City Breaks In Margate

Margate: A Seaside Revival in the Heart of Kent

Margate, situated on the southeast coast of England in the county of Kent, has experienced a remarkable renaissance, transforming from a traditional seaside town into a hub of cultural and artistic activity.

Celebrated for its sandy beaches, historic amusement park, and thriving arts scene, Margate effortlessly blends its Victorian heritage with a contemporary edge.

The town’s revival is epitomised by the Turner Contemporary art gallery, which pays homage to the famous painter J.M.W. Turner.

With its unique blend of old and new, quirky shops, and retro charm, Margate offers an inviting mix of seaside relaxation and cultural exploration, making it an increasingly popular destination among holidaymakers and day-trippers alike.

Take a look at city breaks in Margate and what they have to offer.

Take a weekend trip to Margate and leave all your worries behind.

Top Attractions In Margate

Margate, a town rich in seaside heritage and cultural vibrancy, offers an array of attractions that cater to diverse interests.

Let’s take a look at just some of the attractions you could enjoy while on a weekend trip to Margate:

  • Turner Contemporary: This renowned art gallery, celebrating J.M.W. Turner’s association with Margate, showcases contemporary and historical art exhibitions.
  • Dreamland Margate: A vintage amusement park that has been wonderfully restored, offering classic rides, street food, and entertainment.
  • Margate Main Sands: The town’s famous sandy beach, ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying traditional seaside activities.
  • The Shell Grotto: Discover this mysterious underground passageway, decorated with millions of seashells, which has intrigued visitors for over 180 years.
  • Margate Old Town: Explore the charming Old Town, known for its independent shops, galleries, and cafes set in quaint, narrow streets.
  • Hornby Visitor Centre: A treat for model enthusiasts, featuring collections of Hornby trains, Scalextric, and Airfix models.
  • The Winter Gardens: A historic venue hosting concerts, comedy shows, and theatrical performances, contributing to Margate’s vibrant cultural scene.
  • Margate Museum: Learn about the town’s history, from its days as a seaside resort to its role in World War II.
  • Botany Bay: A short distance from the town centre, this picturesque bay offers stunning chalk cliffs and quieter beaches.
  • Northdown House: Set in Northdown Park, this historic house and gardens provide a tranquil escape from the bustling town centre.

These attractions in Margate provide a perfect mix of relaxation, education, and entertainment, ensuring a fantastic short break or weekend visit for all.

Photo of Margate beach.
One of the beaches in Margate, always popular with weekend visitors. Photo by Tom Wheatley.

Eating Out In Margate, Kent

Margate’s culinary scene, much like the town itself, offers a delightful mix of traditional seaside fare and contemporary dining experiences.

From local cafés to elegant restaurants, Margate caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

  • Seafront Restaurants: Relish fresh seafood and classic British dishes while enjoying stunning views of the coastline.
  • Traditional Fish and Chips: No visit to Margate is complete without trying the quintessential British seaside dish, best enjoyed on the beach.
  • Chic Cafés and Bistros: Ideal for a relaxed brunch or afternoon tea, these establishments often feature locally sourced ingredients and artisanal products.
  • Fine Dining: For those seeking a sophisticated dining experience, Margate’s upscale restaurants offer innovative cuisine in stylish settings.
  • International Cuisine: The town’s dining scene reflects its diverse community, with a variety of international cuisines including Italian, Indian, and Asian.
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Catering to diverse dietary needs, Margate has several eateries offering a range of delicious plant-based meals.
  • Beachside Eateries: Casual dining experiences along the promenade and near the beach are perfect for enjoying a meal with a sea view.
  • Local Markets and Street Food: Explore Margate’s local markets and street food vendors for an authentic and diverse culinary experience.

Eating out in Margate offers not just great food but a chance to soak in the town’s unique coastal charm and evolving cultural landscape.

Photo showing a path to the sea in Margate
The seaside is one of the major attractions in Margate. Photo by Margareta Krajnikovics

Shopping Trips To Margate

Margate offers a distinctive shopping experience, combining the charm of seaside boutiques with contemporary and eclectic finds.

Whether you’re after vintage treasures, local crafts, or modern designs, Margate’s shopping scene is both diverse and intriguing.

  • Old Town Margate: Wander through the lanes of the Old Town, home to a variety of independent shops selling everything from vintage clothing and antiques to local art and handmade crafts.
  • The Turner Contemporary Gallery Shop: Here, you’ll find unique art-inspired gifts, books, and souvenirs, reflecting the creativity showcased within the gallery.
  • Cliftonville and Northdown Road: This area is known for its eclectic mix of shops, including retro and vintage stores, independent bookshops, and artisanal food outlets.
  • Market Street and King Street: Explore these streets for more traditional shopping experiences, offering a range of goods and services.
  • Margate Harbour Arm: Home to a selection of small, artist-run studios and shops, perfect for finding unique and locally made items.
  • Haeckels House: A must-visit for skincare enthusiasts, offering natural skincare products made from locally sourced seaweed.
  • Local Markets: Check out Margate’s markets for locally produced food, crafts, and vintage finds, especially during weekend or seasonal markets.
  • Westwood Cross Shopping Centre: A short drive from the town centre, this shopping complex offers high-street brands and larger retailers.

