It is part of the Thanet district and forms part of the civil parish of Birchington. It lies on the coast facing the North Sea, east of the Thames Estuary, between the seaside resorts of Herne Bay and Margate. As a seaside resort, the village is a tourist and retirement destination. The village's Minnis Bay is a family beach with attractions such as sailing, windsurfing, a paddling pool and coastal walking routes. Its three smaller beaches are surrounded by chalk cliffs, cliff stacks and caves.
The village was first recorded in 1240. Its parish church, All Saints', dates to the 13th century and its churchyard is the burial place of the 19th-century Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Quex Park, a local 19th century manor house, is home to the Powell-Cotton Museum and a twelve-bell tower built for change ringing.
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