Destination History


Thanet, Sandwich and the Stour Villages have a remarkable tourism sector. With our wonderful beaches, beautiful walks, hotels, restaurants and bars, tourism contributes much to our local economy. Yet we also have a wealth of cultural and historical heritage sites which - if marketed more - could help foster an all year, all weather tourism base.
More tourism means more local jobs, more spending on our high streets and more money for our local economy. Destination History brings together a number of local tourist attractions to address how the sector could be strengthened for the benefit of us all.
If you would like to be put on our Destination History emailing list then please do contact me at and I will keep you up to date with meetings and actions that we are taking to place our past at the heart of our future.

Heritage Lottery Fund Wants to spend its money in Thanet

20th February 2013

Laura Sandys brought the Heritage Lottery Fund to Thanet for a meeting attended by over 70 representatives of charities, organisations and businesses working in the tourism and heritage sectors.


The South Thanet MP said: “After meeting with the Heritage Lottery Fund previously, I knew how keen they are to encourage more applications from Thanet, particularly those for heritage businesses. I thought it would be great to bring Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund (South East) to Thanet in order to advise what funding and support is available and to provide some helpful tips on the application process. The Fund offers a wide range of grant programmes aimed at facilitating education, conservation and celebration around heritage. I am particularly pleased that Mr McLeod promised to provide additional support to prospective applicants from Thanet.


“Figures released at the end of last month by Visit Kent show that tourism in the County is worth £3.4 billion and supports 64,414 jobs. I believe that Thanet has such a rich heritage that we can be attracting many more visitors for longer periods and tempting them to part with more of their cash. For international visitors, a study conducted by the Heritage Lottery Fund revealed that heritage is their main motivation for visiting the UK so there are many opportunities for us to seize!


“I want to make sure that we are making the most of our assets by applying for a greater chunk of the very large amount of money on offer to strengthen and wider our proposition to tourists. Heritage businesses are a great way to further support our tourism sector and build a stronger ‘out of season’ economy.


“It was also wonderful to have John Walker, Vice-Chair of The Ramsgate Society to talk about the group’s experience with the Heritage Lottery Fund and their objectives for the future. We were also joined by Dr Andy Brown, Planning and Conservation Director at English Heritage (South East) who provided a very inspirational presentation on the quality and quantity of historical assets in the area. Finally Anthony Curwen, Managing Director of Quex gave a lively talk on the diversification of their business leaving many in the room vowing to visit Quex that very weekend.”


The Heritage Lottery Fund presentation formed part of Laura Sandys’ ‘Destination History’ meeting, a project aimed at promoting the area’s heritage in order to encourage more visitors to Thanet, particularly out of season. For more information on how to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund or for a copy of the Fund’s presentation, please contact Laura Sandys at: or telephone: 01843 589434.



Laura Celebrates British Tourism week with Destination History meeting
15th March 2012
On Friday 16th March, Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, will host a ‘Destination History meeting in Ramsgate. The initiative aims to promote a greater focus on historical and cultural tourism across Thanet, Sandwich and the Stour Villages.
Laura said: “This year offers huge potential for Thanet’s tourism sector. We have a real opportunity to benefit from aboost to visitor numbers thanks to the Olympics and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It is also an important year locally due to Pugin and Dickens’ 200th birthdays and the 250th anniversary of the creation of the sandwich by the Earl of Sandwich. This Destination History meeting will work to ensure our business community capitalises on these anniversaries for the benefit of our wider local economy.”
“Additionally, Thanet’s tourism businesses and organisations are particularly well-placed to expand this year given the fantastic Government funding we have successfully secured. Both the Coastal Communities Fund and Regional Growth Fund offer some great opportunities.”
This week’s Destination History event will take place during English Tourism week and follow on from the launch of the Thanet Town Teasers, a project coordinated by Thanet District Council’s Community Services department and HKD Design at Marine Studios.


Sandys to Host 'Destination History' Meeting to Boost Local Tourism
10th March 2011
On Monday 14 March, Laura Sandys MP will host the next Destination History meeting at Hornby’s new Museum in Thanet. Destination History was established by Laura to promote greater focus on historical and cultural tourism and profile cultural and historical attractions across Thanet, Sandwich and the Stour Villages. The event will take place during British Tourism week and follows the publication of the Coalition Government’s Tourism Strategy.
Monday’s event will showcase some of the area’s historic and cultural attractions and will highlight the numerous events that are going on across the area this summer. The Ramsgate Maritime Museum, The Shell Grotto, Crampton Tower and Kent Coastal Alliance are all scheduled to make presentations whilst Ramsgate Arts Festival, St Peters Village Walk and Sandwich Events will all be discussed.
Laura said: “Destination History aims to effectively market the fantastic historical and cultural attractions across the area. Although tourism already contributes a huge amount to our local economy, by attracting visitors throughout the year and not just in the summer months we could create more jobs and boost the amount of money spent on our local high streets. By bringing together our local attractions, Destination History aims to build a strong collective tourism sector – this could be key in driving forward East Kent’s regeneration.”


