A SHORT bus ride from where I live is a pub that has broken records in the UK.
Which is how I found myself at the Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate on a Monday afternoon – the biggest Wetherspoons in the world.
It’s definitely huge so you don’t have to worry about being crammed in even on a busy Saturday.
It boasts 11,000 square feet of drinking space – including a huge terrace over the beach – and holds 1,500 punters.
There are more than 400 seats inside, with another 200 out the back too.
The downstairs has tables, bar seats and Victorian-style wooden booths, as well a very long bar so getting a round in is easy.
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When I asked staff for a cheeky picture, they were happy to which makes me think it isn’t the first time they've had the request.
"It’s the biggest Wetherspoons in the UK," she bragged, to which I told her it was why I came.
She laughed and added: “That's why a lot of people come here.”
There is an upstairs too which is just as grand overlooking the rest of the pub.
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Most people sit around the edges to be near one of the many beach views from the window.
Although even on a Monday afternoon I struggled to get one by the window.
I asked how to get one of the prime seats, but bar staff said there was no good or bad time as they are always the most popular.
Instead, I just had to keep an eye and then jump as soon as someone left.
I eventually nabbed one tucked away in the corner so I could watch the sea as I settled in for the afternoon.
Despite a very vast menu, I was advised to go for a curry, so ordered a classic tikka masala and a glass of white wine.
It came out worryingly fast – I’d barely sat down from the bar when it came – and the naan was rather solid which TripAdvisor reviews tell me I’m not the only one.
But it’s classic Wetherspoons grub – hearty and cheap, with the curry, sides and wine setting me back around £11.
Despite its recent fame, locals often sing the pub's praises.
One local from Margate says he often makes the trek over to Ramsgate to visit despite Margate having its own Wetherspoons, The Mechanical Elephant.
He said: "I go all the time, I love it here."
Another local told me: "I really like the pub, the building itself is worth the visit alone."
It is certainly one of the grander Wetherspoons.
The Grade II listed building was originally a concert hall, inspired by the Little Theatre at Versailles and was opened by HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll in 1904.
Over the years, it has also been a nightclub and a casino before it closed in 2008 and reopened as a Wetherspoons in 2017.
So is the Wetherspoons worth the journey?
If you are a fan of the Spoons pubs, then it is definitely worth a day trip – many of my friends in London were even discussing planning a pilgrimage to it.
But don't expect too much – it is after all just a Wetherspoons pub, albeit a rather pretty one.
I don't get the hype myself, preferring to go to a local pub rather than a chain, so with my rather solid (and quickly delivered) food, I'm not sure I would need to visit again.
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The best time to come is in the summer, as my January visit meant it was a bit too blustery to sit on the terrace overlooking the beach.
But until then, I think I will stick to my smaller local.
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