Our guide to Margate holidays
What do you get if you take a town built on traditional seaside charm, and add a world-class art gallery to the mix? Margate. Every now and then, you stumble across a seaside resort that brings back all those memories of family holidays, and Margate still has all the charms that make a family break by the sea special. Kent’s original seaside resort, Margate’s become quite the favourite with the art world in recent years, giving it a beachy chic kind of feel that makes it perfect for couples as well as families.
From the wide sandy beach that’s amazing for those bucket and spade days, to the vintage shops and bistros that line the streets of the old town, we’re pretty sure you’ll find Margate has something to suit every kind of day. When the sun comes out, the sand fills with brightly coloured windbreaks sheltering families, and with Dreamland amusement park nearby you’ll be able to keep the kids entertained no matter what the weather decides to do. With all those family favourites you never get too old for (we’re talking ghost trains, sideshows and rollercoasters), Dreamland’s free to enter so you can pay per ride.
Places to visit in Margate
Revived, reopened and once again one of Kent’s favourite attractions, Dreamland’s got to top our list of places to visit in Margate. The original seaside fun park, Dreamland’s one of those that just makes a family holiday one you’ll remember for years to come, and it’s all in the traditions. Sideshows, ice cream vans and rides that’ll have the kids entertained for hours conspire to make Dreamland one of the best things about Margate.
Moving from the old to the new, well, the contemporary in fact, the Turner Contemporary dominates the town’s seafront, attracting a whole new generation of holidaying art lovers and creatives. With an exhibition programme that makes it fascinating all year round, this gallery’s transformed Margate into one for culture vultures. Turner himself loved Margate for its sunsets, so it’s only fitting that it’s now home to one of the art world’s most influential attractions.
And it’s back to the traditional for the next one to check off your list of places to visit in Margate…with Draper’s Mill. This 19th century Smock mill welcomes visitors for free guided tours on Sunday afternoons in June, July and August, and we say why not take the chance to peer into a piece of Kent’s history.
Things to do in Margate
One of the best ways to get to know Margate is to just see where your feet take you and enjoy its character. The old town’s lined with vintage shops that lure you in to look around, and bistros perfect for those long lazy lunches in between shopping. While you’re on your travels, look out for the Nayland Rock Shelter on the town’s seafront. It was in this very spot that T.S Eliot wrote some of The Waste Land, so you might want to sit for a moment and see if inspiration strikes…don’t worry if it doesn’t though, you’ll find plenty more to do in Margate!
A Margate holiday’s the perfect excuse to get the whole family onto their bikes and enjoy all that coastal scenery, and the Viking Coastal Trail’s one of Kent’s prettiest circular trails. Stretching for 32 miles, the route takes in the coastline between Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, and the best part is that it’s mostly level and traffic-free.
To be honest, one of the lovely things about a stay in the town is finding your own favourites on the Margate restaurant scene, but we couldn’t let you go without pointing you in the direction of Lighthouse Barn, set on the harbour arm. With the perfect setting for cosying up and watching the log burner, this bar and restaurant serves up some serious tapas for those quiet evenings watching the waves.
If you’re anything like us – and of the mindset that fish and chips during a seaside break is pretty much compulsory – then Marios has something of a reputation for serving the best fish and chips in town. Or, for something a little bit special, head to Mullins, a traditional brasserie with a loyal following of foodies. The menu offers contemporary European cuisine, and there’s a warm atmosphere that makes this one a good choice for a laidback meal whether it’s just the two of you or you’re taking the whole clan.