Named as one of the Top Ten Places to Visit by Rough Guides in 2015, this traditional seaside town is bursting with energy. From the golden sandy blue flag beaches and traditional holiday-town charms to its cool café culture and thriving creative vibe, the birthplace of the British seaside is in the midst of an exciting renaissance.
The internationally-acclaimed Turner Contemporary leads the cultural sea change in Margate, attracting top-notch installations by high-calibre artists such as Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin (who grew up in Margate) and Alex Katz. The gallery celebrates the town's association with JMW Turner, one of Britain's best loved artists, and presents the best of contemporary art practice.
Close to the gallery, the flourishing cultural heart of the Old Town in Margate boasts a unique collection of niche boutiques, galleries and funky places to eat and drink.
The icing on the vintage cake is the recently re-opened Dreamland amusement park, rising like a phoenix to provide a unique and quintessentially British visitor attraction: the world’s first amusement park to feature thrilling, historical rides and classic side shows. The first stage opening has already attracted thousands, eager to experience the restored vintage rides - chair rides, gallopers, hurricane jets, dodgems, etc - including the Big Wheel and the Grade II* listed timber Scenic Railway.
Margate also boasts three theatres including one of the smallest and one of the oldest.
The Theatre Royal was originally built in 1786, altered in 1874 and is a Grade II listed building which hosts some great stand-up comedy among other acts. The Tom Thumb Theatre was originally built as a coach house in Victorian times, and was transformed into one of the smallest theatres in 1984. The theatre hosts off-beat acts and cinema with wayward sounds and frequent surprises.
The largest theatre in Margate is the Winter Gardens which has seen some of the best performers in the world including Laurel & Hardy in 1947, The Beatles in 1963, and more recently Status Quo, Ocean Colour Scene, Graham Norton, David Essex and in the last few years some of the best British Comics including Sean Lock and Jimmy Carr.
Margate is host to a myriad of events during the year including the Margate Beach Cross in March, a thrilling event that is free to spectators. August brings the Annual Jazz Festival and the finals of the Margate Masters National Beach Volleyball which draws Britain’s best beach volleyball teams each summer. If it’s music and movement you are looking for, Margate’s vibrant annual Soul Festival brings an explosion of colour and sound to the town over the first weekend in August, drawing people from all over the world it's not to be missed!
Finally, if you’re nostalgic for the days of mods and rockers, don’t miss Margate Meltdown – a ride out organised by the Ace Café in London held each year on Spring Bank Holiday. Margate seafront and harbour is given over to motorcycles and scooters, diverse club and trade stands and a stage with live entertainment.