07 July 2015

Sandy seaside escape to Margate

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that Timeout had mentioned Margate as an escape from London. I did just that a couple of months ago. I was tired (shock-horror!) of my commute, the pushing, the bumping, the crowds and general routine, and wanted to escape for a bit to somewhere with a bit more space. I didn’t know I'd end up at Margate. I was looking for a place that involved a long-ish train trip, wouldn’t be expensive, and would land me somewhere fairly central so I could walk around rather than take another mode of transport.

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And so it was that Margate popped up and Margate was where I had this view while munching on fish and chips.

It just so happened that Margate was my first sandy beach experience in the UK! Take that Brighton! When I arrived the tide was out, way out. No one was swimming, it was still a bit too cold for that, and it looked like mainly a few of the locals were out and about. But it was perfect. Lots of space, chilled vibe, just what the doctor ordered.

By the way, why is it such a pleasure to walk along the beach just out of reach of the lapping waters edge? I don’t know, but for me, it was instant relaxation.

Old market square

It was definitely the 'off' season, the main strip had that quiet, shuttered up feel to it, the arcades mostly empty and the new 'retro' funpark not yet, but I could imagine it on a hot summers day, full of beach goers, sun seekers and swimmers. I walked along the beach till I reached a set of steps leading up to the old town centre which was busy with locals and just begged to be explored. You can imagine, little shops selling antiques, tea varieties, household ornaments, books and a few cute cafes.

Cute little tea shop

Just love the name of this antique shop

But Margate is not just about the seaside, arcades or funpark. Its home to a curious little site, a good 10 minutes walk from the centre of town...the Shell Grotto...

No-one knows who built it, why it was put there or anything about how it came into being. There are theories of course but not one knows for sure. The shells come from all over the world, which makes it more interesting. It piqued peoples curiosity since it was found and has been open to visitors since. If you look closely, a lot of shells have been 'signed' by visitors. I found one that was dated 1866 - now that's really old graffiti!

Back then the grotto used to be lit by gas lanterns which is why the natural shell colours don't show anymore. This pic sort of gives you an idea of what it would have looked like.

The grotto also has a small display of shell art, history and other info before you descend into the grotto. These two carved shells are just gorgeous don't you think?

So, next time you want to escape London for a day, keep Margate in mind, you're bound to come back relaxed.

What do you do to escape your 'daily grind'?


  1. This is going straight on my to do list - there is something so relaxing about water - we usually find ourselves on most holidays near the ocean or a river of some kind.

    1. Hehe, glad to hear it. There is, so true, very relaxing and calming.

  2. I've never heard of Margate but that beach looks lovely!

    1. Yay! Love it when I can introduce new things!
      It is a lovely beach, and long too. But for some reason up untill I saw it, id assumed it was going to be pebbly!