Welcome to my Margate Travel Guide – your one stop for the best places to eat and drink in Margate, what to do, what to see and where to stay in this brilliant seaside town in Kent.
Margate is synonymous with nostalgic weekends by the seaside, amusement arcades and the Jolly Boys’ Outing in Only Fools and Horses. The reopening of Dreamland and an influx of independent eateries with a focus on sustainability and local produce has marked the regeneration of the beachside town, making Margate a top hotspot for a weekend staycation within a couple of hours from London. Rooftop drinks overlooking the beach, fresh seafood of the highest quality and the best sunsets in Kent – get yourself to Margate to discover it all for yourself.
2-4 Broad St, Margate CT9 1EW
I’m quite fussy on my Italian food, but Bottega Caruso’s fare is as authentic as it gets. Set up and run by Italians, make sure to book in advance to try their beautiful pasta dishes. Absolutely delicious.
8 Cliff Terrace, Margate CT9 1RU
Around the corner from the Margate seafront on Cliff Terrace as you walk towards the old Cliftonville Lido, Fort’s sits, serving a banging brunch menu and great coffee.
4-5 The Centre, Margate CT9 1JG
Modern Provider isn’t in the most obvious of places – it’s tucked away in the centre of Margate, but it’s well worth hunting down for their incredible pastries. If I’m staying overnight I like to grab some before closing for the following morning’s breakfast in bed.
Unit 6 Harbour Arm, Stone Pier, Margate CT9 1AP
I’m not sure whether it’s due to the play on words, but Margate is not short of places to grab a banging margarita, and Dive goes one step further serving theirs alongside some of the best tacos I’ve had outside of Mexico.
Peter’s Fish Factory
No visit to the seaside is complete without quality fish and chips, and the queue snaking out of Peter’s Fish Factory speaks for itself.
TOP TIP: Take your fish supper to the harbour arm and sit on the roof eating as you watch one of Margate’s famous sunsets.
21 The Parade, Margate CT9 1EX
Angela’s is one of Margate’s most popular seafood restaurants, with a daily changing menu dependent on what is caught fresh that morning. There’s a focus on sustainability both in terms of ingredients and in practice, and a preference for locally sourced produce. Be sure to book ahead.
Buoy & Oyster
44 High St, Margate CT9 1DS
A great shout for classic seafood; the oysters, calamari and prawns cannot be faulted. The seared tuna was perfectly cooked and the seafood linguine with samphire just as good as you’d hope to get at a restaurant by the sea. The chocolate brownie with sea salt caramel ice cream and affogato were the perfect accompaniment to watching the sunset over the sea from Buoy & Oyster’s balcony terrace.
7 Marine Dr, Margate CT9 1DH
Buoy and Oyster’s chippie downstairs right in front of Margate Sands. Dressed crab, panko prawns, salt & pepper squid and crab loaded fries all alongside your classics. Beach Buoys offer a big vegan menu and gluten free options too.
4-5 Market Pl, Margate CT9 1ER
Top spot in the old town for a range of brunch plates and great cocktails – especially good Bloody Marys!
24 King St, Margate CT9 1DA
New York style bagels filled with all your classics, from smoked salmon and lashings of cream cheese, dill and red onion; to the beautiful breakfast bagel with sausage, cheese and egg. Specials flesh out Sub Rosa menu – I wish you luck that you land on a salt beef day.
GB Pizza Co
14a Marine Dr, Margate CT9 1DH
Not many places in Margate are open on a Monday – how very European – but GB Pizza is one of them. Thin, crispy bases with quality ingredients sourced from local independent producers, with gluten free bases also available.
The Dalby Cafe
4-6 Dalby Rd, Cliftonville, Margate CT9 2EX
Traditional fry up legendary amongst locals, Dalby’s should be your first port of call to mop up any lingering hangovers, or to set you up for a big coastal walk.
The Bus Cafe
Royal Crescent Promenade, Margate CT9 5AJ
The name kinda gives it away, but just to confirm: yes, this cafe is based out of a red double decker bus by the beach, slinging excellent breakfast left, right and centre. All the good bits on toast, sarnies and big breakfast that are served on potato rostis on the weekends.
The Greedy Cow Cafe
3 Market Pl, Margate CT9 1ER
The Greedy Cow Cafe can be found in Margate’s old town, its mustard yellow frontage inviting you in for epic breakfasts and lovely lunches including burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, cheese toasties, nachos and salads. You can also get a remarkably cheap bottle of wine here for the price of 1.5 large glasses of plonk in that there London.
Ramsay and Williams
6 Market St, Margate CT9 1EU
Set inside a vintage shop, Ramsay and Williams also sell truly excellent ice cream. The perfect seaside pit stop on a summer’s day, and let’s face it, ice cream in the winter is entirely acceptable too.
The George & Heart House
44 King St, Margate CT9 1QE
Great pub: cosy inside and a big sunny outside space for the better days, excellent cocktails and modern pub fare.
Rose In June
49-50 Trinity Square, Margate CT9 1HT
Another top pub tucked away from the seafront with regular foodie pop ups well worth exploring.
Stone Pier, Margate CT9 1AP
Wine bar serving small plates on the Harbour Arm, Sargasso is one you need to book to avoid missing out in high season.
TOP TIP: Open on a Monday, something of a rarity in Margate!
19 Cliff Terrace, Cliftonville, Margate CT9 1RU
Without question the best cocktail bar in Margate with the most delicious and adventurous concoctions that you never know you needed. Owner Felix is the best mixologist I know, and has been making his own mad infusions for as long as I’ve known him, which is at least a decade. The tomato cosmopolitan is my favourite, but everything is excellent.
