Sunday 16 July 2017 / London, UK

A Weekend In Margate: Where To Eat, Where to Stay, What To Do

 After visiting Margate for the first time last summer, I've simply fallen in love with the place and have already had to return twice this year. It's got everything you want from a seaside...a beautiful sandy beach, traditional British amusements, the best fish & chips I've ever eaten, unique, independent shops and just the right amount of atmosphere, whilst managing to keep its residential charm where everybody seems to know everybody. It's the East coast's little hidden gem and one which is seriously underrated. Whilst everyone seemingly flocks to Brighton to battle for a 5x5cm spot on the pebbly beach, Margate's beach seems to go on for miles, with not an overcrowded pavement in sight and you only have to visit it once to see why it's been declared the up-and-coming emblem of the great British seaside. 

I've had a few people ask for recommendations of where to eat/stay/visit whilst in Margate, so I wanted to create a little travel guide for anybody spending the day or weekend in Margate. So without further a do, lets get straight into my Margate guide...

- STAY -

Now I can't vouch for the hotels Margate has to offer, as I am an avid Airbnb user now and pretty much never stay in nor research hotels anymore, so the next part is going to be a little bit biased...I've stayed in many Airbnb apartments, from Berlin, to Madrid, to Venice Beach, to San Diego, to Rome and I can hand on heart say that this Airbnb apartment we just stayed in was my absolute favourite apartment by a mile. It was a 2 storey apartment (thanks to the mezzanine feature) and had all the right modern/cosy vibes going on. It had been kitted out to absolute perfection and honestly felt so, so homely. Plus, the host was an absolute babe, making our stay even more enjoyable and even left us a bottle of bubbly in the fridge for our arrival. (Now that's my kind of Airbnb host!) Having a beautiful apartment as our base in Margate really made the weekend that little bit more special. Friday night consisted of an embarrassing amount of bottles of wine consumed snuggled up in the mezzanine chatting the night away and it's fair to say it broke my heart a little saying goodbye to this apartment on the Sunday. I have linked the apartment we stayed in below, but if this one doesn't tickle your fancy, then there are a tonne of other beautiful, quirky apartments to choose from scattered around Margate. Margate is a small place, so it doesn't matter wherever you stay really, as everything is within walking distance. 

- SHOP -

- 8 King Street, Margate, CT9 1DE -
The streets of Margate Old Town are lined with independent boutiques, gift shops and antique and vintage stores. You'll find no chains here and that's what I absolutely love about Margate. The shops are all individual and family-run and all offer something unique to buy which you can't find elsewhere. Head to King Street (just a stones throw away from the beach) and wander in and out of the vintage shops whilst lusting over the adorable cottages, trust me you won't regret it...