Shopping in Margate is a delightful part of the town’s appeal, offering a blend of traditional seaside shopping with modern, artistic influences.

If you like antiques, Margate has a wonderful selection of antique shops as well as lots of small, quirky shops selling everything from local crafts to odds and ends, making a shopping trip to Margate even more enjoyable.

Photo showing the waterfront in Margate.
The lovely waterfront area in Margate. Photo © Christopher Hilton (cc-by-sa/2.0).

Things To Do In Margate

Margate, with its rich history and contemporary revival, offers a vibrant array of cultural and entertainment activities.

The town caters to a variety of interests, from art enthusiasts to families looking for fun. Let’s take a look at the entertainment scene in Margate:

  • Dreamland Margate: Beyond its vintage rides and amusements, Dreamland also hosts music festivals, live concerts, and cultural events throughout the year.
  • Theatre Royal Margate: One of the UK’s oldest theatres, it offers a diverse programme of plays, comedy shows, and dance performances.
  • Tom Thumb Theatre: A quirky and intimate venue, hosting a variety of live performances, including theatre, comedy, and music.
  • Margate Film Festival: Celebrate independent film and local storytelling at this growing film festival.
  • Shell Grotto: An enigmatic and ornate subterranean passageway, offering a unique glimpse into Margate’s mysterious past.
  • Margate Museum: Delve into the town’s history, from its maritime heritage to its development as a seaside resort.
  • The Winter Gardens: This historic venue on the seafront hosts a range of events, from music gigs to comedy nights and community events.
  • Art Galleries and Studios: Margate’s burgeoning art scene is evident in its numerous galleries and studios, particularly in the creative hub of the Old Town.
  • Beach Activities: Margate’s sandy beach is perfect for traditional seaside entertainment, including seasonal events and water sports.

Margate’s blend of traditional seaside fun and a thriving arts scene ensures that there’s always something exciting to explore and enjoy.

Photo of the clock tower in Margate
The Victorian clock tower in Margate, Kent. Photo © Chris Whippet (cc-by-sa/2.0)

How To Get To Margate, Kent

Margate is well-connected and accessible, making it an easy destination to reach whether you’re coming from within the UK or abroad.

  • By Train: Margate railway station is served by frequent trains from London St Pancras, London Victoria, and other major cities, offering a convenient option for visitors.
  • By Car: Located in Kent, Margate is accessible via major motorways and roads. The A299 leads directly into Margate, providing a straightforward route for drivers.
  • By Bus: National coach services, including National Express, operate routes to Margate from various UK cities. Local buses also connect Margate to nearby towns and attractions.
  • Local Transportation: Within Margate, the town is easily navigable on foot, especially the seafront and Old Town areas. Local buses are available for longer distances or trips to surrounding areas.

Travelling to Margate, visitors are greeted with the town’s vibrant atmosphere and picturesque coastal setting, starting their experience off on a delightful note.

Book a weekend break to Margate and discover a charming fusion of seaside pleasures, artistic flair, and historic intrigue in one of Kent’s most vibrant coastal towns.

Photo of Margate beach in the evening.
Margate beach is lovely for a stroll in the evening or in the early morning. Photo © Chris Whippet (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Accommodation In Margate

Margate offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences, from luxurious seafront hotels to cosy bed and breakfasts and self-catering apartments.

here are just some of your options as a visitor for accommodation in Margate:

  • Seafront Hotels: Enjoy panoramic views of the sea and easy access to the beach by staying in one of the popular Margate seafront hotels, offering a range of amenities and comfort.
  • Boutique Hotels: Choose from a selection of boutique hotels that combine unique design with personalized service, often located near major attractions.
  • Bed and Breakfasts: Experience traditional British hospitality in charming B&Bs, perfect for a more intimate and homely stay.
  • Self-Catering Flats and Apartments: Ideal for families or groups looking for flexibility and a home-like atmosphere during their stay.
  • Guesthouses: Find comfortable accommodation with a personal touch in one of the many guesthouses available in Margate.
  • Budget Accommodations: For travellers on a tighter budget, Margate has a variety of affordable options, including hostels and budget hotels.
  • Luxury Retreats: Indulge in luxury at high-end hotels or private rentals, offering exclusive facilities and exceptional service.

In Margate, every accommodation choice adds to the enjoyment of your seaside getaway, ensuring a comfortable and memorable visit.

