I grew up in, and have returned to, a smallish (population around 35,000) town on the north coast of Kent, more or less directly north of Canterbury.
It is called Herne Bay, or to many of the locals "Hernia Bay" in honour of its large retired population. I find it funny that many people who have moved here recently take offence at this name while those who were born and bred here use it with a certain amount of affection!
When I was a child there was a roaring tourist industry. People flocked from London to swim in the (cold) sea, eat ice cream and walk along our famous pier. Even at Easter, when the weather is notorously cold, wet and windy, bus loads of elderly tourists would arrive and battle along the prom to catch the "fresh sea air". I used to wonder what the attraction was, but they seemed to thrive on the challenge of getting to the next tea shop without being swept into the sea by a huge wave. I guess this was the wartime generation who, having survived The Blitz and D-Day, just took a bit of rough English weather in their stride.
The pier was the second longest one in Britain, and if you were too lazy to walk it you could take a small train instead. In earlier years there had been paddle steamer trips from the end of the pier which went across the Thames Estuary to Southend, where they had the pier that was longer than ours (curse them!). I remember the train, but not the steamers.
Since then, things have taken a down turn. Tourists no longer pour into our town, they fly to Spain instead. Storms and fires have battered the pier. Currently there is no pavilion and the pier head is marooned out at sea, as the long stretch out to it having been demolished years ago. Over the years there have been several grand plans to rebuild the pier - the latest involves the creation of a huge marina around the pier head, which would cost millions.
Very nice, but who would really come here for that? As indicated by our sorry Christmas Tree, the town is rundown, most shops have closed and/or moved to Canterbury and we don't even have a single hotel so even if people wanted to take a holiday here it would be impossible. IMO, we should just accept that the Glory Days are over and Herne Bay is now no more than a fairly pleasant retirement and commuter town. Sure I complain about the place, but every time I go somewhere else I get the feeling that , hey, maybe the old town ain't so bad after all.