Home » Once utterly miserable, Margate is now a magnet for Hollywood actors

Once utterly miserable, Margate is now a magnet for Hollywood actors

But cheap package holidays abroad and a lack of investment at home kickstarted the town’s demise. Great storms damaged the lido, jetty and bathing pavilions, hotels were sold off and shops boarded up. I grew up in the area in the 1980s and 1990s and Margate – particularly its old town – was utterly miserable. Though I suppose you could at least buy a cup of tea without being fleeced. And there was a pretty good seafront nightclub called Escape (which I promptly did, for 20 years).

What’s it really like? 

It’s buoyant. It’s community spirited. It’s got brilliant festivals, quirky museums and sights (hello Crab Museum and Shell Grotto) and an exorbitant amount of live music venues – Dreamland is hosting everyone from Sam Ryder to Idles and Status Quo this summer, and then there’s the brilliant independent venues like wonderfully grungy Where Else?, the Tom Thumb Theatre and the Lido Cliff Bar. 

The historic Lido complex probably best represents the spirit of Margate. Despite a spruce up it still looks dilapidated from the outside – covered in graffiti and crumbling into the sea – but inside, the Cliff Bar attracts some of the best musicians around (if The Libertines play Margate in 2024, it’s likely to be here).  

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to galleries (the Turner Contemporary spearheaded the regeneration, or some would say gentrification, of Margate), restaurants (book ahead), cocktail bars (bring your credit card) and stupendous sunsets (the best in all of Europe, according to Turner).