Related content: Short Breaks In Kent

Photo of a deck chair hire in Margate.
Need a deckchair? Simply hire one right on Margate beach. Photo © Matt Harrop (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Tips For A Weekend Trip To Margate

Here are some useful tips and practical information to enhance your visit to Margate:

  • Weather: Margate enjoys a temperate maritime climate. It’s advisable to pack layers, a waterproof jacket, and sunscreen, especially if you plan to spend time outdoors.
  • Getting Around: Margate is well-suited for walking, particularly the seafront and Old Town areas. For longer distances, local bus services are available, and taxis can be easily hailed or booked.
  • Language: English is the primary language spoken in Margate. However, you might encounter a variety of accents from across the UK.
  • Safety: Margate is generally a safe town. Standard safety precautions are advisable, especially in crowded areas and at night.
  • Dining: Margate has a diverse range of dining options. Booking in advance is recommended for popular restaurants, particularly during peak tourist season.
  • Shopping Hours: Most shops in Margate open around 9 am and close by 5 or 6 pm. Some shops may have extended hours during the summer months and on weekends.
  • Tipping: In restaurants, tipping around 10-15% of the bill is customary for good service. Tipping in pubs and cafes is less common.
  • Events and Festivals: Margate hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year. It’s worth checking local listings to see what’s happening during your visit.
  • Beach Guidelines: When visiting Margate’s beaches, adhere to local safety guidelines and cleanliness rules, particularly if swimming or participating in water sports.

With this practical knowledge, you’re all set to enjoy Margate’s unique blend of seaside charm and cultural vibrancy.

Photo of the harbour building in Margate.
The Margate Harbour Company building on the pier. Photo © Gary Rogers (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Itineraries For City Breaks In Margate

Margate, a town full of character and charm, offers varied experiences for visitors.

Whether you’re in Margate for a quick visit or a longer leisurely stay, these itineraries are designed to help you make the most of your time.

24-Hour Itinerary

  • Morning: Start with a visit to the Turner Contemporary, followed by a stroll along the Margate Main Sands.
  • Afternoon: Explore the vintage shops and cafes in the Old Town, then visit the Shell Grotto.
  • Evening: Enjoy dinner at one of the seafront restaurants, and end your day with a leisurely walk on Margate Pier.

48-Hour Itinerary

  • Day 1: Follow the 24-hour Margate itinerary.
  • Day 2 Morning: Visit Dreamland Margate for some retro fun and amusement.
  • Day 2 Afternoon: Relax at Botany Bay, known for its stunning cliffs and quieter beach.
  • Day 2 Evening: Explore Margate’s nightlife, perhaps catching a show at the Theatre Royal or enjoying a drink at a local pub.

Long Weekend Itinerary

  • Day 1 & 2: Follow the 48-hour Margate itinerary.
  • Day 3: Take a short trip to nearby Broadstairs or Ramsgate to explore more of Kent’s coastal charm, or enjoy a leisurely day exploring the local art galleries and boutiques in Margate.

These itineraries offer a balanced visitor experience of Margate’s rich heritage, beautiful beaches, and vibrant cultural scene, ensuring a memorable stay.

Photo of the old market in Margate
View of the old market in Margate, very popular with visitors. Photo © Christopher Hilton (cc-by-sa/2.0)

FAQ For Visiting Margate, Kent

Here are some travel and attraction-related frequently asked questions about Margate, designed to provide valuable information for visitors:

What is the best time of year to visit Margate?

Margate is delightful in the summer for beach activities, but spring and autumn are also great times to visit for fewer crowds and pleasant weather.

Are there any child-friendly attractions in Margate?

Dreamland Margate is a hit with children, offering vintage rides and amusements. The sandy beaches and the Shell Grotto are also popular with younger visitors.

Can you recommend any hidden gems in Margate?

The Shell Grotto, with its mysterious origins and ornate shell-lined passages, is a fascinating off-the-beaten-path attraction.

What are the must-see attractions in Margate?

Essential visits in Margate include the Turner Contemporary gallery, the historic Dreamland amusement park, and the scenic Margate Main Sands.

Is Margate suitable for a weekend break?

Margate is perfect for a weekend getaway, offering a mix of art, culture, history, and seaside fun, all within a compact area that’s easy to explore.

How accessible are Margate’s beaches?

Margate Main Sands is easily accessible from the town centre, with facilities and amenities close by, making it ideal for visitors of all ages and abilities.

These FAQs are intended to help anyone planning a weekend break to Margate.

Margate: A Coastal Town Reimagined

Our exploration of Margate reveals a seaside town that has skilfully woven its traditional charm with a vibrant, contemporary culture.

From the rejuvenating Turner Contemporary to the nostalgic Dreamland, Margate offers an appealing mix of attractions for all ages.

Its sandy beaches and historic allure, complemented by a burgeoning arts scene and eclectic dining options, make Margate a standout destination on the Kent coast.

Embark on a journey to Margate, where the joys of a classic British seaside experience are enhanced by modern creativity and style.

Plan your trip to this enchanting coastal town and discover its unique blend of past and present, ensuring a delightful and memorable visit.

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