Helen Ruff
Guest writer
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Insider’s Guide to… Margate

Just a short hop from London, Margate is the original seaside resort and in 2018, has everything you need for a great party weekend.

Helen Ruff, Editor of Margot's Wedding, gives her top tips.

Margate is a great ‘easy’ place to go for a hen do. With its cool, Shoreditch-by-the-sea vibes, It’s small, so everything’s on your doorstep. Chill, mooch, explore and immerse yourself in culture, stay in fab boutique hotels and check out great restaurants and quirky independent pubs. Oh, and don't miss Dreamland. Trust me, you’ll leave vowing to return.

neon signs at Dreamland fun fair Margate
Enjoy cocktails, a roller disco and vintage rides at Margate's fabulous Dreamland © Dreamland-Margate

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). 

This is an edited version of a Margate for Hens review by Helen Ruff which ran on Margotswedding.co.uk and in Issue 11 of Margot’s Wedding Magazine.

Margot's Wedding: the alternative wedding magazine
Margot's Wedding: the alternative wedding magazine