Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside…
At the moment, I’ve got a real thing for trying to visit as many British sea side resorts as I can. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Birmingham and didn’t go to the seaside all that often. Maybe now I’m trying to make up for all the resorts I haven’t been to? Moving to London has opened up a whole new batch of “close-by” seaside towns to visit. No longer am I constrained by just going to the ones close to Birmingham, which of course, isn’t actually that close at all. There’s only so many times you can drive all the way to North Wales or Weston-Super-Mare, only to find yourself surrounded by other Brummies.
Moving to London has opened up a whole new batch of “close-by” seaside towns to visit. No longer am I constrained by just going to the ones close to Birmingham, which of course, aren’t really that close at all. There’s only so many times you can drive all the way to North Wales or Weston-Super-Mare, only to find yourself surrounded by other Brummies.
So we made the decision to head off to Margate one sunny Saturday. I’ve really enjoyed exploring Kent recently, with trips to Canterbury and Rochester, so it was about time I went to a Kent seaside town. Of course, like many seaside resorts in the UK, Margate is no exception to having suffered in the past. It is a little run down. But don’t let that put you off. It’s definitely not alone. It’s still worth a day trip!
Here are six reasons to head down to Margate over the summer.
Margate is pretty close to London.
Let’s face it, that’s pretty handy when it comes to booking day trips away.
You can catch the train to Margate in just under two hours from both Cannon Street and Victoria. But, to get there even quicker its best to catch the HS1 from St Pancras, which only takes about an hour and 25 minutes. So not only is it pretty quick and easy to get there, but you can also just rock up and pay for on the day prices and not expect to be completely bankrupted. Great for when you’re waiting to see whether the English weather is going to be kind to you or not.
Once you’re in Margate, everything is walkable. You can get from one side of the town to the other in no time at all. Coming into Margate drops you off in what I would argue is not one of the prettiest ends of the town. But, if you walk for five minutes you end up in the old town area of Margate. The vibe changes completely. There are interesting buildings, old Victorian architecture and colourful shop fronts. A classic example of not judging a book by its cover.
The vintage shops.
In some part, this is probably due to the gentrification – or Kentrificiation – that has hit Margate in recent years. I’m never overly sure how comfortable that makes me feel to be honest, but it’s probably a conversation for another day.
There are over 10 vintage shops to explore in Margate. From the ones we had a peek into, they weren’t as expensive as the ones in London, so there’s probably quite a few bargains to be found. My favourite vintage shop was Penoy Vintage. Probably because of its bright pink facade…
Not only are there vintage shops, but there are loads of independent shops too.
This is one of the things that really surprised me about visiting Margate. Of course, you have your usual chain stores, but there was a lot of choice from shops I’d never heard of before. It’s great to have a nosey around all the different shops that the town has to offer.
I fell in love with Fox & Spindle, a cute gift shop which had a dress in the window that I still regret not buying.
Not only can you pick up a vintage bargain on your clothes, but you can pick up a neat piece of furniture too. That’s if you can manage to find anything small enough to bring back on the train home…
On Fort Road is a junk yard selling items from old fairgrounds. Old Fort Yard is pretty surreal to stumble across. If I’m honest, at some points it reminded me of a horror film set at a fairground. I’m not sure I’d want to visit at night. I can’t for the life of me work out why anyone would want to buy an old bumper car. But, if you do, then this is the place to find it.
There’s also a fortune teller if you fancy your chances, and a few sheds dotted along the fringes of the yard sell street food too.
I mean, obviously.
It is a seaside town after all.
The beach is sandy which is always a plus. We chose a fish and chip shop on the front to pick up our lunch. There were a number of chippies to choose from, but there was one that everyone was queuing for. We joined the herd mentality and picked it because it must be good if there were queues. To be fair, we weren’t disappointed. Sitting on the beach trying to save your fish and chips from a seagull is a quintessentially British experience right?
Old Kent Market.
I really wasn’t expecting to find something like Old Kent Market on my visit. If you know what it looks like, then this seems like a stupid thing to say. The building the market is in is bright red and sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s impossible to miss. t seems a bit thick to say that because the building it’s in is bright red and almost impossible to miss. Inside there were loads of stalls, a mini pub, a big double decker bus – complete with vaulted ceiling and mezzanine floor. It was pretty quirky, full of leopard print phone boxes, and a piano for anyone to play. Make sure you take a pit stop off at Gina’s bakery for a hot cross bun.
Inside there were loads of stalls, a mini pub, and big double decker bus serving full English breakfasts. The building came complete with vaulted ceiling and a mezzanine floor. It was pretty quirky, full of leopard print phone boxes and a piano for anyone to play. Make sure you take a pit stop off at Gina’s bakery for a hot cross bun.
Make sure you take a pit stop off at Gina’s bakery for a hot cross bun.
If we hadn’t have been completely full from our traditional fish and chip lunch, we could have had our pick from many places to grab food in Margate.
The Greedy Cow sold fantastic milkshakes and sourdough toast. They had a big range of vegan food too. Fort’s on Cliff Terrace had a big range of breakfast options and some incredible looking Welsh Rarebit. BeBeached on the Harbour Arm had a big range of vegetarian food too and is a pretty great place to stop for a drink overlooking the sea.
If you really want to be beside the seaside, it would be wrong to pass up on the chance to grab an ice cream. Head to Melt at the Sands Hotel for a homemade ice cream.
You might have noticed that I haven’t included Dreamland in my reasons to visit Margate. There’s a very simple reason for that; it wasn’t open when I visited. But hey, it’s a reason to go back right?