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Introducing Broadstairs

Unlike its bigger, brasher neighbours, the pretty little resort village of Broadstairs revels in its quaintness, plays the Victorian nostalgia card at every opportunity and names every second business after the works of its most famous holidaymaker, Charles Dickens. Behind the neatly manicured gardens, the cute little orange-sand bay and its wistful Punch and Judy shows, however, is a far grittier history of smuggling and shipbuilding.

The tourist office (0870 264 6111; 10am-4pm Mon-Sat) has details of the annual, week-long Dickens Festival in mid-June which culminates in a banquet-cum-ball in Victorian dress (£15). It’s located in the quaint Dickens House Museum (861232; www.dickenshouse.co.uk; 2 Victoria Pde; adult/child £2.30/1.20; 10am-4pm Apr-Oct), which was actually the home of Mary Pearson Strong, inspiration for the character of Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. Diverse Dickensiana on display includes letters from the author.

Dickens wrote parts of Bleak House and David Copperfield in the handsome if slightly worse-for-wear clifftop house above the pier between 1837 and 1859. Now private property, it suffered severe fire damage in 2006.