Margate! Margate! Margate! I am of the firm opinion that when saying the name of this little seaside town it is the law that you must say it as Danny Dyer would say it. Margate! Try it – it’s fun!
Anyway, Margate (did you do a Danny in your head there? I hope you did) seems to be the latest ‘in’ place if you spend a little time scanning Instagram. Everyone seems to have been going there just recently.
Well, clearly En Brogue, Grenson and I needed to go and see what all the fuss was about (baaaa!).
We arrived and parked up next to the Dreamland theme park.
It’s basically this place that has brought the onslaught of Instagrammers. Dreamland is a retro, kitsch, seaside theme park for hipsters to create great ‘content’ in. They even have an event called ‘Hipster Seaside A-Go-Go’ happening later this year. In all honesty it does look well cool (as I believe literally none of the kids say anymore). As I myself have a beard I’m virtually a hipster too so I’m totally down with this place…unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed. So we quickly moved on, vindictively hoping that all those hipsters get candy floss tangled in their beards.
Strolling along the sea front, Morrissey entered my head and wouldn’t get out. Specifically a certain line from one of his most cheerful songs found itself on repeat in my head:
‘This is the coastal town, that they forgot to close down’
To be fair, I don’t imagine that there are many coastal towns that are looking their best in the first week of January, but I had been led to believe that Margate would offer more than just boarded up shops, tired amusement arcades and ‘caffs’ that probably haven’t had a new menu printed since Del Boy came on his jolly boys’ outing in 1989.
Luckily it didn’t take us long to find our first planned stop, a sweet little coffee shop called The Proper Coffee House (you can’t go wrong with a name like that!).
At last things started to look up, not only does a ‘proper’ coffee always help, but we found this sign very welcoming.
Take note Dreamland!!
Our next stop was the Old Kent Market and the slight uplift in morale nosedived again. There is no doubt that this is a cool little place and I’m sure that it is a brilliant, vibrant, hang out in the summer months. However, on a Thursday afternoon in January it’s somewhat lacking its spark.
As we began to think that we had caught Margate at a time when it really should have been in hibernation, we wandered down a side street away from the sea front and the attraction of the place revealed itself. Suddenly we were surrounded by the most beautiful shops.
Not for the first time we came across antique shops that welcomed Grenson inside with open arms. I have to admit that this does surprise me. At times I’m not sure whether or not even I should be allowed inside antique shops. I fear that at any moment I may spontaneously fall over, dragging a cabinet of priceless glassware down on top of me. They make me nervous. And yet, very much like when we visited Rye (click on the link for a read), all the shops seemed to be totally relaxed about Grenson having a peruse around inside.
TAKE NOTE DREAMLAND!!
En Brogue now went into retail mode.
Morale then went through the roof when she spotted Doggie Apparel. O…M…flippin G!
In this amazing little doggie nirvana you can watch the collars and leads being handmade at the back of the shop. And beautiful they are too. Needless to say, Grenson got utterly spoiled in there. But it’s virtually impossible for any dog person not to pick up something, from doggie bottle stops, to felt doggies. Personally I’m surprised we left without the woolly schnauzer in the window display.
Thankfully, when we did eventually leave it was with merely a small fortune spent rather than a flipping massive fortune. Heaven help the bank balance when their online shop is up and running!
Suddenly, Margate had come up trumps. We decided to end our visit the only true way that any self respecting traveller can. A visit to the pub.
The Lifeboat Ale and Cider House (what a great name) was a perfect venue. A fine selection of ales, craft beers and ciders (as you’d expect from that name I suppose), and a hearty menu on offer. The only downside was the sawdust on the floor. It played havoc with Grenson’s beard!
It was now time to head to our accommodation for the night. The Botany Bay Hotel situated just along the coast, on the way to Broadstairs.
This, my friends, is where the madness of going away on a damp Thursday at the beginning of January suddenly makes sense. We got a double room here with breakfast included for £64 (+ extra £5 supplement for Grenson). You cannot argue with that.
On top of that bargain price you can add the fact that it’s a lovely hotel too. Very friendly and helpful staff, comfortable spacious bar, lovely clean rooms, top-notch breakfasts (unfortunately we were not allowed in the main breakfast area with Grenson, but our set up in the bar was probably a better view anyway), and some prime dog walking beaches literally on the doorstep.
It really was a great visit, and I haven’t even told you about the meal we had at Wyatt & Jones in Broadstairs yet! Because that requires a whole blog post of its own.
Until then, despite a bit of a rocky start, our little trip had been a roaring success. And it’s at this point that I wanted to cleverly sum up our satisfaction by referring to a happy Morrissey lyric…unfortunately I couldn’t think of one.
So instead I’ll just use this picture of Grenson. Could there be a happier doggie?
The Man and the Dog.