Great British Boltholes: The Crescent Victoria, Margate, Kent

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • With its modern art gallery, classic seaside pleasures and a vintage amusement park opening soon, it's time to make for Margate

    With its modern art gallery, classic seaside pleasures and a vintage amusement park opening soon, it’s time to make for Margate

    Why go: On the east Kent coast, Margate considers itself ‘the original seaside’. It was one of the first sea-bathing resorts in England with a purpose-built pool as early as 1736. The town’s Theatre Royal ( was established in 1786 and in the 1890s it was the first place to offer visitors donkey rides and deckchairs. This traditional side is paired with a modern revival exemplified by its flagship art museum, Turner Contemporary, a good stock of vintage shops, and Dreamland (, a classic amusement park that started life in the 1920s and will re-open on 19 June. In the old days most visitors travelled here by boat (as shown in the film Mr Turner, about the artist JMW Turner’s time here) – now you can whizz in on the high speed HS1 train, which takes 80 minutes from London’s Liverpool Street Station (

    Oh do we like to be beside the seaside: the Stone Pier at Margate ©

    Best for: Some sea air, shopping, dancing, rollercoaster thrills, a spot of culture, a dirty weekend…

    The look: Opened in June 2014, The Crescent Victoria sits in a terraced row close to the seafront, well-placed for exploring the town. The four-star hotel has 14 rooms with those classed as deluxe seaview, at the top, the largest. All have showers only and while the décor is a bit blingy (expect plenty of silver, grey and white, with mirrors galore) there is a fresh and fun feel to the place with chirpy staff keen to make sure you have a good time. There’s a courtyard at the back that’s handy when the weather’s cooperating, and a basement restaurant where breakfast, drinks and other meals are served.

    Nifty shades of grey: a bedroom at The Crescent Victoria

    I’m hungry: The Crescent Victoria has a small restaurant open to both locals and hotel guests. Brightly lit with bare tables, a wooden floor and art by local girl Tracey Emin it serves comforting fare such as fish and chips (£11) and sticky toffee pudding. Other places to consider are the cafe-restaurant at Turner Contemporary ( which opens in the evening on Friday and Saturday and serves dishes such as smoked haddock chowder and Kentish fruit crumble, and The Ambrette Margate ( which has a local, seasonal menu with an Indian twist.

    While you’re there: Pick up a town map and information on the Margate heritage trail at the Visitor Information Centre (01843 577577) on Stone Pier. The Old Town is worth a potter but be aware that many of its vintage shops don’t get going till 11am – some places worth seeking out are Danish Collectables (, which imports mid-century Danish furniture, Haeckels (, an eccentric store that creates bath, beauty and skincare products from seaweed and other coastal finds, and Rat Race (34-36 High St) for retro clothing. The free-entry Turner Contemporary (closed Monday, is the town’s star attraction with exhibitions that include Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk (from 23 May). Wayne Hemingway is part of the design team behind the re-born Dreamland Margate ( with vintage rides and amusements that include dodgems, a Big Wheel, a roller disco and the UK’s oldest rollercoaster.

    Essential viewing: The Walthamstow Tapestry (detail) by Grayson Perry © Grayson Perry courtesy of Turner Contemporary

    If the sun’s out hit the beach and seawater bathing pool at Cliftonville, and if you want a walk you can head along to Broadstairs, or get cycling on the Viking Coastal Trail ( Dance fans should make for Morgan’s Dance Hall (, where you can get a rockabilly jive lesson for £5; ale-lovers will enjoy The Lifeboat pub ( and it’s worth seeing what’s on music-wise at the Black Cat (4 Fort Hill).

    Dress code: Easygoing – some hotel guests are in party mode, others keep it casual.
    Book now:
    The Crescent Victoria, 25-26 Fort Crescent, Margate, Kent CT9 1HX (01843 230375; Double rooms cost from £67.50 for two with breakfast, minimum stay two nights at weekends. Wifi is complimentary. The hotel is a 15 minute walk or five minute cab ride (£3.50) from Margate rail station.

    Info: Kent, Sussex and Surrey (£12.99; Rough Guides) is a comprehensive guide. Useful websites are and

    lead image: © John Hutchinson Collection courtesy of Dreamland Trust
    thumbnail: © Hemingway Branding


    Reading now