Last week my partner, Mike, surprised me with a weekend away to Margate to celebrate three years of being together. I usually spend months researching ideas for each trip I go on, so it was a welcoming change when I knew nothing about the place.
Margate is a trendy British seaside town in Kent and only 90 minutes from London. I can imagine it’s heaving in the summer but in the autumn it was relatively quiet. We stayed in a beautifully furnished room in Angela’s Guesthouse with a balcony overlooking the sea.
I immediately fell in love with the cobbled streets, colourful houses and unique shops and cafes.
Have you ever seen a hot chocolate more tempting?
After the hot chocolate warmed us up we headed over to the shell grotto, an underground set of passages covered with over 4.5 million sea shells. There was an alter down there and various shapes of shells which were named on the guide we were given. The shells were discovered in 1835 but it still remains a mystery how or why they were built. It sounds rather speaking but was my favourite thing we did in margate.
Where else can you find a dinosaur made of shells?
On the way to the shell grotto there was a Tudor house, closed at that time of day, and next to it was a selection of pots where locals could come and pick their own fresh herbs. My dream! I could easily see myself living in Margate.
Next to the herbs was a Love Wall with a large chalkboard heart for people to share messages of love, hope and positivity. There was also a Listening Wall for people to post more painful messages of anger, grief and sadness through a letterbox. A listening group would then read the messages without judgement, just with care.
On our walk back to the old town we watched the sun set over the sea
For dinner in the evening we visited the well-known GB Pizza which has won awards for its wood-fired pizza. The owners used to travel up and down the country in a camper van with their portable wood-fire oven. Then they arrived in Margate and never looked back. There’s delicious pizzas with locally sourced ingredients and prosecco on tap, what’s not to love!? I had a goats cheese and pepper pizza. It was certainly superior to other pizzas I’ve had in England, but no pizza will ever compare to the one I had in Naples.
The next day we had breakfast at the cupcake cafe. Being an avid baker, I couldn’t resist eating here and it’s even been visited by the Queen! We both had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, and of course, I cupcake.
We then went for saunter along the windy beach, all covered up in our winter attire.
We saw many locals out with their dogs on our peaceful walk and we spotted a red bus cafe which we’d like to visit when we return in future. The golden sandy beach stretched into the relatively calm sea. I can imagine it being I lovely spot to spend the day in summer.
We walked to the Turner Contemporary Gallery, a calming exhibition space. It’s free to enter and is run by donations so I bought a few things from the shop. There is even art outside to enjoy.
Right opposite the gallery is the Old Kent market, a converted cinema. They are building houses a range of stalls selling local food and crafts. There is even (another) red bus cafe in there.
I couldn’t resist walking back to the Tudor House now it was open (it’s open from 11.30-2pm and costs £1.50 to enter). It’s the oldest building in Margate and have been home to farmers, weavers and master marinas.
Upstairs there are a range of Tudor costumes to try on. Of course, much to mikes delight, we did this.
After this we wondered around the old town including a stroll down Love Lane.
Before we left we had dinner in an incredible seafood restaurant: Angela’s. I loved how small and friendly it was. The menu was displayed on a chalkboard hung up on the wall. I had the brill and mussels and shared vegetable sides with Mike. Now, I’ve had many mussels before but these were by far the best. They were unbelievably soft and wonderful, as was the fish. I can’t recommend this place enough. It’s a good idea to book in advance here as it gets very busy.
I loved my time visiting Margate and massively appreciate the thought that Mike put into organising it. We even stopped at Leeds Castle on the way back to watch the fireworks. Perfect weekend.