Beside the Original Seaside
Delve into Margate's Seaside History
Start your visit to Margate - the 'Original Seaside’ - at Dreamland, the UK's original pleasure park. Take a ride through the decades on the Gallopers, Big Wheel, and Grade II* Scenic Railway alongside a dazzling array of arcades, side shows, events, eateries, and a Roller Disco.
Make your way along the seafront to Margate Old Town, which in recent years has come alive with independent galleries, niche shops and a range of cafes and restaurants. Walk through the cobbled streets and discover Margate Museum, located in the old police station, and choc-full of local history and tales. Buy a joint ticket for a visit to Margate's oldest building - the Tudor House - dating back to 1525.
Stop for lunch at one of the many cafes and small restaurants, eat traditional seaside-style at the fresh seafood stall, or enjoy fish & chips straight on the beach or seafront. There's also a choice of shops and delis where you can make up your own picnic to eat with the view of your choice!
Take a stroll up to Cliftonville to discover the not-to-be-missed local enigma that is the Shell Grotto, uncovered in 1835. Follow 70ft of winding underground passages and chambers decorated with millions of shells. Can you unravel the mysterious patterns and symbols? Was it designed as a secret meeting place, a pagan temple, or something else?
If mystery's your thing, why not take a wander through a range of collectibles, antiques, and bric-a-brac at Scott's just up the road. You never know just what you might find! Continue the theme at Margate's latest re-discovery - Margate Caves. Deep underground, find a cave system carved out of an 18th century chalk mine, adorned with paintings and graffiti left behind by the people who worked and played there!
Take a break in fine Edwardian style with a cream tea at the Walpole Bay Hotel, which dates back to 1914. Enjoy veranda views or visit the napery art in the dining room - donated by previous hotel guests. Travel in the working 1927 Otis trellis-gated lift to see period displays and exhibits around the Hotel, giving a tantalising glimpse into Margate's past.
Promenade along the Cliftonville seafront or enjoy the beach at Walpole Bay, which has its own Tidal Pool for swimming once the sea retreats too far for a lazy paddle. Carry on to Botany Bay for spectacular views and bracing sea air!
Or stroll back down to the Old Town to find snug seaside pubs, lively modern bars, or some live entertainment.
Enjoy a show at one of Margate's famous theatres. The Winter Gardens opened in 1911, and has since played host to many famous entertainers, big band names and comedians. Or visit the more intimate grade II* listed Theatre Royal, which has been enchanting seaside-goers since 1784 and has the UK's oldest stage, as well as a busy and varied programme of events. Get even more cosy at one of the UK's smallest venues, Cliftonville's Tom Thumb Theatre, which sits in a clifftop Victorian Coach House, and even has it's own cocktail bar.