I went to one of the UK’s first ever seaside towns and it was fabulous

Originally known as Meregate, Margate was one of the UK’s first ever seaside resorts and the first to introduce deckchairs. The seaside town went through a difficult period but has recently been revitalised and become a top seaside destination. Just an hour and a half on the train from London, Margate is the perfect seaside day trip from the capital.

On a recent visit, I found the town has far more than just the beach to offer, so it doesn’t matter if the weather doesn’t live up to expectations.

From the Crab Museum to the mystical Shell Grotto, Margate deserves its place as one of the UK’s best seaside towns.

What to do

Margate Main Sands is the town’s main beach and it’s just a short walk from shops and restaurants. Those brave enough to dip in the sea can do so at the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, a Grade II listed sea water pool.

Away from the beach, children and adults alike will love the town’s quirky Crab Museum. It’s free to enter and has a few unexpected exhibits as well as plenty of fascinating facts about the underappreciated crustaceans.

Margate’s mysterious Shell Grotto is Grade I listed. The subterranean passageway is covered in shell mosaics and is well worth a visit.

During the summer months, Dreamland, Margate’s famous seaside amusement park, is a fantastic way to spend the day. Meanwhile, the Turner Contemporary has a rolling calendar of exhibits as well as spectacular sea views.

Margate’s Old Town is a maze of vintage shops and boutiques and the perfect place to wander.

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Where to Stay

Margate is an easy day trip from London but if you’d rather stay the night, there are several great hotels in the Old Town.

Staying in the Old Town offers easy access to all of Margate’s top attractions and some hotels even have stunning sea views.

Ramsgate is just a 20-minute car ride from Margate so could be another option for tourists who want to explore more of the Kent coast.


I loved Sargasso, which sits on Margate’s Harbour Arm and serves small plates and wine. Most of the dishes are fish based so it might not be the best option for vegetarians.

DIVE, Margate’s taco hut, is another great option while Forts Cafe is the ideal breakfast spot.

It wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without fish and chips and I had a delicious meal at Peter’s Fish Factory.

While I loved Margate, it’s not everyone’s favourite seaside town and it was recently described as a “shadow of its former self”.

If Margate’s not to your taste, why not head to another southern seaside town, which is famous for its oysters?

Meanwhile, the UK’s best seaside town according to Which? is a lot further north, on the gorgeous Northumberland coast.

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