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Thursday, 18.15 One of our best girlfriends raves about Broadstairs in Kent so much that Monsieur 2 and I have decided to head down for a night to see if we might fancy a longer visit sometime. Another friend who lives locally has recommended bed and breakfast Burrow House for its quiet location just off the sea-front; we arrive there after a ten minute stroll from Broadstairs station. 18.25 At the door we’re greeted warmly by dapper proprietor Gavin and shown first into what he describes as “your drawing room”. It’s a bright, large room at the front of the immaculate Victorian house and we’re happy to sink into a vast velvet sofa and fill out the visitors’ book. Gavin points out an Inspector Gadget-worthy buzzer wired into a cigar box with which he can be contacted at any time – talk about personal service! 18.36 Gavin shows us up to our room, one of just four – the Wallace. It’s a good size, its centrepiece a beautiful Rococo-style carved king size bed; there are also a couple of very comfy looking deep-red velvet armchairs and an eye-catching ornate chandelier. The room has all the elegance of any boutique hotel we’ve stayed in, but with the personal feel of someone’s home. 18.52 Once we’ve unpacked, we decide to head down to the beach as it’s a beautiful sunny evening. We know it can’t be far as we can just see the sea from our window! Turning left out of Burrow House, it’s a couple of minutes to the promenade and then just a few hundred metres further along – past Lillyputt Minigolf, sadly closed! – to the golden sandy sweep of Viking Bay. With the sun slowly setting and the gentle waves lapping the sand, it couldn’t be more romantic. The locals are a bohemian bunch and no-one bats an eyelid as we walk happily hand-in-hand. 19.25 Ready for a drink, we wander from the seafront and chance upon the Neptune’s Hall, what Monsieur 2 calls ‘an old man’s pub’ but I prefer to think of as ‘unspoiled’. We enjoy a pint of local Shepherd Neame ale and admire some of the photos from the annual Dickens festival which passes through the pub. Charles Dickens, Britain’s greatest ever author, was a regular visitor to Broadstairs and notably its most famous fan. His novel Bleak House was inspired by the place, and as we walk around the town we smile as we clock plenty of references to one of our favourite literary legends. 20.40 We’ve read that there are some good restaurants in the town but ever since we caught a waft of salt and vinegar as we walked down from the station we’ve been dreaming of fish and chips! We pick some up from top-notch chippy Star Of The Sea on the High Street, and take them back down to the promenade. 21.15 As we stroll back towards Burrow House the neon sign of Morelli’s ice-cream parlour catches our eye and draws us in. There’s a huge variety of flavours of both gelato and sorbet; we can’t resist and share a cone of rhubarb and custard and mint choc chip – delicious. 21.35 Back at Burrow House we head up to the Wallace Room, noticing on the way that stencilled lampshades cast striking shadows on the walls, a design detail that meets our approval. We make a bedtime cuppa, slip between the silky-soft covers and snuggle up to watch an old movie. Bliss. Friday, 08.00 Waking to the sound of seagulls from a very peaceful night’s sleep – the bed was super-comfy with its memory foam mattress – we start the day with a shower in our small, but pretty bathroom using the patriotic Penhaligon’s products. 08.30 We saunter downstairs to the sun-filled dining room for breakfast, collecting our complimentary Independent newspaper on the way.
A table’s been set for us by the bay window, ready with a colourful fresh fruit platter and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Gavin used to be a chef and has even served royalty – he clearly knows how to make guests feel like it too. He personally cooks our full English, using some wonderful local produce – we both comment on the wonderful thick bacon and properly meaty sausages, and it’s all served with elegance and impeccable manners. 09.20 Although we don’t have to check out until 11.00, we bid Gavin and Burrow House goodbye as we want to spend some more time enjoying the town before our train home. Just round the corner we stop for coffee and cake at 1950s-themed Oscar’s Festival Cafe, a tiny little hut bursting with character – it feels like a community centre as much as a cafe! We also visit some of the town’s little side streets lined with beautiful 17th century cottages, before one last stroll along the beach. 11.11 Time to board the train home, but only for now; our girlfriend was right about how brilliant Broadstairs is. We’re definitely going to come back for longer, and take in the nearby Thanet towns of Margate and Ramsgate too. When we do, we’ll certainly be very happy to return for more of the homely luxury and warm welcome of Burrow House.
Mention Les Deux Messieurs on booking, and you’ll receive a complimentary cocktail. Our rating: For its impeccable service, we awarded this luxury boutique gay friendly B&B in Broadstairs, South East England, 4 stars.
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