Margate is synonymous with nostalgic weekends by the seaside, amusement arcades and the Jolly Boys’ Outing in Only Fools and Horses. The reopening of Dreamland and an influx of independent eateries with a focus on sustainability and local produce has marked the regeneration of the beachside town, making Margate a top hotspot for a weekend staycation within a couple of hours from London. Rooftop drinks overlooking the beach, fresh seafood of the highest quality and the best damn cheese toasties in Kent – get yourself to Margate to discover it all for yourself. Oh, and if you’re getting the train, take note that your train may split at Canterbury…else you’ll need a guide for Dover instead. Don’t ask.
Unit 7 & 8, Harbour Arm, Margate CT9 1AP
If you like cheese (who doesn’t like cheese?), this is an unmissable place in Margate and probably my number one recommendation. Set on the Harbour Arm, Cheesy Tiger serves hands down one of the best cheese toasties I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. As the name suggests, the menu is heavy on the good stuff, with the likes of burrata, mac n cheese and cheese plates alongside their famous toasties. Also, they do aioli, which is an absolute winner in my book. A fantastic spot to while away a few hours.
21 The Parade, Margate CT9 1EX
Angela’s is one of Margate’s most popular seafood restaurants, with a daily changing menu dependent on what is caught fresh that morning. There’s a focus on sustainability both in terms of ingredients and in practice, and a preference for locally sourced produce. The wine list boasts a majority of English wines, with the aim to one day being a solely English offering. Be sure to book ahead.
GB Pizza Co
14a Marine Dr, Margate CT9 1DH
Not many places in Margate are open on a Monday – how very European – but GB Pizza is one of them. Not only are they open but all of their pizzas are just five quid that day, or six for a special. This is proper pizza, a serious pizza. Thin, crispy base with quality ingredients sourced from local independent producers – and the perfect aid to help your hangover after you drink all the wine in Margate the night before. Gluten free bases also available.
The Bus Cafe
Royal Crescent Promenade, Margate CT9 5AJ
This is one I’m really sad we missed on our trip, but that’s what happens when you stay up drinking red wine and singing Lion King songs until 3am. You guessed it, you’ll be eating in a red double decker bus should you learn from my mistakes and make time to check it out. The potato rosti hashes look quite frankly phenomenal, and exactly what is required after a 3am red wine finish. Oh and there are halloumi fries on the menu. I think I’ll just leave my pitch on that note. Halloumi. Fries.
Hantverk & Found
18 King St, Margate CT9 1DA
We popped in here for some wine (I fear I’m giving you an almost too accurate portrayal of our time in Margate) whilst waiting to check into the Air BnB and the food looked great. Hantverk & Found has a regularly changing seafood menu and is a top spot for oysters, with an absolute steal of a prix fixe menu on Thursday evenings with 2 courses for £17.50 and 3 for £21.
Buoy & Oyster
44 High St, Margate CT9 1DS
Winners of the Kent Restaurant of the year 2018, Buoy and Oyster served as our dinner spot on Sunday evening. The seared tuna was perfectly cooked and the seafood linguine with samphire just as good as you’d expect from a seaside restaurant. Chocolate brownie with sea salt caramel ice cream and affogato were the perfect accompaniment to watching the sunset over the sea from Buoy & Oyster’s balcony terrace.
16 Marine Dr, Margate CT9 1DH
Banging ice cream made from local Kent milk and cream; the perfect seaside pit stop on a summer’s day, and let’s face it, ice cream in the winter is entirely acceptable too.
49 Marine Terrace, Margate CT9 1XP
Even Margate isn’t without a rooftop bar. Ziggy’s is the perfect spot for drinks in the sunshine, overlooking the beach and sea beyond. Being Jamaican themed, tables are painted red, green and yellow, and there are plenty of different rums to choose from for those tropical cocktails on offer.
Ever since my friends Hannah and Adam bought The Well and worked their butts off for months and months on end renovating the place, I’ve been dying to visit and check out all their hard work. Turns out that all that grafting paid off, because The Well is hands down the best Air BnB I’ve ever stayed in. Total interior goals with beautiful design, floor to ceiling sash windows that open onto a balcony overlooking the sea (and the sunset!), fantastic amenities, an honesty bar and the best goddamn bedding I’ve ever slept in. The Well sleeps four in two double bedrooms; the master bedroom’s pièce de résistance being the freestanding tub by the window that overlooks the ocean. I can’t rave about this place enough. Oh, and dogs are welcome too! Check out their Instagram for stunning pink sunsets and all things Margate: @londontomargate.
THINGS TO DO
No trip to Margate is complete without a visit to Dreamland, where it’s all too easy to act like a big kid in this brightly coloured amusement park full of rides and fun. Crazy golf, a roller room, dodgems – Dreamland has it all and is a must to complete a nostalgic weekend by the British seaside.
Margate is home to the Turner Contemporary art gallery, opened as a part of the regeneration of the seaside town. Worth a look even if you’re not hugely into art, the building overlooks the sea by the Harbour Arm and entry is free.
The Shell Grotto is a subterranean passageway, the walls and dome of which are covered entirely in beautiful mosaics made from shells. It was discovered in 1835 but no one really knows what its purpose was or why it was built, though there are plenty of theories to keep people entertained.