7-8 Marine Dr, Margate CT9 1DH
Often my first port of call on arrival in Margate, Little Swift do incredible margaritas and brilliant charcuterie and cheese boards to graze on. There’s also a deli and wine shop in the bar itself, so you can grab some delicious picnic foods from local independents to eat on the beach, too. Little Swift also do frozen margs to go, perfect for your beach walk or sunset hour.
TOP TIP: Buy a jar of Jamface chipotle & habanero chilli jam to take home with you – you will not regret it.
1 The Centre, Margate CT9 1JG
As if I couldn’t love Margate more, Mariachi opens: a tequila and mezcal bar. Amazing cocktails, an impressive array of tequilas and mezcal, and you can arrange tastings here too. Don’t miss it. The mezcalita is one of the best I’ve had.
The Sea Shed
52 Marine Terrace, Margate CT9 1XP
Every beach should have a beach shack serving drinks, and The Sea Shed is Margate’s offering, standing proudly in bright colours on Margate Sands.
1 Albert Terrace, Margate CT9 1UJ
LGBT bar with a terrace that overlooks the huge expanse of the beach at Margate. Regular drag entertainment and a bottle of pinot grigio on ice for a mere £15 – a fantastic pit stop in the sunshine and great entertainment by night.
The Sun Deck
Royal Cres Promenade, Westbrook, Margate CT9 5AJ
Al fresco bar by the beach with an array of different street food shacks to feed you as you go. I love Po’Boy, the Creole Fish Hut, and the loaded pulled pork fries from Pork & Co are fantastic.
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My wonderful friends renovated The Well quite a few years ago now, working their butts off for months on end to create a beautifully calm home away from home by the sea. I adore staying at The Well; total interior goals with beautiful design, floor to ceiling sash windows that open onto a balcony overlooking the sea (and the sunset!), fantastic personal touches, an honesty bar and the ridiculously comfortable bedding. The Well sleeps four in two double bedrooms; the master bedroom’s pièce de résistance being the freestanding tub by the window that overlooks the ocean. I can’t rave about this place enough. Dogs are welcome too!
No 42 by Guest House
Margate’s newest hotel offering has beautifully designed rooms, some of them boasting balconies overlooking the expanse of Margate’s beach and the sea beyond. No 42 is high on my list to stay at on a future trip, not least because of their pantry full of sweet and savoury snacks you can help yourself to, any time, day or night. And dogs are welcome! Book here (aff link).
TOP TIP: If you don’t stay there, you can still check out their lounge bar, rooftop bar or their restaurant, Pearly Cow. Make a booking to avoid disappointment.
Selina offer a range of simple yet stylish private and dorm rooms on a global scale, and now they’re in Margate! If you’re in a large group, hiring out one of the dorm rooms would be a great shout. Book here (aff link).
A collection of four different apartments, a couple with sweeping sea views and a couple without but instead so bright, cool and eclectically designed you’ll find it hard to leave. I’m kind of desperate to stay in The Courtyard Suite so I can say I’ve slept in a bed designed like a shell. Book here (aff link).
THINGS TO DO
No trip to Margate is complete without a visit to Dreamland, where it’s all too easy to act like a big kid in this brightly coloured amusement park full of rides and fun. Rollercoasters, a roller room, dodgems – Dreamland has it all and is a must to complete a nostalgic weekend by the British seaside.
TOP TIP: Keep an eye out on Dreamland’s summer line up – they put on a brilliant series of concerts and gigs in a huge range of music genres!
Margate is home to the Turner Contemporary art gallery, opened as a part of the regeneration of the seaside town. Worth a look even if you’re not hugely into art, the building overlooks the sea by the Harbour Arm and entry is free.
Antony Gormley Another Time Statue
One of Gormley’s famous statues can be found at Margate, just below the Turner Contemporary. The tide changes dramatically so you may see just his head poking out, or standing proudly looking out to sea depending on the time of day.
The Shell Grotto is a subterranean passageway, the walls and dome of which are covered entirely in beautiful mosaics made from shells. It was discovered in 1835 but no one really knows what its purpose was or why it was built, though there are plenty of theories to keep people entertained.
If you’ve got time and weather on your side, doing a coastal walk from Margate is a fantastic way to spend the day. The walk to Ramsgate is 8 miles long and takes in the beautiful Botany Bay along the way, and the walk in the other direction to the ruined Reculver Towers is 9 miles. Option to carry on from Reculver to Herne Bay if you’ve got another 3 miles or so in you.
TOP TIP: The walk to Ramsgate will be preferable for many given the chance to explore another great seaside town at the end, as well as hop on the train back to Margate (assuming it’s running!) Grab a cab back from Reculver unless you fancy an 18 mile walk instead.
No trip to the British seaside is complete without spending time trying to win a silly prize and change a 2p coin into more 2p coins in an arcade.
I’m a total wimp when it comes to water temperature below around 27 degrees, but if you’re not you should absolutely take a dip in Margate’s tidal pool. It’s cool to see whether the tide is in or out – and there’s another, bigger one if you walk down to Walpole Bay, too.
Old Kent Market
Once an old cinema, the Old Kent Market is a beautifully fronted building that’s home to an indoor market of various different street food vendors and quirky shops to look around.
To me the simplest things are the best, and in Margate that means grabbing a chippie and a bottle of wine and sitting atop the roof of the Harbour Arm, watching the sun set over the sea. Margate throws out some truly stunning sunsets, and is home to the best one I have ever seen. Magic.
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