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Broadstairs New Year’s Day Swim

After a long and glorious summer the weather is finally starting to get colder here in our lovely town of Broadstairs. The micro-climate on Kent’s Isle of Thanet has kept on delivering us sunny days with bright blue skies right through most of October, but today we have rain and a chill in the air and it’s time to start digging out warmer coats and think about hats, scarves and boots too, as we move on to the next phase of the year. Winter beckons.

Some people have the idea that seaside towns close down in the winter and that it’s not a good time to visit – that’s rubbish!

Broadstairs may be quieter for the next few months but things around here are far from dead.  This weekend there will be fireworks over the bay and a band playing at the bandstand for Guy Fawkes Night. The lively local music scene continues year round with plenty of gigs and concerts always taking place – Cube Jazz Quartet are performing on 27th November care of the Broadstairs Music Recital Society and there’s lots more live music in several of the local bars including: Harpers, the Tartare Frigate, Wrotham Arms, Fish and Beer, Neptunes Hall and the Chapel – as well as the programme at the Memorial Theatre.

As we get closer to Christmas there are the usual Christmas Fayres, late night shopping and craft markets here and in our sister towns.  The boats in Ramsgate Harbour will be beautifully lit up making a spectacular display, shops on Broadstairs High Street will be doing a white light Christmas this year and the whole place will take on a twinkly festive feel which we love, just as much as that high summer traditional English seaside vibe which we’re best known for.

You can read more about the festive season in Broadstairs and surrounding area in one of our earlier posts here.

One big event that takes place and seems to get bigger each year which we haven’t told you about before is the Broadstairs New Year’s Day Swim. This takes place at midday on 1st January each year and is organised by Jill Connell, the landlady of the Neptunes Hall pub, as a fundraiser for the Children’s Liver Foundation. The charity is close to Jill and husband Ken’s hearts as their daughter Lily’s life was saved by a liver transplant when she was just a baby.

The video above shows the 2015 swim.

In 2016 even more people took part, see below, both of these terrific videos were shared on YouTube by Marian Marshall:

There is a great community atmosphere amongst everyone who swims or spectates. One wag commented last year that watching the swimmers set off was “like a jaws movie in reverse as everyone runs IN to the sea screaming!”

Anyone can donate to support the fundraising or just watch the swimmers but all those taking part contribute at least £10 towards the charity. Swimmers are then treated to soup chilli or curry back at the Neptune while others may head off to one of the other local bars or restaurants for other warming refreshments.

Those of us spotted later with bright pink cheeks and broad smiles are likely to be the ones who were mad enough to throw ourselves in. It’s a great way to start the year and a fantastic event for the town, whether you’re doing the dip or just watching the Broadstairs New Year’s Swim event is brilliant fun!

If you  like the sound of being here over New Year – go to our home page to check availability of one our holiday lets where you can be cosy and warm and situated close to all the action, whether it’s the swim or the nightlife, firework displays, great local restaurants or bracing beach walks – starting 2017 in Broadstairs is sure to get your 2017 year off to a great start.