Jess, aged 13, says: Over the holidays, our family visited two places on the Kent coast – Margate and Broadstairs. We had a lovely time visiting the beaches, exploring shops, and visiting local attractions, and we would have loved to stay for longer and visit Ramsgate and Whitstable nearby. Please watch the video below of our favourite things to do in Margate…
Robert, aged 10, writes: The Walpole Bay Hotel was a quirky old fashioned establishment where we stayed our last two nights of our holiday to Kent. This brilliant hotel, built in 1914, was bought by the Bishop Family who have kept nearly everything the same from when they purchased it, even the exceptionally old 1927 lift (which we all loved to go in). On top of being a hotel, the second floor was a museum displaying an assortment of old objects from typewriters to vacuum cleaners plus the walls of the first and third floors were covered in paintings like a gallery.
The rooms were extremely comfortable and spacious and the food that we tried was really nice. The WIFI didn’t really work in our room but apart from that it was a fantastic place to stay.
Jess writes: The reason we visited Margate in the first place was to go to Dreamland, an old-fashioned amusement park full of rides and retro arcade games. We spent over half a day there, and loved all of the activities. As it was Christmas time, the park was called the “Frosted Fairground”, and was full of lovely little additions. We loved it when some fake carollers came up to Robert and started singing songs, and the member of staff leading them told him to shut the door in their faces!
I enjoyed the fact that not all of the rides were for thrill seekers, which meant that the whole family could go on them together (although mum decided to sit out for the wooden roller coaster!). I loved the ferris wheel, the large slides, and the bumper cars, which mum says were the best she’s been on. However, my favourite rides were (obviously) the really fast ones, such as the UK’s oldest roller coaster and “Kiss Me Quick” (although I felt uncomfortable to be sitting next to my brother on that one)…
There is also a roller skating rink and lots of arcade games, which ended in Robert winning quite a good prize with his 300 tickets – a minions pencil case! There was a lot of choice for food, which was all pretty good value, and I especially enjoyed my Nutella crepe for lunch. As there is too much to talk about here, Robert has written a separate post all about it.
We all absolutely loved the Turner Contemporary, which is full of contemporary and historic art. Our family doesn’t often visit art museums as we sometimes find it boring to look at pictures and paintings, but this was different. Lots of the art on display was either interactive or political, which really interested me and mum. The theme of the main exhibition was called “Risk”, and we saw everything from videos of people jumping into tornadoes, to performance art starring Yoko Ono. We tried to find our way out of a maze, watched a video about a prison social experiment, saw a see-through trampoline, and watched a soporific video about balloons and washing hands while sitting in an inflatable dinghy! The exhibition is on until January 17.
It really was an insightful, fascinating and exciting afternoon, and I definitely recommend a visit. It is also great for children, as there is an interactive area where you are inspired to make crazy pieces of art (Robert and mum had a go), and really cool chairs which spun round (I probably stayed on these for far too long)…These were created by Thomas Heatherwick who was the man behind the Olympic cauldron.
It is also free!
Sarah says: The old town in Margate was full of quirky shops (many of them vintage or retro), tearooms and narrow streets which were full of history.
We really enjoyed walking around, though we were sorry that the gorgeous looking Tudor House was closed (it was funny to see this historic building randomly situated on a street!). We may have to come back another time for more sweets, scones or just a mooch about.
Jess writes: We loved all the beautiful beaches near Margate. The Kent Coast is full of gorgeous bays and shores, and we adored Botany Bay in Broadstairs and the Margate Main Sands (we also had a lovely walk near our hotel, which was right on the beach in Cliftonville).
The sea was absolutely stunning, and Robert and I collected lots of fascinating shells. The chalk cliffs are exquisite and imposing, and we discovered that Turner remarked that“…the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”. The unique quality of light in this part of Kent drew Turner back time and again.
In the summer, the beaches are full of swings and deck chairs, but it was lovely to run around the beaches without any disturbance as it was so picturesque and tranquil.
Robert says: The pantomime adaptation of Aladdin we saw at the Theatre Royal was great (oh yes it was!). It had everything from funny jokes, crazy versions of well known songs and a man dressed as a woman. I loved watching the show as it had a great story to it and all the actors were great. Some of the puns they used were hilarious and the cast interacted with the audience a lot which I liked. It was great fun – and the theatre puts on shows throughout the year, so do check what’s coming up.
Jess writes: Overall, we had a wonderful time visiting Margate – the beaches were lovely, the atmosphere was charming, and it felt as if we had been whisked back in time. We loved visiting the sweet shops and seeing crazy tea rooms, and thought that Dreamland and the Turner Contemporary were brilliant. It is perfect for families, and we had a really enjoyable and relaxing time.
Disclaimer: Visit Kent helped to organise our trip and made suggestions for where to go. We stayed two nights at the Walpole Bay hotel in interconnecting rooms (a family suite) on a discounted media rate. The room rate for the suite is £115 a night including breakfast, and you can find out about the prices here.
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