Ramsgate is a seaside town in the district of Thanet in east Kent, England. It was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century and is a member of the ancient confederation of Cinque Ports. It has a population of around 40,000. Ramsgate's main attraction is its coastline and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast and Port of Ramsgate has provided cross channel ferries for many years.
Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet. Ramsgate as a name has its earliest reference as Hraefn's gate, or cliff gap, later to be rendered 'Ramisgate' or 'Remmesgate' around 1225 and 'Ramesgate' from 1357. The legendary mercenaries Hengest and Horsa landed in the 5th century to herald the pagan Anglo-Saxon age in England. The Christian missionary St. Augustine landed in Ramsgate in 597 which re-established the link between England and the Christian church in Rome.
Ramsgate's harbour is a defining characteristic of the town. The construction of Ramsgate Harbour began in 1749 and was completed in about 1850. The Harbour has the unique distinction of being the only Royal Harbour in the United Kingdom. Because of its proximity to mainland Europe, Ramsgate was a chief embarkation point both during the Napoleonic Wars and for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.
In 1915-1916 early aircraft began to use the open farmlands at Manston as a site for emergency landings. The location near the Kent coast gave Manston some advantages over the other previously established aerodromes. By 1917 the Royal Flying Corps was well established and taking an active part in the defence of England. As RAF Manston the aerodrome played an important role in the second World War and is now called Kent International Airport.
There is an annual Powerboat Grand Prix event based out of the harbour of Ramsgate during the summer. Ramsgate carnival is an annual parade also during the summer. Other events include the annual Addington Street Fair and the French Market.