Beaches & Cream – Margate’s Vintage Old Town

Beaches & Cream – Margate’s Vintage Old Town

Margate on the North coast of Kent is the perfect budget summer getaway from London. It’s an ambling 1 hr 45 minute train journey from Victoria  through the suburbs and along the coast. Margate doesn’t have the best reputation; everyone in our carriage decided they needed to comment on what a bad decision we were making.

They were wrong; Margate is amazing.

Vintage Shops a Plenty

Margate’s Old Town is vintage shop after vintage shop. The prices are a fraction of London’s, the quality of the stock is top notch, and the interiors are exquisitely thematic.

vintage shops margate


The Most Unique Boutique

Margate’s Rough Trade is a unique and large store acting as a collaborative trading space for independent designers and artists. Featuring vintage clothing, hand made jewellery and it’s own hair salon, this is a must visit stop when shopping in the Old Town

rough trade margate

Cream Teas & Gastro Delights

We spent the weekend stuffing our faces. I’d recommend Fort’s Cafe for massive cooked breakfasts in probably the most hipster setting in the County, while the Cupcake Cafe does a lovely cream tea, especially if you want to dine in floor to ceiling Cath Kidston style kitsch.

cream tea margate

The Mysterious Shell Grotto

It;s origins are unknown, but somehow a magical grotto was carved underground and decorated with over 4 million shells in swirling patterns, and it’s got only a £3.50 entrance fee.


Action Packed Social Calendar

We were in Margate for two days and during that time there were two festivals and a carnival. The council have gone full force to create an thriving atmosphere all summer long, so be sure to check what’s going on to make the most of your trip.

margate carnival

…and there’s a beach!

Of course there is. A lovely long golden bay of sand and sea. Not the best in the world, but it does everything it needs to! This is was very welcome when escaping from the endless bustle of London. Nearby Broadstairs is meant to be a great choice if sand based activites are your top priority.

margate beach

Beat The Crowds

With the infamous Dreamland due to reopen in the next few years as a Heritage focused theme park featuring vintage rides, it won’t be long until Margate is heavy with tourists. It was already given 7th place on Rough Guide’s Must Visit Destinations of 2013, and it won’t be long until every publication is singing it’s praises.

dreamland margate

Until Next Time…

margate sunset

Please like & share:
  • Love this!!!! I really want to go now, but guess I’ll have to wait till next summer. Dreamland sounds amazing too – what kind of vintage rides!?

    • Emma says:

      It sounds like they’re getting a lot of the early 20th century rides from other closed theme parks, so they should have the pick of the crop. I hope there’s a lot of really ornate features!

    • David Moger says:

      All the original rides were off site when the park was “Accidentally” burnt down, and have been fully restored and are ready for re-installation for Dreamland’s re-opening-come on down!

  • cat says:

    Wicked! Not to mention the 16 quid a night hostel overlooking the sea front too…

  • Lucy says:

    Yay Margate 🙂 it’s so nice seeing my rundown old hometown receiving some positive attention at last! It’s been slowly creeping up in the last few years and it’s so nice being able to go to Margate for a day and finding things to do again with the old town, the cafes, the Turner gallery and the beaches. I’d also recommend visiting the seafront at Broadstairs and Ramsgate xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua Italy

    • Emma says:

      Yes, Broadstairs and Ramsgate are on my UK bucket list for next summer, I can’t wait!

  • Emma,
    I have lived in Margate Old Town for almost 20 years and have seen, and been a part of, its ongoing metamorphosis from a run-down, shut-down, forgotten wasteland to the wonderfully vibrant vintage, retro, cafe culture, urban & grass roots art haven that you discovered.
    All of us in Margate Old Town have worked and are still working to make this place special, without any ‘real’ help or support from local council … we rely on real people, like you, to spread the word and to promote and encourage others to visit and enjoy all that we have to offer.
    Therefore, a BIG thank you for your wonderful account of your experiences here in “Beaches & Cream” Margate …. 😀

    • Emma says:

      Hi Stephen, thanks so much for your kind words. I really enjoyed my time in Margate, so much so I was looking at property online and dreaming of having my own little beachside house! Hopefully one day I’ll be a local, until then I’ll make sure to visit as often as I can.


  • Ooooh I wonder whether they’ll have carousel horses? Or even real horses on the beach…. I miss real horses on beaches 🙁 Maybe I should move to Margate and start a beach horse business 🙂

  • Wow didn’t know this existed in Margate, maybe it is worth a trip after all 😉 Thanks for sharing with us love the photos!

  • Lily La says:

    I’m not so sure about Margate… I used to go there regularly when I was a little girl. I spent a lot of great childhood days there, but when I grew up, it wasn’t the same. Not quite sure if it was me, or Margate. I’m glad you can see such greatness in the place though 🙂

    • Emma says:

      Sad to hear Lily…I think Margate is almost going through a whole new lifecycle and there’s so many things to do there for adults – although I can see how could not align with childhood memories

  • Alyssa says:

    Lovely photos! And I do love scouting vintage shops 🙂


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