A trip to Margate can be as leisurely, cultured or mysterious as you like thanks to the Kent seaside resort’s beautiful beaches, world-class art gallery, fascinating Tudor architecture and head-scratching Shell Grotto. Tick off as much as you can during your stay to get the full Margate experience.
Activities in Margate
Margate’s most famous attraction is the historic Dreamland theme park overlooking Margate Beach. After all, you can’t lay claim for the title of Britain’s best seaside resort without a roller coaster or two. Dreamland Margate dates back to the 1880s, although it only took on its most famous moniker after the Scenic Railway was built in 1920. Astonishingly, that same wooden roller survives to this day, and you can ride it by paying a visit to Dreamland. The park offers great value for the money – which is more than can be said for many theme parks – and there are rides and activities for all ages and every level of adrenaline junkie. It also hosts a wide range of events and parties, so check what’s on before or during your stay at our Margate hotel, which is just next door.
Of course, you don’t really need to do anything during your stay in Margate; you can just while away your day while soaking up the sun’s rays from your spot on Margate Beach. This iconic stretch of sand has attracted holidaymakers for many a year. It’s perfect for a swim, tanning and building castles out of its golden sands. The town’s booming tourism industry is built around the beach. It means, when you want to take a break, you’ll find some of our favourite places to eat in Margate just nearby, as well as ice cream spots, pubs, and quality fish and chips. Then when the sun goes down, the town looks particularly pretty with its lights reflecting in the waters.
Margate’s isn’t the only beach worth visiting. Botany Bay is just a short drive around the headland, or if you’d rather walk, you can follow the Promenade all the way there. It’s the northernmost bay of the seven bays in Broadstairs. It’s supremely photogenic, thanks to the white cliffs that crowd around the beach, and the chalk stacks that stand precipitously on the sand. There are plenty of pubs nearby, including some of our top Margate nightlife picks. You can rent deck chairs so you can soak up the sun in style. And if you want a swim, there are lifeguards during the holiday season.
A short walk from the town centre, on Grotto Hill, you’ll find one of the most unique and head-scratching attractions on the planet. Shell Grotto is a subterranean series of rooms and tunnels almost entirely covered in mosaics made of seashells. Some clever clogs have tried to estimate how many shells were used across the grotto, and their best guess stands at more than 4.6 million. That’s a lot of seashells from the seashore! The Shell Grotto was discovered way back in the 1830s, but its origin is completely unknown. People have their theories, and they speculate wildly, some even going as far back as 1,000BC. One thing’s for sure, it’s absolutely fascinating, especially thanks to the adjacent museum. Visit and throw your origin theory into the mix.
As if you weren’t already spoilt for choice, Margate is also home to the Turner Contemporary, a world-class art gallery dedicated to J. M. W. Turner, who went to school in Margate before he became a legendary landscape artist. The Turner Contemporary is home to some of Britain’s most treasured masterpieces. Some people find their proximity to the tempestuous North Sea a bit of a sticking point, but we’re just happy we can see world-class art here on the Kent coast. The building itself is a masterpiece with stunning sea views and enormous gallery spaces capable of holding huge exhibitions of the world’s greatest artists.
History fans will enjoy a visit to Tudor House, the marvellous residence on King Street, which dates back to 1525. It was lovingly restored in the 1950s and is almost entirely made from Tudor materials. It’s like taking a trip back in time. Admission is super cheap, you can explore the house’s nooks and crannies plus try on Tudor costumes. As an added bonus, you get to explore the beautifully manicured grounds, which feature a Tudor knot garden.