Margate is on the up! There is an enormous amount of investment in the town, making it much more than just a nice beach and well worth a day trip. There are still areas that are run down, but lots of lovely new enterprises whilst still retaining the traditional feel of an English seaside town.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
Marine Drive is the place to be, and it’s home to the newly refurbished Dreamland – the original UK leisure park designed by Wayne Hemingway. There’s more on this in a separate review on this site. Marine Drive also hosts numerous old school seaside arcades. They are brash, colourful, fun and, alas, a licence to lose cash! After all, who can resist a 2p slider?
Just up from the arcades is a new glass shop which runs glass blowing classes for both adults and kids.
Further up towards the top of the town is the new boutique Sands Hotel – a fabulous location for a celebration lunch or afternoon tea. At pavement level the Sands also runs an excellent gelato shop with various delicious toppings. Next door is the much acclaimed Great British Pizza Company, declared by the Telegraph to be ‘simply the best pizza in the land’. (They are not wrong). It’s small and very popular so booking is recommended. Further up Marine Drive toward the funky Old Town are some interesting boutiques and coffee shops and of course the striking Turner Contemporary, designed by Thanet-born Tracey Emin. This is a stunning, light, welcoming space with an excellent cafe with views. There is always an array of interesting exhibits and at weekends they run free / inexpensive interactive workshops for children – a great place to escape if the weather turns or just to stare out to sea from the huge picture windows.
Of course, the beach at Margate is a beauty – a large sweeping expanse of sand so huge that even on a busy day you can find a quiet spot. When the tide is out there is excellent exploring to be done amongst the rocks. When the tide is in, you can go crabbing off the jetty with equipment bought on Marine Drive. On a sunny day, you can hire deck chairs and let the kids squeal with joy on the beach-based fairground rides.
If that wasn’t enough, there is also a Shell Grotto, a Hornby Visitor Centre for all Hornby / Scaletrix / Airfix and Corgi aficionados, and an 18-hole adventure golf course.
You may be exhausted but before you leave for home try to catch one of Margate’s famous sunsets. If it’s good enough for Turner……
Address: Thanet Visitor Information Centre, The Droit House, Stone Pier, Margate, Kent, CT9 1JD.
Playground: Not one close to the beach, but there are children’s rides on the sand in good weather.
Cafe: In Margate you are spoiled for choice. The best picks are the acclaimed Great British Pizza Company at 4a Marine Drive, serving stone fired pizzas with views across the beach, or the cafe at the Turner Contemporary, also with wonderful beach views and a lovely outdoor terrace in summer.
Toilets: The main beach has toilets on Marine Parade.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Marine Parade, the main stretch behind the beach, has wide paths suitable for prams and wheelchairs. Most of the local shops and cafes are very accommodating. The Turner Contemporary has a ramp and lifts.
Parking: A huge pay and display behind Dreamland off Belgrave Road. You can use Ringo or cash to pay.
Nearest station: Margate The station is very central – just opposite Dreamland and a five-minute walk into the central beach area. Trains leave from Victoria and take approximately one hour and 50 minutes.
Phone: 01843 577577 (Thanet Visitor Information Centre).
Email: The local tourist information email is: [email protected]
Review by Nicky Mayers