Dandelion Day Trips: Margate
Next in our weekly round up is marvellous Margate! Dubbed Shoreditch-on-Sea by the arty set its vintage shops, retro theme park and vast sandy beach make it a cracking family day trip destination.
Best way to Travel
A super speedy new rail link means you can now whizz from London St Pancras to Margate in 1 hr 25 mins.
The Turner Contemporary sits loud and proud just inside the harbour and celebrates its tenth birthday this year. We reckon it has the best gallery window of any we have visited outside London. JMW Turner loved the light in Margate (he was a school boy here) and visited Margate often throughout his lifetime. We were hugely drawn to Barbara Walker's five powerful female portraits etched on the gallery's walls. Place, Space and Who features large portraits of women and girls from African Diaspora living in and around Margate.
The Tourists: Ellen Harvey & JMW Turner showcases contemporary art installations along side Turner classics. Both exhibitions are free and run until September. Book your free slot before you go.
Our very favourite is The Greedy Cow nestled next to the prettiest book shop in Margate's old town. Munch on their world class vegan hotdog (£6.50) before popping into the book shop to bag a good read to enjoy on the train home.
Best Ice Cream
Made-in-house this gelato shop sells the best ice cream in town. We highly recommend a coconut and cherry combo. 16 Marine Drive.
The old town is lined with the coolest vintage shops. Our favourite is Madame Popoff where you can pick up a super funky pair of sunglasses for £10. 4 King Street.
Hands down our favourite theme park in the UK, Dreamland is a must for all ages. With a retro roller disco, a bee hive roller coaster, a soaring seagulls ride and heaps of other vintage wooden rides its a must for all families.
Margate (unlike stoney Whitstable) has the most glorious vast sandy beach. Even if the tide's in there is still tons of beach space to build a world-class sand castle. With a massive historic tidal pool, children's swings and lots of seaside fun you can keep the little people amused here for hours.
The Old Kent Market is crammed with delishious food stalls, tiny kiosks and the best bakery we found in Margate. The cinnamon and apple bun from Gina's was would class and a bargain at £1.50. Order a burger from BB's Cafe (a double decker London bus that's been shoehorned into this old former cinema) or pizza from Mama Mia's or a burrito from Burrito Box. There's a retro duke box and even a piano for those who feel like a spur of the moment performance. My girls loved it.
Best Beach Shop
The Sunset Rock Shop had the largest selection of buckets, spades and windmills we have ever seen. The best rock in town too.
Walk as far as you can around the harbour until you come across Mrs Booth. This giant shell lady watches over the harbour under the shadow of the tinest lighthouse above. The original Mrs Booth lived in a boarding house in Margate and became Turners lover after her husband was lost at sea. Beginning their love affair in 1833 they lived happily as Mr & Mrs Booth for many years until Turners death. The Turner Contemporary is built on the site of her old boarding house.
Take a pic, tag us and let us know what you think of our recommendations. Have fun.
Julia Colls 13 July 2021