For a great British day trip, Margate is as great and British as it gets.
I first heard of Margate when a colleague took a trip to Dreamland and raved about it. Dreamland is a giant permanent fairground which was possibly created with Instagram in mind as it’s full of colourful rides and quirky sets. That’s not the only reason to visit though – Margate and the surrounding coastal areas are gorgeous.
How to get there
The train from St Pancras International takes just 1 hour 30 minutes. My friend Hannah and I grabbed coffee and breakfast and boarded the 10am train (the coffee was necessary at that time on a Sunday) and still arrived before the morning was over.
Stop off at Broadstairs
Broadstairs is just a six-minute train ride down the coast from Margate. The service to and from London calls there so we hopped off for a quick explore before continuing to Margate.
Broadstairs has everything a British beach town should: fish and chips, colourful beach huts and a sandy – if not very warm – beach. A modern feel? Not so much. Hannah and I mused we were bringing down the average age in town by about 40 years and felt like we might be offered tea and a Worthers Original at any moment (sadly this didn’t actually happen).
The unusual chalky, white cliff faces made me think of the White Cliffs of Dover – which made sense as they’re just 20 miles down the coast.
We arrived in Margate six minutes after departing Broadstairs – barely even time to sit down on the train! As soon as we arrived I noticed how colourful the town was, with street art, bright shop fronts and coloured boats bobbing in the harbour.
Our first stop was Dreamland. It was indeed dreamy and we didn’t know what to go and look at first. We decided on the giant rainbow slide then followed it up with a spin on the big wheel where every carriage was a different candy colour.
Dreamland is free to enter and you pay for the rides by topping up a fake debit card – the big slide cost £2 and the wheel was £3.50 each.
Dreamland’s candy floss is definitely worthy of a mention. Naughty Floss serves every floss flavour under the sun (I didn’t even know it could come in different flavours) and ours was even sprinkled with fruit flavoured popping candy. We were two happy chappies!
Margate’s cheese cafe!!
After leaving Dreamland we were feeling hungry and headed over to Cheesy Tiger, Margate’s very own cheese cafe.
If ever there was a reason to visit a place, it’s a cheese cafe!
We shared two cheese-themed dishes: one of the richest and most delicious servings of mac and cheese I’ve ever had, and a giant toasty oozing raclette.
The rest of town
Margate is definitely up-and-coming with lots of quickly shops and cafes to wile away an afternoon. As well as the beach, Margate Harbour Arm is a curving pier with a selection of outdoor bars and restaurants (including Cheesy Tiger).
Don’t miss the Old Kent Market (you physically can’t as it’s in an eye-catching scarlet building) which is full of craft stalls, food, local ales, cocktails and a big piano for any guests who want to play.
We found that Broadstairs and Margate took up most of the day considering we had an hour and a half train there & back. However, if you’re staying overnight or are super speedy, visit Ramsgate where you’ll find a pretty harbour and beach. The London train calls there too (before Broadstairs on the way from London and afterwards on the way back).