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The great escape

Deal, Kent

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Move over Margate and Whitstable, says The Sunday Times, which this year named this creative hotspot on the Kent coast one of the best places to live in Britain. “The sophisticated and the sensible are nicely balanced and come with a sea view.”

Places of note The Telegraph has called Deal’s high street the best in the UK – it’s packed with record stores, a micropub and galleries. There’s a castle commissioned by Henry VIII, but the pebble beach is the biggest selling point, with an old-fashioned pier and plenty of spots for fish and chips.

Famous faces After Margate’s artistic makeover, Deal is fast becoming the next destination on the Kent coast for creative types fleeing London. Comedian and Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding was rumoured to have moved here after showcasing his artwork in a local gallery.

Weather Surprisingly sunny by UK standards, with an estimated 1,802 hours of sunshine a year – leagues ahead of the national average of 1,493. The average sea temperature, however, is a bracing 12.6C.

Places to eat You’ll be after fish and chips, obviously: the Middle Street Fish Bar is the best place for battered cod, polished off with an ice cream from the 1960s-style Deal Beach Parlour. For something smarter, try the Frog and Scot – a French bistro that gives its neighbours across the Channel a run for their money.

1 To stay

The Rose is a boutique hotel with a genuine sense of style and fun. The Times, the Telegraph and the Evening Standard all agree – they’ve given it rave reviews. Doubles from £100 a night, B&B.

2 To rent

Raspberry Cottage dates from 1564 and has the thatched roof and beamed ceilings to prove it. Three miles south of Deal, it has two bedrooms (one with a sofa bed), two bathrooms and a garden with countryside views. From £639 a week.

3 To Airbnb

This stylish one-bedroom flat on the seafront is perfect for a seaside weekend. On a clear day you can see France from the kitchen window. From £316 for two nights.

4 To buy

This manor north of the town centre was built in the early 18th century and remodelled 200 years later, reputedly by Edwin Lutyens. It has six bedrooms, four receptions and a large garden with a grass tennis court, an orangery and a brick gazebo. £1.7m.