The appearance of Canterbury, from whatever part approached, is exquisitely beautiful, and as we enter, symbols of its antiquity stare us in the face everywhere.
Herne Bay, so named from the old village of Herne, about a mile and a half distant, which was thus called from the number of herons frequenting the coast at this point, was not, many years ago, more than a scanty collection of houses, irregularly built along the beach. It has now become a fashionable and somewhat populous watering-place, with long lines of streets, many of them still unfinished, stretching out in every direction. In 1831, a pier from one of Telford’s designs was commenced, and now presents an elegant and substantial structure, extending 3,640 feet over the sands and sea. At the extremity are commodious nights of steps for the convenience of small vessels and passengers landing at low water, and a fine parade sixty feet in width and upwards of a mile in length has been formed on the adjoining shore. The air is very bleak but invigorating, and the sea purer, it is considered, than at Margate. A considerable portion of the adjacent laud, and the very site of the town itself, was anciently covered by the waves, constituting the estuary which admitted the passage of the largest vessels, and divided the Isle of Thanet from the mainland. Mrs. Thwaites, the widow of a wealthy London merchant, has proved a munificent benefactress to the town, for, in addition to having built and endowed two large charity schools, she has caused to be constructed also a clock tower, which serves the purpose of a lighthouse as well. A new church has been built in the centre of the town, with a chapel of ease and a dissenting chapel, and there is also an infirmary for boys from the Duke of York’s military school at Chelsea. On the Parade is a large bathing establishment, with an elegant assembly-room adjoining, to which apartments for billiards, reading, &c., are attached. Libraries and bazaars have also been recently introduced in the usual number and variety. The old village church, with its embattled roof and square tower, is a spacious edifice, comprising a nave, two aisles, and three chancels.
About 1¾ mile to the east is the old Roman station of Reculver to which a pilgrimage should be made.
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This town stands close to the sea shore, which is a bold and open beach, being defended from the violence of the waves by an extensive wall of stones and pebbles which the sea has thrown up.
This much frequented point of continental embarkation has of late years occupied a prominent position among the watering-places of our island.