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Holidays in Margate

Bring your bucket and spade to the UK's original seaside town

UK | South Coast | Kent | Margate
Night time shot of the Turner Contemporary Gallery

In recent years Margate in Kent has enjoyed a cultural revival and has become a centre for artistic energy. Retro chic and cool café culture now thrives and visitors to the traditional seaside town can enjoy the sandy beaches, chic boutiques, art galleries and a wealth of exciting places to eat.

Margate’s Old Town signals the reinvention of the town with its cobbled streets and bohemian air. Artistic energy is abundant with independent art galleries, artisan jewellery shops and bijou boutiques. A short walk away you can rummage around the antiques emporium of Junk Deluxe and RG Scott’s Furniture Market.

Every September there is a jazz festival in the old town which attracts top notch performers and in the summer months visitors can enjoy an open studio programme of art exhibitions from the local resident artists.

The biggest draw to the Old Town must surely be the Turner Contemporary Gallery which presents a variety of artistic styles in a stunning prominent setting next to the harbour. Britain’s best loved artist lived in Margate from time to time with his landlady, Mrs Booth, and was inspired by the unique light of the area describing it as having “the loveliest skies in all Europe,” and at least one of his paintings is on view at all times in conjunction with more contemporary works.

Margate seafront

Dreamland in Margate has recently enjoyed a major refurbishment and has been restored to its former glory. The theme park has all the traditional rides and attractions that you would expect such as dodgems, helter-skelters, fish and chip shops and bars.

For more than 100 years the Winter Gardens have attracted well-known acts and the Tom Thumb theatre, one of the smallest theatres in the world, and has been described as “a gorgeous little chocolate box theatre”.

"In recent years Margate has enjoyed a cultural revival"

One of Margate’s greatest mysteries is the Shell Grotto, which was discovered in 1835 and has 21 metres of passages to explore, decorated with over 4.5 million shells depicting images of gods and trees. It is only open at weekends in winter, but daily from May to October. Some think it was an ancient pagan grotto, but others believe it was just a regency folly.

The beach at Margate and the close proximity to London has drawn holidaymakers for over 250 years, catering for families with plenty of restaurants and seafood stalls, children’s rides, amusement arcades and of course a wide expanse of sandy beach. The vibrant mix of traditional attractions and contemporary style have made it a busy, buzzy place to stay, and you will be spoilt for choice with so many restaurants and cafés to choose from.

Whether you want traditional fish and chips from Peter’s Fish Factory, or fine dining at The Ambrette, you will find something to suit your palate.

Take a look at our collection of Margate holiday cottages for even more holiday inspiration.

While you’re there

The Shell Grotto

An ornate subterranean grotto decorated with local shells, ending in a rectangular room known as the Altar Chamber

Turner Contemporary Gallery

Free admission to the venue, showcasing contemporary and historical art in a world class gallery situated near the harbour


Experience a traditional seaside amusement park with all the thrills of the vintage rides and entertainment

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