"travelled to Ramsgate"
The Royal Harbour at Ramsgate
Public DomainThe Royal Harbour at Ramsgate - Credit: JackyR

Ramsgate is a seaside town in Kent, with a population of around 40,000. Originally a fishing village, it has a beautiful coastline and marina and has the distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in Britain. In the nineteenth century, when seaside holidays became a trend, it was a very popular destination due to its accessibility to London and royal connections which attracted upper class holiday-makers. As a girl, Queen Victoria holidayed in Ramsgate often with her mother, staying in Townley House; the town remained a favourite of hers throughout her life. Today the main industries of Ramsgate are tourism and fishing – it remains an attractive prospect especially for recreational sailors due to the large marina.

Photochrom of Ramsgate Sands c. 1899
Creative Commons AttributionPhotochrom of Ramsgate Sands c. 1899 - Credit: trialsanderrors

Catherine describes how her mother ‘took the waters for her headaches’ – from the mid-eighteenth century onwards this was another reason that seaside resorts were popular, aside from the bathing, donkey rides and pier entertainments. Dr Richard Russell began to promote the drinking of seawater as a cure for gout, jaundice and other ailments (a practice now discontinued). The fresh, salt air was also supposed to be of benefit. Seaside towns began to rival traditional spa towns such as Bath because they offered both leisure and health amenities.