Margate’s renaissance has been well documented in recent years. Shoreditch-by-sea, as it’s begrudgingly called, has been given new life by an ever-growing community of artists, hipsters and hangers-on fed up with the capital’s prohibitive prices.
The result is a city with a bursting creative spirit, destination restaurants and a variety of fun activities. The sandy beaches are also clean and beautiful.
Throngs of weekenders now arrive on the express train in search of Instagrammable memories by the sea. Slowly, Margate has responded with a number of boutique hotels to accommodate them. While the selection remains small, the options are packed with character. Here are our favourites.
The best hotels in Margate are:
Margate’s rock ‘n’ roll hotel. You wouldn’t expect anything less from indie rockers The Libertines, would you? Pete Doherty and his gang opened The Albion Rooms shortly after lockdown with the best of intentions: to create an affordable boutique hotel that nurtures and celebrates music. And they keep their word. There’s a recording studio at the back, and the underground bar – a paean to crusty Camden chic – regularly hosts decent bands, poets and other artists on the small steps stage. The individually designed rooms are full of decadent, gothic drama; so is the restaurant, whose kitchens are serious about quality food, made from Kentish ingredients.
Price: Doubles from £125, B&B
Down the road from The Albion Rooms is another proposition: the Walpole Bay Hotel is Margate’s last grande-dame hotel. Its creaky old-world charm – Grand Budapest meets Mr Fawlty – has been untouched by progress and is lovingly maintained by its vivacious owner, Jane Bishop. She’s only too happy to regale you with tales of yesteryear, some of which include her star patrons: Tracey Emin is a big fan. Enjoy silver-plated high tea in the dining room or on the flower-filled terrace, then head to the stunning Walpole Bay tidal pool for a relaxing dip. The rooms channel the same Edwardian charm, and the views out to sea are Turner-worthy.
Price: Doubles from £85, B&B
Neighborhood: Hawley Square
This charming Grade II listed Georgian town house in leafy Hawley Square is a place you might find in a Farrow & Ball brochure. Pairing grandeur with a hint of shabby chic – think chandeliers, parquet floors and muted tones – makes for a tranquil experience in this two-bedroom beauty. Floor-to-ceiling windows beg for Bridgerton-style Instagram photos, especially because they make rooms feel so light and bright. But it’s the bathrooms we like best: big enough for a couple of roll-top bathtubs, which you can scent with quality bath oil from REN before wrapping yourself in the softest towels. An à la carte breakfast is served in your bedroom; the full English is hard to beat, which is saying something in foodie Margate.
Price: Double from £225, room only (minimum two night stay)
Neighborhood: near Margate Beach
We have another elegant Georgian chassis in The Pink House, but here you can enjoy more of a classic B&B atmosphere (and service) – and a better view. A stunning seaside spectacle shows the harbour, Dreamland theme park neon lights and the decaying grandeur of the former Nayland Rock Hotel. Husband-and-wife owners, Wood-Powers, have done a great job restoring what was once a “five-story drug den.” Now you’ll find a pleasant mix of vintage styles – from Victorian bathrooms to mid-century Danish furniture – that give the place a fun, homey feel. Breakfast comes with the goods of Margate’s best baker and being about 30 seconds from the train station means you don’t have to drive.
Price: Doubles from £185, B&B
There are nods to Margate’s great heritage throughout the Victoria Hotel. And outside too: it’s directly opposite The Winter Gardens, the city’s biggest – and for many, best – live music venue. It is also approximately 50 meters from the seafront. Nearby you’ll find a number of fun bars (open until late), restaurants and a pool/snooker hall dripping with teenage nostalgia. The hotel’s restaurant is run by the same team behind the popular Bow’s Kitchen in the Old Town, and serves mouth-watering Thai dishes. There’s a permanent tent out back to protect you from the elements, or you can dine in your high-ceilinged bedroom, looking out onto the big blue.
Price: Doubles from £80, B&B
Neighborhood: Old Town
Don’t be put off by George & Heart’s pub-with-rooms brand. The six magnificently designed rooms all have their own character; the standout is Poodle & Blonde, designed by Changing Rooms presenter Whinnie Williams. Expect 70s chic with warm tones and hand-designed wallpaper. Downstairs, this former Indian restaurant is now an open late DFL – ‘down from London’ – hub with great cocktails, a high-quality food menu and pounding tunes (on the busier nights). In the more elegant months, the Ibiza-style terrace pops up with DJ sets and there’s street food from Dreamland’s ex-chef Jim Thomlinson. Perfect for your party people.
Price: Doubles from £110, B&B
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