A Wee Tale

Once upon a time, the original owner, a certain Mrs Wollaston, established a library here that became a place of rest and restoration from the stormy seas. A literary lighthouse for sailors, shipwrecked seafarers and – who knows – perhaps even the odd pirate. To this day, Mrs Wollaston’s fine tradition lives on. Weary travellers find their very own bright, sunshiny days in her sanctuary by the sea. The Boatman’s Reading Rooms is still nestled amongst colourful Georgian buildings and fishing boats, all within a few briny steps of beaches, vibrant huts, local seafood restaurants and traditional pubs.

Dive deeper into the history >

23 The Strand, Walmer, Deal CT14 7DX, UK
102 London Rd, Deal CT14 9TY, UK
120 Gladstone Rd, Walmer, Deal CT14 7EP, UK
Frog And Scot, High Street, Deal, UK

Deal Castle, Walmer, Deal, UK
The Salutation Hotel, Restaurant & Gardens, Knightrider Street, Sandwich, UK
Dover Castle, Castle Hill Road, Dover, UK
The Rose, High Street, Deal, UK
Hut 55, Marine Road, Walmer, Deal, UK
Deal Pier Kitchen, Pier, Beach Street, Deal, UK
Le Pinardier, High Street, Deal, UK
Pop Up Cafe, High Street, Deal, UK
Walmer Fish & Chips, The Strand, Walmer, Deal, UK
81 Beach Street, Deal, UK
Bangkok Pavillion, High Street, Deal, UK
The Ship Inn, Middle Street, Deal, UK
South Foreland Lighthouse, Upper Road, Saint Margaret's at Cliffe, Dover, UK
Deal Timeball Tower, Deal, UK
Mike's Bikes Deal, Marine Road, Walmer, Deal, UK
Walmer & Kingsdown Golf Club, The Leas, Kingsdown, Deal, UK
Deal Visitor Information Centre, High Street, Deal, UK
Victoria Park, Mill Road, Deal, UK
Bridleway Riding School, Riding Centre, Station Road, Walmer, Deal, UK
Balmoral Surgery, Canada Road, Walmer, Deal, UK
Maison Dieu Veterinary Group - Dover, Maison Dieu Road, Dover, UK
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Ramsgate Road, Margate, UK
Aspendos, 12 King Street, Dover, UK

Things To Do

You don’t have to be a historian to enjoy the tales of smugglers and the historic myriad of escape tunnels built in the Second World War along the Kent coastline. Steeped in history, the area is fascinating, the countryside beautiful and then there are the beaches – you can’t beat it.


On the Front
Pink and pale lemon, blue and cream, we love the higgledy-piggledy Georgian houses which make up the centrepiece of the seafront and Old Town of Deal. With its vintage vibe, this thriving creative area is fun to browse, stopping off at one of the many good cafes - Hog and Bean with its curved windows is one of our favourite places for coffee or brunch in Deal.
The Boatmen’s Reading Room is a stone’s throw from the area surrounding Middle Street north of King Street and the pedestrian area of the High Street up to around Alfred Square. Wander the narrow roads and tight lanes with period two up two downs opening right onto the pavement. Easy to get a feel for what it would have been like in the days of smugglers and bootleggers.

Deal’s contemporary art scene is lively, with many art galleries to explore.

For little ones
Deal is a haven for those who love to paddle. We’ve spent many an hour by the huge paddling pool (open in summer months) just a few hundred metres from the house. Rockpools and the beach will keep a small person busy, with refreshments available at plenty of cafes, another favourite is The Sea Café opposite the house. Here we settle on the grass and enjoy a well-earned ice cream. You may come across the bandstand holding one of their regular concerts in summer and there’s always the famous Lifeboat to visit.

Foodie heaven
Good food is always a big pull, there’s plenty available in Deal. From a fabulous selection of cafes where you can sample all kinds of cakes and coffee to pubs and restaurants to suit all tastes. No need to cook but if you love to, we’ve added a few of our favourite food shops.

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More About The Area

Take your book to any of the four window seats with sea views…

“We toasted the most amazing sunsets from the living room”

Another idea would be a short walk, not far from the villages of Walmer and Kingsdown, offering some great views from Hawkshill Freedown. This common ground is a public area of open grassland with a brilliant outlook across the surrounding countryside, the English Channel and on a clear day, the coast of France.

The walk also passes the Walmer Castle which formed part of a line of defence along the edge of the Downs. Now owned by English Heritage, the castle is home to a collection of memorabilia from the Duke of Wellington.

For those happy to go a little further, there are lovely walks from Kingsdown – a favourite with our dogs. We recommend a lunch or drinks stop at the Zetland Arms, serving fresh fish caught off the Kent coast. Look out for the purple-pink sea pea, very like the sweet pea plant that we have at home.

A little further down the coast you’ll find Pegwell Bay Country Park, a well-established Nature Reserve, home to thousands of migrating birds, rich coastal grasses and superb views. Dogs are welcome on leads as the place is brimming with wildlife.

Short and sweet (Approx. 2 miles/30 minutes)

Getting Lost (Approx. 6 miles/60-90 minutes)


National Cycle Route 1, is parallel to the beach, just outside the house, which is a lovely place for children to cycle safely. You can hire bikes just across from the house on the National Cycle route. Check out the route going left from the house towards Sandwich, which follows a private road between the two towns with a nature reserve and clay pigeon shooting on the way. Sandwich is the closest sandy beach to Boatmans Reading Rooms.

http://www.mikesbikesdeal.com/ or Follow them on Instagram @hut55deal - They will even provide you with a picnic to take along on your trip!


Know The Ropes

The Boatman’s Reading rooms sleep 10 guests (and a hound too) in four stylish bedrooms, with only comfort and the sound of the sea as easy bed fellows. Simply relax knowing the mattresses are the highest spec, made in Ipswich, and mattress toppers are layered above.
Large bay windows from 4 of the rooms invite the ocean inside, as kaleidoscopic light dances across the rooms. You’ll indulge in luxury and local flavour filling the house, from the soft touches of Wills and Yates specialist furnishings decorating the bay windows and benches, to the stunning wall art from Mileage.

The custom-made-for-foodies kitchen is a veritable gourmet’s galley, and today’s modern Reading Rooms will surprise you with quirky Quince touches of love throughout. How about an outdoor copper bathtub for star-bathing, a sun terrace for sunbathing, or Nicholas Nickleby’s prose on the walls?

And when laid-back, low-impact living is just as important for you, we encourage leaving the cars in your carport and venturing out by foot.

Finer Details:
Bedroom 1 - (sleeps 4) super king size bed, double sofa bed
Bathroom 1 - claw footed bath in bedroom, basin separate wc
Bedroom 2 - (sleeps 2) twin beds, sea views, window seat
Bedroom 3 - (sleeps 2) twin beds, sea views, window seat
Shower room 1 - walk in shower, basin and wc
Bedroom 4 - (sleeps 2) king size bed, sea views, window seat
Shower room 2 - walk in shower, basin and wc
Sitting room - window seat, electric log burner and sea views.
Kitchen/breakfast room - sea views, seating for 10, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, two ovens, electric hob, food processor, nespresso coffee machine, door to roof terrace with sea views
Utility room - washing machine, dryer and sink.
Internet - fast Wi-Fi with download speeds around 36Mbps.
Outside - first floor roof terrace with soft seating and table, ground floor courtyard, outside bath house with tin bath, lights and heating, carport with parking for 2 cars, electric car charger.