the attractions rating of 1/5, the seaport town might have been just a little undersold.
From the Folkestone Triennial art event, to the slightly less distinguished annual Zombie Walk, it might not be one of Kent's best, but 79th feels a little harsh.
And that's not even mentioning the Lower Leas Coastal Park.
Ramsgate is another location that feels like it has been very harshly judged here, with a score of only 64 per cent.
It's good value, at 4/5 stars for price, and has passable scenery and a decent beach, both rated 3/5, so it placing quite so low is a little perplexing.
However, it's still ranked a good few places higher than the historical seaside icon of Blackpool, so it really can't be that bad.
Officially the worst seaside town in Kent, Margate is only just better than three other seaside spots, including Skegness and Weston-super-Mare.
A damning reflection of how Margate's status as a holiday destination in the 20th century has crumbled, the highest mark given was for the beach, a simply average 3/5.
With only 57 per cent from aggregated review scores, the recent efforts at regenerating the once legendary seaside resort clearly haven't quite paid off, according to Which? reviewers, no matter how many listed buildings line the streets of this once great historic town.