Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, and the coolest seaside to be beside at the moment is definitely Margate.
Having transformed from somewhat sleepy town to buzzing tourist draw, the thriving Thanet destination now plays host to thousands of visitors each year.
Here’s what to do in Margate when you’re one of them.
What to see in Margate
Top of most visitors lists is Dreamland amusement park, which saw half a million funseekers through the doors last year.
‘It is such a unique attraction and has a twist of the unexpected, so it really captures your imagination,’ says the park’s Senior Creative Producer, Rebecca Ellis. ‘The park is steeped in history – dating back to the late 1800s. Whether you’re here for the beautiful vintage rides, pop-up entertainment, live music, street food, art installations or roller disco, there is so much to see and do!’
Once you’ve had your fill of the rides, get your culture dose by wandering the exhibitions of the Turner Contemporary art gallery or taking in a show at the Tom Thumb Theatre. It’s also highly recommended to explore the incredible Shell Grotto, a stunning subterranean passage lined with over four million seashells.
There are numerous boutiques and vintage shops in Margate, where you can while away hours hunting for various treasures; try Little Bit, Junk Deluxe and Madame Popoff Vintage, or the two floors of the Old Bank Book Shop, if paper is more your thing.
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A Little Bit of our front! I realised today that I have never actually posted a pic of the dotty facade of @littlebitmargate It’s one of my most favourite things about the shop! My dear friend @sarah_lewis_design did all the branding for Little Bit and was her genius plan to pop the dots all over! Ain’t it the cutest! The whole purpose of Little Bit is to spread joy and this little shop front can’t fail to do anything but that! Take a peek at Sarah’s creations @alphablots for her latest design extravaganza. #littlebitmargate #dots #shop #shopfront #margate #independantshop #independentbrand #spotty #multicoloured #colourful #graphicdesign #sarahlewisdesign
However, much of your time will, weather depending, be spend on the area’s gorgeous beaches – in addition to the Main Sands, you’ll want to check out nearby Botany Bay, a hidden gem surrounded by white cliffs.
Where to eat in Margate
The Margate dining scene is a perfect blend of the traditional and the trendy. Excellent seafood can be found at both Hantverk & Found and Buoy and Oyster, whilst those in search of a more casual affair should head to GB Pizza, for excellent, creative slices topped with ingredients like Kentish goat’s curd and braised leeks.
You can also take in the views of the harbour and enjoy a baked Camembert or heavenly mac ‘n’ cheese at Cheesy Tiger, a small but perfectly formed restaurant serving… well, you guessed it. Also deserving of an honourable mention are also deserved for chicken shop Roost (order the loaded fries) and Mala Kaffe, a Swedish coffee shop dishing up everything from coconut porridge to cinnamon buns. For a quirkier pitstop, head to The Bus Cafe for their iconic ‘hashed mounds’; potato and red onion rostis piled high with beans, eggs or avocado.
The sweet-toothed should also not depart without trying Melt Gelato‘s extensive range of flavours, all of which are made on the premises.
Where to stay in Margate
The Reading Rooms bed and breakfast is one of the most popular places to stay in the area – but with only three (admittedly beautiful) rooms, things can get booked up quickly.
Also raved about are The Sands Hotel, which boasts amazing beachside views, and the historic Walpole Bay Hotel, which dates back to 1914, and, coincidentally, serves an impressively towering cream tea.
If you prefer to go self-catering, Margate is also home a number of contemporary and exceptionally well-located Airbnbs.