Pick a room with a view
The Sands Hotel, a lovely 4 star property in the town centre looks right onto Margate’s gorgeous sandy bay. Left from my balcony I could see the big wheel at revamped vintage funfair, Dreamland; to the right was the Turner Contemporary gallery and the harbour arm. My car stayed firmly put in the car park for four days as I explored, shopped and ate and drank to my heart’s content.
Party at Dreamland
No party trip to Margate is complete without a day and night out at the revamped Dreamland. This amusement park (remember that episode of Only Fools and Horses?) dates back to the 1800s and reopened in 2015 following a £25 million revamp, and is now all roller disco, cocktails, posh burgers and great fun fair rides, with bands and top DJs (Pete Tong and Sara Cox are hitting the decks this summer) playing to packed out crowds in the evening .
Mooch around quirky shops
Shops in the old town consist of boutiquey-style affairs; quirky collections curated by former actors who have escaped the rat-race of London to live the dream by the sea. You’ll also find vintage shops and galleries including Fort Road Yard – a snooper’s paradise selling everything from street art to old funfair paraphernalia. At the back of Fort Road Yard I stumbled upon Miranda Dunn, Fortune Teller & Clairvoyant. She read my cards in her little red shed and it was very insightful indeed!
Do Yoga and a Retro Lunch
If yoga’s your thing head up Northdown Road to Cliffs, an uber-cool coffee house/record shop/yoga studio. Treat yourself afterwards to quiche at Batchelors, a non-pretentious, unassuming café where the décor has remained untouched since the 1960s. Trust me, their quiche is to die for.
Afternoon Tea, Moroccan style
The Crescent Victoria – Margate’s ‘ultimate British Boutique Hotel’ boasts a new Moroccan tent which is a great venue for afternoon tea. Why not book clairvoyant and fortune teller, Miranda Dunn to join you there for some mystic tea leaf readings?
Glam Up for a Royal Dinner and an Independent Pub Crawl
Glam up and head out on a mini pub-crawl to experience the best of Margate’s quirky independent bars. My favourite was Fez, an Aladdin’s cave of a watering hole, where you can sit at an old fashioned pinball table, choose from 60 gins, make friends with the locals, get yourself involved with an impromptu ukulele jam and order pies in from Gary down the road. If pies in paper bags aren’t your thing then Buoy & Oyster is a great choice for cocktails and posh nosh, or perhaps reserve a table at The Ambrette, an award-winning anglo-Indian fine dining restaurant (and apparently a favourite of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge).