Some people holiday in Lanzarote or Barcelona, but when you’ve got a perfectly good Seaside just a train ride away (1 hour 30mins from London Victoria), why not stay in the UK? I’d heard a lot of good things about Margate and as I hadn’t had a proper holiday for 3 years, I was ready for some sea air and sunshine – luckily we booked right on time for this year’s summer heatwave. Emma, Josh, George (the dog), Jack & I packed our suncream and said goodbye to the city for a Tues to Thurs mini-break.
Could Margate be the new Brighton? Possibly! It definitely has that nostalgic seaside charm and some independent shops and cafes that could’ve been plucked straight from Shoreditch, all without the crowds. Sure, there’s still some naff parts, but I see a lot of potential in Margz (the new Marbz? ha) so let me show you why:
Emma found a ‘very EJP’ airbnb apartment via Instagram; The Well. It’s a beautiful 2 bedroom flat with a boho vibe, sea views and lots of plants – Emma could’ve happily moved in! It was so bright in the day and cosy in the evenings; the best of both worlds. The Well is dog friendly too, so Emma & Josh’s dog George was able to come with us – it was honestly a bit heartbreaking to go back to an empty flat sans dog. After a full day of travelling and exploring on Tuesday, Emma & I cooked breakfast for the boys Wednesday morning in our robes whilst they chilled out, lit some incense (from local shop, Haeckel’s which smelt AMAZING) and played records. The breakfast wasn’t our best (oops) but it’s the thought that counts, right? ha Our stay at The Well has definitely given Jack a thirst for starting a record collection… our hunt for a record player has begun!
Emma, Josh and George stayed in the master bedroom with a bath looking out onto the sea (above), whilst Jack & I stayed in the 2nd bedroom with a rainforest shower ensuite. Everything was gorgeous – from the hand soap to the rugs and cushions. We were lucky with the lovely weather, but I think even if you just wanted to get away for the weekend in the winter The Well would be the perfect place to cosy up and relax – everything you need is right here! Check out Emma’s review for more photos.
It’s not a secret that I’m a fan of colour, but I’ve been working hard on bringing more colour into my wardrobe. For our trip to Margate, I went all out – pinks, yellows and bold prints. Because if you can’t wear pink and yellow leopard print at the seaside, when can you? Wearing colour is an instant mood lifter and I felt great, especially with the sunshine.
Blue lemons backpack – Eastpak | Yellow stripe top – Monki | Pink leopard print top – Topshop | Stripe top – New Look | Pink Mom Shorts – Topshop | Black & white stripe shorts – H&M | Yellow top – Monki
It wouldn’t be a holiday without an adventure, and in Margate there’s lots to see! From a warehouse of vintage neon signs, furniture and a giant stuff bear (eek!), to paste up graffiti by @smiler_streetart – I was soaking in the inspiration like a sponge. Everyone recommended popping into Little Bit and Peony Vintage, and there were lots of small galleries too!
Margate definitely delivers on art: from the Tracey Emin neon on the Harbour Arm (which has seen better days to be fair) to the colourful installation titled ‘Dutch/Light (for Agneta Block)’ by Jyll Bradley outside the Turner Contemporary. We didn’t see a lot of street art during our visit, but I loved this tongue in cheek blue plaque in reference to the influx of hipsters from East London – obviously Margate isn’t ready for Hot Yoga just yet.
One of Margate’s biggest pulls in recent years is Dreamland – a vintage style fairground. It’s had a facelift with the Instagram generation in mind; Hollywood style letters, street food vendors, rainbow floors and gift shop souvenirs that you actually want to take home.
Oh, and the rides aren’t too bad either; we screamed on the Dreamland drop, laughed until we cried on Pinball X and got so lost in the Mirror Maze that a kid had to help us find our way out! I’ll admit that I did chicken out of the Pendulum, but didn’t regret my decision as I watched Emma, Josh and Jack spin upside down.