Sandys Secures Tourism Commitment and Jokes with the Minister...

9th March 2011

In Parliament, Laura Sandys MP received a commitment from the Minister for Arts and Culture, Ed Vaizey MP, that he would support her campaign for seaside towns to be marketed as all year round destinations.
The Minister explained that “culture makes a fantastic contribution to regeneration throughout the country.” Earlier in the week, the Minister had attended the parliamentary reception in the House for the launch of the Turner Contemporary Gallery. In Parliament, Laura joked that fellow guest and Margate artist - Tracey Emin - “was most taken by the Minister”. After many laughs, the Minister blushed and thanked Laura for ensuring that he would now appear in the parliamentary sketch.
Following the question, Laura said: “With the forthcoming April opening of Turner Contemporary and the array of cultural and heritage attractions across Thanet, Sandwich and the Stour Villages now more than ever we have a chance to market the area as an all year, all weather tourism destination.”
“Tourism already contributes a huge amount to our local economy. If we effectively market the area to attract visitors throughout the year and not just in the summer months, we could create more jobs and boost the amount of money spent on our local high streets. My campaign – Destination History – aims to do just this and over the coming months I will be working closely with our local attractions to help maximise the number of tourists to Thanet and Sandwich.”
Watch Laura at 31.25 in:
Laura Sandys (South Thanet) (Con): What assessment he has made of the contribution of arts and culture to the regeneration of deprived seaside towns.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Mr Edward Vaizey): Culture makes a fantastic contribution to regeneration throughout the country. Earlier this week, I was privileged to attend a reception in the House for the launch of the Turner Contemporary gallery, and I am sure that my hon. Friend will join me in praising Roger de Haan's work in revitalising Folkestone, even though it is not in her constituency.
Laura Sandys: I most certainly will, and I know that Tracey Emin was most taken by the Minister on Monday evening. Seaside towns have always been marketed as summer locations. Now we have that internationally renowned gallery in Margate, I hope that he might make representations to the tourism Minister to ensure that seaside towns are marketed all year round. That is how we will secure the most effective regeneration for places such as Margate, Ramsgate, Hastings and, yes, Folkestone as well.
Mr Vaizey: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for ensuring that I appear in tomorrow's parliamentary sketch, and the minute I sit down, I will turn to my right and lobby the tourism Minister.

Destination Thanet and Sandwich - 2011, A Great Year Ahead
23rd November, 2010
Thanet is on the way up and not least due to the emergence of some really great historical and cultural attractions.  On Friday Laura Sandys MP held a Destination History meeting to showcase four of our key tourist destinations who collectively will make 2011 one of the biggest years for Thanet tourism.
To a packed audience we heard about the plans for marketing the Turner Contemporary, the Hornby Museum, Quex Museum and also the Secret Gardens in Sandwich.  The impact that the launch of the Turner will have for Thanet and Sandwich will be dramatic, attracting the media from all over the world; Hornby is already getting visitors from as far away as Australia and has not even formally launched.  While at Quex new exhibitions and a new African village will be open and the Secret Garden at Salutation in Sandwich has already established itself as one of the premier garden destinations in the country. 
“It was an extremely positive meeting that focused on our future and how all our businesses and smaller attractions can benefit from the events happening next year.  Many of the participants came away with some really great ideas on how they can piggy-back on the new level of attention that Thanet will attract.  The next few years will be crucial to establishing ourselves as a premier visitor location and we have everything to play for,” said Laura after the meeting. 
“Building on our status as one of the 12 most exciting locations in the world, we have a unique opportunity to really boost our tourism businesses and bring greater prosperity to our high streets and small companies.”


Back to the Future: Destination History

20th March 2009

Last week we launched Destination History, an important initiative to place history at the heart of our non-seasonal marketing for visitors to Thanet and Sandwich. With over 40 organisations, tourist businesses and event organisers attending, the determination and passion to further promote and enhance our unique history in Thanet and Sandwich turned into some very positive action points that the group is going to take forward.
“I have always been amazed at the wonderful architecture, the history around every corner, our wars and our invasions. We have truly been at the front line of our country’s history – and we have a great story to tell visitors – whatever era or theme of history that they are interested in. This initiative will pull together all the groups that already do so much to promote our history and we were very pleased that Visit Thanet and Visit Kent will work with us to achieve our goals.
If we can attract an increase in non-seasonal visitors who are higher margin we will be able to create jobs in our low season, keep our local businesses working throughout the year and encourage more people to use our historic assets as part of our economic development.” 
We will be developing historic maps, website pdf for people to upload to their sites, marketing ideas and some tourist packages. Visit Thanet will also be developing a website presence to promote our historical package. 
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