Why you will love Margate!
The buzz about this seaside town has built over the past few years from a distant drone to an inescapable hum! Everyone is listing off its plus points: beaches, cheap housing, Dreamland, direct trains, art galleries. Just 90 minutes from London, there is something real growing here and it's not just the hipster paradise that the press is so keen to dismiss it as. As an entire generation gets pushed out of central London, they are looking to regional gems like Margate to bring some sunshine to their lives. It's a small hub of creative and alternative culture, so make a beeline for this part of Kent for a day trip or a weekend away and see what all the fuss is about!
Watch out for:
- You may not want to leave! I have a friend who went to the Margate for the weekend and decided on the spot to move, then and there. The lifestyle here is pretty chilled so if you have been thinking about escaping city life, then you could find yourself very tempted!
- Best beach spots - like many popular seaside towns, the main beach has a busy, quite commercial vibe. It's still a nice spot to sit and look out over but, if you're making a day of it, you should venture a little further. You don't have to go as far as the fabulous Botany Bay but you can try one of the other lovely bays before it.
- Dreamland - it isn't open every day so always check their website if you're making your trip to Margate specifically to have a day at this 'pleasure park'. As a general rule, it is open weekends and holidays.
- Trains - you can catch the train from London Victoria and Charing Cross, which will take about 2 hours. However, the trains from Kings Cross are high-speed ones that run on part of the Eurostar lines. These trains take about 80 minutes each way and are actually quite nice. Definitely worth the few quid more.
- Cabs - not surprisingly, there's no Uber here (yet). There are local cab companies but they usually take at least 30 minutes to arrive during the day and up to an hour during the evening. So bring shoes you can walk in or a bike.
- UKIP - despite many of the locals progressive intentions, this is still a deeply conservative area of the country. You definitely should not expect it to be as liberal as Brighton. The former leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, ran for the neighbouring seat of South Thanet in the recent election because it was seen as his safest bet, which says it all really. Thankfully, you can tell a friendly pub or cafe by the 'UKIP Put Me Off My Beer' coaster and stickers.
- Margate Arts Club - Amy and Luke's fantastic contribution the to the local creative community is this delicious venue where all kinds of events will regularly be happening. Check their Facebook page for details, especially if you are in town on a Saturday night.
- Take your bike on the train - I was kicking myself the first time I visited that I didn't think to do this! It's so much easier to explore the area by bike, so read more about how to take your bike on the train on National Rail's website. If you're feeling especially adventurous, you can cycle the Viking Coastal Trail.
- Food - there are some really great places to eat in Margate. My faves are GB Pizza Co, Fort's Cafe and Bow's Kitchen.
- Things to do - Dreamland and Turner Contemporary are practically on the train stations doorstep, whilst The Shell Grotto and Botany Bay are worth venturing a little further if you have the time.