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Britain’s Hippest Beach Spot – Margate, Kent

"Run-down Margate has transformed into Britain’s hippest beach holiday spot in 2024 after Sam Mendes made his recent film, Empire of Light, there. The film has put Margate and Dreamland on the map one more time."

Run-down Margate has transformed into Britain’s hippest beach holiday spot in 2024.

The old art deco amusement arcade Dreamland (pictured in both its old and new incarnations) hosts bands including Madness for outdoor concerts these days.

Back in the Eighties it began to fall apart, along with the rest of the town, but it inspired Sam Mendes to make his recent film Empire of Light there.

Starring Olivia Colman, the film has put Margate and Dreamland on the map one more time. Read The Guardian’s review here

Dreamland is Grade II listed these days. You can even pick up an Empire of Light free walking tour map to Margate. The map takes in all the charm and English eccentricity of the town: the Turner Contemporary, Margate Museum, the Shell Grotto and Margate Caves.

Tracy Emin made Margate a magnet for modern art – and The Pet Shop Boys just filmed a clip there.

Dreamland in its 1920s heyday was the place to be. Now,  it’s a music town. Status Quo have played Dreamland (as well as Madness) and The Libertines have opened The Albion Rooms nearby.

The beach is cleaned every Sunday by Margate locals who volunteer for Rise Up, Clean Up. It’s an odd place full of derelict shops and beautiful Georgian buildings, but as the locals say, it has soul.

Spectacular Turner sunsets (perfect for fish and chips) make it a visitor lure.

You can also walk from Margate to Broadstairs following in the foosteps of Turner and Dickens. The Turner and Dickens walk is about four miles and there’s an excellent free map and guide to download.

The high-speed train from London St. Pancras International is around 90 minutes and is about £55 each way.

Find out who’s playing at Dreamland here or just find out about the roller disco.

Stay at (probably) England’s coolest hotel, The Albion Rooms by booking ahead here. There is a state-of-the-art recording studio at the hotel. Even if you don’t stay, you can still enjoy a sunrise-to-sunset grand day out in Margate.


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Dreamland Margate, Neil Lang/Dreamstime
Madness/Creattive Commons
Dreamland by Francesca Grima/Unsplash

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Dreamland, Marine Terrace, Margate, UK