We’re carrying on with our travel series, where we give you our best tips for visiting our glorious county!
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…especially Margate!
We love our home in Kent, and as you know, maps, location, and travel…it’s what Bombus is all about. And with so many things making foreign holidays tough for all of us, whether it’s the cost of living, lingering restrictions from the pandemic, or delays at airports…we think that just as much fun and adventure can be found right here at home.
And this time, we’re focusing on the seaside town of Margate!
If you’re looking for a traditional British seaside resort, you’ll struggle to find one as authentic as Margate. But gone are the days of its reputation as a run-down destination of a by-gone era. Margate has been touted as an up and coming part of Kent for years. BUT! We say that is utter nonsense! It’s already well and truly arrived. And there are many reasons why this Kent hot spot is one of the trendiest locations in the South East.
A short history of Margate
Londoners have been travelling to Margate for over 250 years to dip their toes in the English channel and make the most of the wide sprawling beaches. And it is mostly famous for its pleasure beaches and innovations around British tourism.
From steamboat excursions in the mid 1800’s, to a whole raft of pleasure boats, and the notorious ‘bathing machines’ where Victorian ladies and gentlemen could enjoy the water in privacy and with full modesty.
When the railways came to Kent, so did the rest of the country. Opening up fast and cheap travel for families and city dwellers to head to the coast and spend their money. This naturally opened up huge potential for businesses in Margate, leading to the development of the amusement park Dreamland in the 1920’s and the oldest rollercoaster in the UK! (More of that below.)
But Margate earnt its position as an important strategic location during WW2. You can still see the remnants of tunnels, battlements, and landing areas along the shoreline. Lifeboat rescues were launched from Margate and Ramsgate throughout the war, and the town was heavily defended due to its proximity to mainland Europe. There is an impressive war memorial in the town which is well worth a visit.
A 21st century Filming Location
The resurgence of Margate’s popularity has caught the eye of television and Hollywood. The wide promenades and sweeping landscape have been featured in a number of recent productions, such as BBCs Killing Eve and the film Christopher Robin. And more recently, three months of filming has taken place for Sam Mendes blockbuster Empire of Light featuring Colin Firth.
If you take a wander along the seafront over the next few months, you may be able to watch some of the circus that a film crew brings to a town like Margate!
JMW Turner and the Turner Contemporary
One of the most successful British artists of all time called Margate his home. Arriving in around 1786, John Turner used the seaside town as his muse and created a stunning series of works based on the local landscapes.
In response to the close link the artist had with the town, the Turner Contemporary was opened in 2011 in his honour. It has since been a focal point of regeneration for the town and hosts an exciting programme of events and exhibitions throughout the year. It is well worth a visit and one of the best attractions in Margate.
See all the information about it here: Turner Contemporary
Without question, the biggest draw for people visiting Margate is Dreamland. The ultimate in old-fashioned amusement parks. Opened originally in the 1920s this relic of the past suffered a decline in business at the beginning of the 21st century and eventually closed its doors in 2003.
After a lengthy public campaign to restore the park to its original glory, it was finally taken over by Thanet Council and reopened in style in 2015. Since then it has been a focal point of fun in the seaside town. Old style rollercoasters, traditional amusements, and dare devil shows make it the perfect place for familes or groups of friends to enjoy some good old fashioned fun together.
A day trip to the seaside
Like all Kent coastal villages, Margate has a strong fishing heritage. So if you’re planning on a day trip to visit this part of the coast it is inevitable that you will stumble across one of many fish and chip shops or seafood trucks along the front. Like Mannings Seafood.
But as well as these establishments Margate has had an explosion of independent restaurants and cafes that can’t be ignored! With a list of places mentioned in the Michelin Guide 2022, and awards scattered across the town…here are our top picks for where to eat on a day in Margate… if you feel like spoiling yourself:
Where? The Bus Café
What? The Posh. “UK Breakfast of the year 2020”
Where? Buoy and Oyster
What? Fish and Chips of course!
What? Grilled scallops, saffron butter
There is SO much more to shout about when it comes to Margate that we couldn't possibly fit it all in our blog. But PLEASE visit Visit Margate - the original seaside for things to see and do - Visit Thanet so that you don't miss out on any of this fantastic town.