Costa del Kent, the east Kent coastline, is fast becoming a popular destination for weekends away, daytrips and UK holiday thanks to the towns dotting the coastline.

Southeastern services has announced extra services departing Victoria for the summer, and regular connections pass through Bromley South, Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

The newly opened Thanet Parkway station connects to London St Pancras and Stratford International on a highspeed service in around 70 minutes. 

One Kent coastal town in particular is becoming a very popular spot for holiday makers.

The once run-down Margate, Tracy Emin’s hometown and Victorian-era seaside destination, is having a cultural resurgence thanks to its sandy beach, the Turner Gallery and its buzzy creative and food scenes. 

Whether you’re in town for the day, a weekend or a week, here’s the best things to do, places to stay and where to eat and drink in Margate.

The Resident: Margate was once the seaside destination of well-heeled VictoriansMargate was once the seaside destination of well-heeled Victorians (Image: Getty)


Things to do in Margate


The Resident: Expect a quintessential British seaside experience at Margate's Main SandsExpect a quintessential British seaside experience at Margate's Main Sands (Image: Getty)

Main Sands

A short stroll from the train station, Margate’s main beach pulls a crowd, thanks to its sandy shoreline. Expect a quintessential British seaside experience here, with deck chair hire, a tidal pool and rides, and a string of amusement arcades running along the main drag behind it all. Head straight into the old town for fish and chips.


The Resident: No one knows for sure who created the Shell Grotto or whyNo one knows for sure who created the Shell Grotto or why (Image: Shell Grotto)


The Shell Grotto

This Grade I listed Victorian peculiarity was discovered in 1835, and why it exists remains unclear. This shell encrusted underground cave perhaps was a place of worship or a meeting place for a secret group, but nobody knows for sure. But this doesn’t take away from the effort that went into laying down the 4.6 million shells that line the grotto’s walls, or the strange beauty of it all.

Address: Grotto Hill, Margate, CT9 2BU



The Resident:

Turner Contemporary

This major regional gallery opened in 2011, on the site of JMW Turner’s preferred guesthouse used to be. Free to visit, alongside running exhibitions by local, British and international artists, the gallery hosts creative markets, plant pop ups, and a programme of kids activities too. Catch an unimpeded view of the sea from the main hall.

Address: Rendezvous, Margate CT9 1HG



The Resident: Dreamland has a huge live music programmeDreamland has a huge live music programme (Image: Getty)


Even before Sam Mendes’ film Empire of Light, the free to wander around in amusement park was perhaps Margate’s most iconic landmark. While the rides, including a ferris wheel, are good for smaller children, the venue also hosts the likes of Tom Jones, Gorillaz, Dizzee Rascal, Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada as part of its packed programme of gigs. The amusement park is now also home to Margate’s one and only Banksy. The Bristol artist originally stencilled up Valentine’s Day Mascara on a nearby wall of a house, which has since been cut out and preserved behind Perspex and placed under Dreamland’s watchful eye.  

Address: 49-51 Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ



Restaurants & places to eat


The Resident: Margate wine bar SèteMargate wine bar Sète (Image: Joe Lang)


A snug wine bar and bottle shop on Cliftonville’s main strip, that comes with pavement seating. While bottles can leave a dint in your wallet, the selection of very good wines on tap won’t. The wine bar has just opened a restaurant through the back that serves French-influenced dishes.

Address: 238 Northdown Road, Cliftonville CT9 2QD



GB Pizza

After being closed for some time due to a fire, GB Pizza has reopened to serve wood fire pizza from its rockstar, beach side position – it’s a good place for a sunset slice of pie. The menu has a couple of vegan options, as well as tried and tested favs, such as pepperoni and margarita, as well as more unfamiliar toppings such as pear and blue cheese of ricotta or salami with horseradish cream and rocket.

Address: 14 Marine Drive, Margate, CT9 1DH



This Michelin guide recommended seafood restaurant gained a Michelin Green Star this year, as its supply chain is plastic free, and it works directly with growers and suppliers who share their environmental-forward ethos. Expect a daily changing menu of unfussy but superb dishes.

Address: 21 The Parade, Margate, CT9 1EX




Hotels & where to stay


The Resident: Guest House No. 42Guest House No. 42 (Image: Toby Mitchell)

Guest House No. 42

New for summer 2023, Guest House No. 42 is the latest Guest House, which already has homely but smart operations in York and Bath. With just 21 rooms, a dining room overlooking Main Sands in the Old Town, the Pearly Cow restaurant and a more casual all-day café Field Trip, Guest House No. 42 is an elegant, art deco-tinged stay in the heart of Margate.

Address: 42 High Street, Margate CT9 1DS



The Resident: Fort Road Hotel, MargateFort Road Hotel, Margate (Image: Fort Road Hotel)

Fort Road Hotel

Located opposite Turner Contemporary and with fab views of the sea, Fort Road Hotel is a former 1820 boarding house rejuvenated and modernised through considered, smart design. The hotel’s 14 rooms are light-filled and furnished with vintage and design-led finds, while downstairs there’s a cave of a bar and at street level, the snug dining room serves up a seasonal menu across the three main meals of the day.

Address: 18 Fort Road, Margate CT9 1HF




Found in Cliftonville, Selina is a global accommodation brand that brings the hipster to hostels and affordable accommodation. The large hotel looks across the channel to France, and has shared and private room options. There’s also a huge beer garden, co-working space and a restaurant plating up casual fare such as burgers and small bites.

Address: 21-27 Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville CT9 2HL