Margate used to fall into the decaying seaside town bracket, but in recent years its star has been in the ascendant. The Turner Contemporary art gallery glowed like carved marble as the low autumn sun laid flat colours on it, its cerebral, classy beauty the opposite of the busy, infantile joy of Dreamland. Margate then felt like a brutish, irredeemable place but last summer I’d heard enough positive mentions of it to make me wonder whether this seaside town that had been in free fall for as long as anyone could remember had finally found its bounce: conversations turned on its new “arty” vibe, people moving there, people even calling it “Shoreditch-on-Sea”. “That same week, a friend of mine mentioned that everyone was moving to Margate. Cecily Mullins is in the process of buying a one-bedroom flat in Margate’s Old Town. Famous for providing the inspirational backdrop for J.M.W. I thought these were supposed to be old pictures? Make sure to pop into the brilliant Neptune pub that sits right on the beach front for a pint of ale and some people watching or one of the many oyster restaurants.

Long known as a bit of a dishevelled seaside town, the slice of Kent coast is bouncing back, thanks to the reopening of amusement park Dreamland (although this has since been embroiled in controversy) and the birth of an interesting mix of businesses such as Margate Arts Club, natural food store The Grain Grocer, and pop-up restaurant Xiringuito, run by a former Bistrotheque chef. There’s a sandy beach with grassy picnic areas for enjoying sandwiches in the sun, plus a wind and kite surfing club for those who want to pack some activities into their weekend. When the masses went to Spain and the English seaside resorts collapsed, the ruins were as epic as any of the industrial age. The exhibition was something of a revelation: Dreamland is more than just a deserted fairground at the heart of a fallen seaside resort. As to whether this is sensitive to the town’s existing DNA, or relevant and appropriate to the needs of the locals, is a more complicated question. The Dreamland amusement park now regularly hosts DJs and music acts including Radio 1's Annie Mac, An elderly lady attends a concert at the Oval Bandstand, a popular live music venue near the seafront.

It’s all about how the light falls in the atrium, about the Tracey Emin tea towels in the gift shop. “It’s wonderful,” says Redmond. It was a multitude of old cockney voices recalling how Dreamland was the heart of Margate: the Margate of everyone’s childhood memories, a lost world of hook-a-ducks and candy floss. 954 Followers, 23 Following, 160 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Margate Hipster (@margatehipster)

I cursed but soon got over the disappointment. But I’m struggling to remember any of the “world-class art” I’ve seen exhibited there since it opened around the Millennium. The only signs of life were in the pubs, which were full of drunken hard bastards from deep Kent, teenagers with tops off, Tupac tats on fighters’ torsos, hands down tracksuit bottoms cupping degenerate bollocks, and the feeling a kicking was a wrong look away. I walked out of the station right on to the town’s famous mile of golden sand, past the shelter where TS Eliot wrote The Waste Land while recovering from the nervous breakdown he’d suffered as a City banker: “On Margate Sands. In recent years, the area has seen an explosion in trendy espresso bars and restaurants - partly encouraged by a wave of investment brought in by the Turner Contemporary Gallery, A boy climbs down the ladder at Margate Main Sands, where the waters are busy on a warm summer day. A side street into the Old Town showed a different and decidedly more bourgeois side to this retro-modernist current bubbling away in Margate: a mid-century Danish furniture shop, a craft beer pub, a “Delivery to London” sign in a yard with vintage bath tubs and Seventies reclining chairs. Dreamland and Hastings pier are “culture-led regeneration” that really seems like “local pop culture-led regeneration” for once, and it can’t be a coincidence they’ve followed in the contemporary art galleries’ footsteps and that can only be a good thing. Just a couple of minutes walk from the station (it's under 2 hours to Victoria) you'll find the main promenade and beach, where you can eat fish and chips and sunbathe before popping into the Turner Contemporary gallery.
“Oh, you don’t want to do that. This once dishevelled seaside town is bouncing back and luring creatives with its promises of coastline, fresh air, culture, art, history - and cheaper rents, The latest lifestyle, fashion and travel trends, Register with your social account or click here to log in. But where do you begin? In what little sun was left that autumn afternoon, I caught the most exquisite Turner sunset. Prepare to compete with crowds to secure a space for your towel on the beach. The fishermen of England’s biggest beached fleet hate the Jerwood because it has replaced the coach park that used to bring busloads of punters who’d buy their fish each day. Hastings has its own version of Dreamland. Brighton is polished and chic and everything you want from a cool seaside town. http://i.imgur.com/vjf831X.jpg[Above: Looking out from the promenade across the Thames Estuary]. If you can, try and get a table at the Company Shed, where you can eat your bodyweight in oysters and prawns. Beside the golden mile was a boarded-up, brutalist arcade, backing on to the closed Dreamland amusement park. Everyone played on this pier, from The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and The Clash to Sasha and Digweed in its final days as a muntered rave venue.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article. To buy a one bedroom flat with a garden and sea view will set you back about £160,000.

Many people are drawn to the area simply by its romantic bleakness. Danielle Peck, who took the images for her newly-published book, Dreamland, said: 'I had never even been to Margate before 2013, but there was something about the plan to bring back Dreamland that drew me to the town. It’s one of England’s earliest amusement parks, opened in 1921 at the birth of English popular culture. “I came down to visit and thought I'd rather buy a home somewhere that I enjoy living, with a proper sense of community rather than on the outskirts of London, where I'd be able to afford,” says the corporate music agent.
It is set to reopen this year.]. I watched happy-looking immigrant families with children throwing chips at seagulls, a bloke slowly painting a bad Impressionist seascape (and good on him), a straggle of lost-looking teenage foreign language students, the odd arty type trying to film the sunset on their tablets. I even enjoyed the voice-over by Barbara Windsor. I don’t think there are any definite plans to save the South Coast’s biggest tramp shelter, but like Dreamland in Margate, Hastings is rebuilding its own temple of pop culture — the pier. Margate is packed with great things to do and places to go. I can connect. *** In all the galleries we’ve inherited from New Labour, it always seems like the content’s almost incidental; an excuse to come and see the spectacle of the gallery.


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