- EAT -

- 12, The Parade, Margate, CT9 1EZ -
Is it even a trip to the seaside though, if you don't devour a fish & chips on the beach? Erm, I don't think so. Peter's Fish Factory is hands-down the best fish & chips you will ever eat. There's a reason people queue out the door after all! There's no denying that a greasy fish & chips isn't the healthiest or most Instagramable "foodie" recommendation of them all, but who gives a shit when the fish tastes this good? You simply can't visit Margate without a visit to Peter's. It's the perfect ending to the day and one I like to save until right at the end when the sun is setting, so I can be a true Brit and eat it straight out of the box (complete with my wooden fork of course) sat on the beach steps watching the sun go down. It's not exactly watching the sun set over the Mediterranean in Ibiza, but it will do for England...
- 4-5 Market Place, Margate, CT9 1EN - 
Margate Old Town has plenty of adorable, independent cafes offering up yummy brunches and freshly baked cakes and all with dreamy interiors to match. The cafes are all kitted out with Union Jacks and bunting galore and that's what makes Margate so adorable, it's just so stereotypically British and I love that! I remembered The Cupcake Cafe from my visit to Margate last year and we thought it was only right to visit it again this year as the breakfast was absolutely delish. There are plenty of other little cafes floating about in the old town, so if you don't fancy The Cupcake Cafe, then just go for a wander and you'll soon find something you fancy.
 - 12-13 The Parade, Margate, CT9 1EY -
Huckleberry's is the perfect pit-stop for a refresher after a walk along the beach. We didn't eat here so I can't vouch for their food, but I did have a pretty dam delicious smoothie which I would highly recommend! It's a cute little cafe overlooking the sea with the cutest shabby-chic/retro decor.
 - 16 Marine Drive, Margate, CT9 1DH -
Sands Hotel Margate is the perfect pit-stop for a slightly fancier bite to eat. It's infamous afternoon tea overlooking the beach is highly sought after, so if you are planning to make a visit, then do make sure to pre-book a table. If you don't fancy the full afternoon tea, then just head out onto the balcony for a few drinks, as the balcony is the perfect little sun-trap and we passed a fair few hours sat up there with a bottle (or three) of prosecco. It's a lovely way to spend an afternoon and to feel like you're on the beach without the inconvenience of finding half a kilo of sand in your bag and inbetween your toes! 
- 14a Marina Drive, Margate, CT9 1DH -
I'm not sure what enticed me more into GB Pizza Co, the palm print cushions or the sassy neon light, but I'm an absolute sucker for restaurant interiors and GB Pizza Co's decor is right up my street. The pizza had been highly recommended and after stalking the life out of it on Instagram, we decided to take a little pit-stop here on Saturday night to see if it lived up to the hype. I went for the chorizo pizza and although it was a bloody good pizza, I gotta be really honest here and say that sadly it was not a patch on Franco Manca's chorizo pizza (nothing is beating that bad boy). So although it's definitely not the best pizza in the UK, like many people have called it, it's a quirky and fun restaurant right on the beachfront and with fast service, reasonable prices and friendly staff, it makes it the perfect pit-stop for an evening bite! (PS. they have the coolest wallpaper in the toilet, with a certain Mr Hardy printed...don't miss it! And P.P.S. they do gluten free pizza bases too woo!)
There's also the most amazing gelato shop next door called Melt Gelato, which sells the nicest gelato I've found in England so far, so definitely pop along if you're not too stuffed from your pizza! Although like my Nan always says, dessert is a different stomach....


- 14a Marina Drive, Margate, CT9 1DH - 
The last time I visited Margate, Dreamland was still being renovated so I couldn't visit, but my god was it worth the wait. The newly restored pleasure park is the perfect mix of old school vs. modern. Despite the DJ playing house music, the Dreamland sign to rival that of the Hollywood one and the adventurous street food, the heart of this amusement park still lies in its vintage rides and live events. Despite the backdrop of art installations and modern slot machines, you just can't help but feel like you've stepped back in time to the 30's to the great British seaside, the moment you walk through Dreamland's doors. There's something for everyone at Dreamland and it's a perfect way to escape the beach and to spend some coppers on the slot machines, or simply sit in the sun and tuck into some delicious street food after riding the waltzers!

- RIDE - 

 - 8 Fort Hill, Margate, CT9 1HD - 
Conveniently, our airbnb host also owns ride, a bicycle rental company on Margate beachfront. After not having ridden a bike for at least a decade, the thought of being back on 2 wheels again, cycling so close to the sea-edge provoked a mini heart-attack inside, but after 5 minutes I soon got back into the swing of things and we ended up going on a 2 hour cycle along the promenade and ended up in Westgate-on-Sea. Hiring bikes was the best thing we did that weekend as it was such a perfect way to get that infamous fresh sea air and an even better way to see more of Margate and the surrounding areas. If you have a spare hour or two in Margate, then I highly recommend taking out bikes from ride. You can pick them up from Old Kent Market. 


 - Fort Road, Margate, C9 1HF - 
Aside from making the perfect Instagram backdrop for an OOTD, Margate's Fort Road Yard is possibly the oddest yard you'll ever step foot in, but in a (very) good way. It's pretty much got something from every decade of the 20th century, from an old log flume boat to old dodgem cars to unique local artwork to collectable furniture. We spent a good while walking around the yard taking it all in. Fort Road Yard is not something you see everyday and is something that I'm yet to find at another British seaside, so definitely take the time to go and visit it. It's located at the end of the seafront, right near the Turner gallery and is only a 2 minute walk from King Street, where all the vintage shops are located.
Also, if palm reading is your thing, then I highly encourage you to have a palm reading by Fortune Teller Miranda. I had never been given a palm reading or anything of the sort and as it was something I'd always been interested (and a tad sceptical) in, I figured I'd give it a go in Margate for the reasonable price of £10. Now I won't go into the ins and outs of my reading, but what I will say is that it was accurate and insightful enough to provoke tears and left me thinking about it for days afterwards, so if this is your thing, then definitely give Miranda a visit.


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