January 8th, 2020. The first month of the year: you’re done with Christmas and can’t wait to be back in a routine… until day 2. The novelty of going back to work has worn off and you remember what it feels like to be genuinely busy. So, we decided to take an early break to the British Coast. Welcome to Margate.
Besides its sandy beach and white cliffs, Margate is well known for amusements and quirky personality. Full of life, the coastline features a variety of galleries including the Turner Gallery; showcasing a diversity of work including JMW Turner and local artist Tracey Emin.
NOTE: The train station is often short of taxis, but when one arrives- jump in! We struck lucky with a friendly driver who gave us a guided tour of the town with an insight into Margate past and present- from the flood of 1953 to the cheapest place for a drink. Thanks, Adem.
So, let’s talk transport. Coming from London you can jump on the train from St Pancras at 27 minutes past the hour. Trains run every 20 minutes or so, so don’t worry too much. But be warned, there’s a high-speed train that’ll cost a bit extra and if your ticket says via Herne Bay it’s not valid. Just a heads up, from us.
Navigating the station is straight forward, and you’ll more than likely be greeted with the sound of seagulls and a slightly fresher air than the city. Even if it is diluted with the smell of something more…green. At least it’s natural.
Where to relax
Be sure to hit up Botany Bay for a natural aesthetic and peaceful atmosphere. The white cliffs look incredible and make for a great backdrop if you wanted to get your snaps in before, hopefully, enjoying the peace and quiet. If you fancy a dip in the sea the tide times (for January) change from low tide just before 9am and high tide just after 3pm. Take note to avoid chasing the sea for miles just to get your ankles wet.
Where to eat
We opted to work our way back from Botany Bay, so we visited The Great British Pizza Company for a bite to eat. As you may have guessed, they do great pizza. A variety of options include your usual go-to’s, but they’ve got an amazing specials board including Meat Feat and veggie options- the wild Mushroom, thyme, mozzarella, truffle oil and ricotta base is a winner.
Pizzas are prepared fresh and cooked in a clay oven, crafted by some incredibly friendly staff who are happy to keep your bags behind the counter should you need, and serve food both quickly and with a smile. They may even give you half price pizza if it’s Wednesday at 4:30pm, or perhaps we got lucky.
We asked the team what they thought of the food, and the results were good. Alfie gave GB pizza an 9.5/10- claiming the crust was maybe just ‘the nicest he’s ever tasted’ and if there was one in London, he’d go there every night. Maybe not the best idea Alfie, but the food’s great.
Where to drink
Back towards the station, about a 3-minute walk away is Cinque Ports, a faux trophy-room-themed bar and restaurant with a variety of both food and drinks. We headed there- for just the one- and can recommend giving their guest beers a try. Ironically, Cinque Ports was the beer on rotation, and it didn’t disappoint. If you’re into Czech lager then give it a try. You’re welcome.
Besides Cinque Ports, try visiting The George and Heart, a busy pub with good music about 15 minutes from the station.
All things considered, Margate is a town full of energy and character. With friendly locals (to our knowledge) and a range of things to do, it’s a great breakaway from city life. There’s an authenticity to the town that emphasises its great British character and for that- we salute you, Margate.