Located on England’s East Coast and around 60 miles outside of London, Margate has undergone a major transformation during the last 15 years. Once famed as one of the UK’s biggest seaside towns, Margate’s heritage as a domestic tourist destination, particularly for those living in the capital, stretches back more than 250 years.
The town’s Theatre Royal was first built in 1787, while the Margate Caves have intrigued adventurous visitors since they were discovered in 1798. As overseas holidays became more affordable in the 1970s and 80s, Margate’s popularity waned, but the town has enjoyed an incredible turnaround during the 15 years, which has placed it firmly back on the map.
The Turner Contemporary is named for the noted landscape painter JMW Turner, who produced a lot of his finest work while living in the town, and is located on Margate’s seafront. When it opened in 2011, The Turner, which is an art gallery and creative space, helped further accelerate the regeneration of the area and attracted half a million visitors during its first year. Today it is home to many of Britain’s national art treasures, including many pieces by the artist for which the gallery is named. Current exhibitions include Animals & Us, themed on artists’ reflections on the relationship between humans and other animals, and Another Time, which explores the history of western sculpture.
A pair of tickets to The Turner Contemporary are included in your prize, but there’s plenty more art to be explored in the town.
Located in the heart of Margate’s old town is Blackbird, which features studio and workshop space and the opportunity to learn a new craft, either in screen-printing or creative textiles.
Your prize will include tickets to visit Dreamland Margate, which famously featured in a 1989 episode of Only Fools and Horses. Like much of the town’s attractions, Dreamland can trace its roots back more than a century, and today known for its large-scale, carefully-restored historic rides, including the famous Scenic Railway, Chair-O-Plan and Big Wheel.
All of the vintage rides on site are immaculately maintained and cherished, offering a true retro theme park experience.
Dreamland also features its own Roller Room and disco alongside some incredible art installations, including current exhibition ‘I Spin
Me’ – a giant interactive spinning top built from mirrored stainless steel and wood.
While taking inspiration from the decorative street lamps that once illuminated the heritage amusement park is The Rag and Bone Man, which celebrates the history of the park’s Scenic Railway. Throw in the many pop up food and drink bars, themed around international artisan street food culture, and you start to realise that Dreamland isn’t your typical amusement park.
Margate offers an impressive array of culinary options, including no shortage of locally-sourced seafood.
Hantverk & Found on King Street offers lunch, dinner, sharing and fixed price menus, all consisting of local ingredients, and offering fish, sea food, vegetarian dishes, local cheese and charcuterie.
The Roost Restaurant offers ‘Street Food on Sea’ and is built on the premise that good food doesn’t have to be fancy. Their menu features small plates, sides, chicken and ribs, burgers and home-made hotdogs, alongside several vegetarian and vegan options.
For Italian, look no further than L’Olivo, offering pizza with a vast selection of toppings, home-made lasagnes and an authentic Italian atmosphere in the heart of an old British seaside town.
Want to check out the best of Margate for yourself? Enter our competition to win a weekend in the town, including an overnight stay and tickets to Dreamland Margate and The Turner.