Feeling the nostalgia, Emma enjoyed some watermelon flavoured candy floss, because what’s the fair without some sugar? We didn’t attempt to win a giant cuddly toy, but we did watch a little girl attempt it – she tried to hang from a pole for 2 minutes. We were all willing her to do it but what she made up for in enthusiasm, she lacked in upper body strength and we all clapped her when she didn’t make it, bless her.
The weather was amazing all day, which meant all of the bright colours really popped – it’s like they knew we were coming! There was even an ‘Art By The Sea’ wall mural by Charlie Evaristo-Boyce – an amazing paste up, literally. I can’t remember which song was playing but there’s a video of us all dancing infront of it somewhere… cringe! ha
After one final race on Born Slippy and a moment to catch our breath with an amazing view of the whole park from the top of the Big Wheel, the last thing on our list was the Roller Disco. Who knew that Josh would be a natural on 8 wheels? I had to bow out after 2 laps – apparently it’s been too long since my skating days! We had SUCH a good time at Dreamland and would definitely recommend dedicating a whole day to enjoying the park – next time we’ll be hitting the crazy golf for sure!
Of course it’s not a trip to the seaside without a visit to the arcades and playing on the 2p machines is basically a rite of passage. Arcades are both awful and amazing; they’re so tacky and a waste of money, yet a seaside essential – it’s a fascinating part of culture.
Lady luck was with Emma & Josh – they definitely seemed to have a knack for it, whilst Jack & I waved goodbye to £2 of copper coins all too easily.
Lido Sands at Cliftonville
Lidos have definitely seen a boost in popularity this summer – I didn’t know so many existed in London but they’ve been all over Instagram! Unfortunately, the Lido regeneration hasn’t quite reached Margate yet and Lido Sands at Cliftonville beach has definitely seen better days, although for me that’s part of it’s beauty. It’s a bit broken but not totally defeated as the amazing tile mosaic is still holding on, and discovering this little gem was one of the highlights of the trip for me! We stumbled across it on our first day and went back again the next evening…
Margate is well known for its sunsets and I can confirm, they’re pretty magical. So magical in fact, that something exciting happened – so cryptic! You’ll already know if you follow me on Instagram, but I’ll be sharing a bit about it on the blog soon anyway. Until then, I’ll leave you guessing…
Staying in a beautiful airbnb, we managed a good balance of eating in and eating out – we cooked breakfast one morning and had a Chinese takeaway one night, but with so many great food recommendations, we were spoilt for choice.
EVERYONE recommended Cheesy Tiger as a MUST so we headed to the Harbour Arm as soon as it opened to try and avoid the queues. Jack & I shared a mac & cheese and a cheese toastie and I can honestly say it was the best I’ve ever eaten – my mouth is watering just thinking about it now!
For me, it’s not a trip to the seaside without Fish and Chips! Margate local, Kirsty, recommended Peter’s Fish Factory and somebody had obviously let the secret out of the bag because the rest of Margate was there too. The queue was worth it though and we tucked in looking out to the sea. GB Pizza was also highly recommended but we didn’t quite make it there this time!
We also had a few drinks and chilled on the Harbour Arm – you can sit on the top and watch the sunset whilst the tide comes in and refills the harbour.
In terms of coffee shops, on our last day we wandered to Cliftonville and stumbled across a string of places that seemed way too cool to be on the same street as a pound shop – Mar Mar (plant lovers club), Cliffs (coffee and vinyls) and Echo (boho vibes). It really reminded me of Bristol actually, and wish we’d had a bit more time to explore here – next time, eh?
If you can’t already tell, I had THE BEST time in Margate and was totally romanced by its magic. It will definitely hold a special place in my heart and I’m 110% sure that we’ll be returning. Thanks so much to Emma, Josh & George for being the best holiday companions – it wouldn’t have been a Jolly Boys outing without you! (Yep, an Only Fools & Horses reference ha)
Have you been to Margate? If not, I hope I’ve convinced you to give it a chance – on a sunny day you won’t regret it!