Big wheels, candy floss, and roller-coasters—could there be a better way to spend time at the beach than at a fairground? It’s already been dubbed ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’ and the beach of choice for London’s hipster crowds, but the re-opening of Dreamland over the May Bank Holiday has now cemented Margate’s place as Britain’s capital of seaside cool. We sent our Lifestyle Editor down to see what all the fuss is about…
I think I speak for all 80’s children when I say that I’ve always wanted to rock out like Olivia Newton John in that final fairground scene in Greece (millennials – watch now for musical magic and a young and dashing John Travolta); finally, Dreamland in Margate delivers on that life-long goal. It’s a candy-hued riot of helter-skelters and spinning tea cups, complete with a neon-clad penny arcade, roller disco, tree-top bar and a mirror maze where you can vogue-out amidst a kaleidoscope of colours.
But it’s not all about the retro vibes, there are food trucks and bars dishing out boozy slush puppies, wood-fired pizza and fish ‘n’ chips; a backdrop of art installations means you’re never lost for Instagram-inspo; and it also boasts a line-up of live music from top artists like The Kills. On June 10th it hosts the hotly anticipated Demon Dayz festival curated by none other than Damon Albarn and his Gorillaz band (top tip: look out for guestlist performances and after parties at new rooftop bar Ziggy’s).
For us, it’s the English seaside revival bonanza that we’ve always dreamed of (excuse the pun). We even spotted roaming magicians and mermaids carted around in shopping trolleys. It’s that kind of place. But just an hour and a half from London, it’s also the perfect seaside day out—don’t forget you’ve got the golden sands of Margate beach just outside, where you can grab a 99 Flake and watch those incredible Turner sunsets.
Whether you go for the rides, the music, or the beach, we expect Dreamland will be THE place to be this summer.
WHERE TO STAY
Bed-down in style in The Reading Rooms, a Grade II listed townhouse filled with a minimalist but chic edit of clawfoot tubs, Victorian-style beds and tinkling chandeliers. Its fresh white colour palette will offer your eyes visual relief after all that bright neon.