Sunday, 26 June 2016

Margate Gen-Do!! i.e. My Sister's Hen Do in Margate!


At present I have set myself up on my little patio watching our resident robin hop about around my feet and sipping coffee from my enamel espresso mug from my hen do goody bag! I am in complete disbelief that in 2 days I fly to Guernsey for my sisters wedding!! It has come around so fast and I'm still struggling to believe that the hen do is over. So much so that I'm feeling a little cheated, I think perhaps we all need to have a post wedding hen-do and go back to Margate and do it all over again!


It was my sister's wish to go to Margate for her hen do. Our grandparents live nearby so we have spent many a summer bopping about the beaches in Margate and Broadstairs, and more recently we will take any opportunity to sneak off to Margate for a weekend. We spend the whole time mooching about the vintage and junk shops in the old town, which are filled with retro treasures you'd usually end up in a fist fight over with some hipster if you found them in a shop in London! 

The people are so lovely and welcoming, and of course if you're lucky enough to visit on a warm sunny day you're greeted by glorious sandy beaches, which are perfect for a picnic and maybe a little paddle! I mean you'll obviously be greeted by the glorious sandy beaches even if its cold and raining, they don't only appear when its warm, that would be weird. A picnic and a paddle might not be the best idea though, especially the paddle part! Unless you like sitting in wet sand with rain running down your face while you try to eat your sandwiches before they get soggy... in which case knock yourself out!


Potential soggy sandwiches aside a few of us decided to make a long weekend out of it, and took Friday off work and set off for the Great British seaside!! We all checked into the Walpole Bay Hotel, if you haven't stayed here before I thoroughly recommend it! You walk into the reception and think you might have just stepped through a portal into a 1920's hotel, the best bit being the original lift installed in 1927 that has been used by guests ever since! It is a short beach side walk from Margate old town and the Turner Contemporary and has a lovely wrought iron verandah, which is where the first of us to arrive pitched up with tea and coffee!



We were really quite lucky with the weather, the night before the forecast was nonstop rain all day and then on and off all weekend, what we got couldn't have been further from that, the sun was shining, and we were even a little worried about burning!

Once the rest of our team arrived, we took a stroll along the beach, and we of course made a prosecco pitstop and toasted the bride to be! We were feeling pretty civilised until we stumbled across a photo opportunity that simply had to be taken...


We continued to meander along the seafront listening to our rumbling tummies in search of lunch, and maybe a bit more fizz! Stopping off at the old Lido Sands along the way.


It's such a shame that this has been filled in with concrete, and even more of a shame that the space now seems to be a little wasted. I would love nothing more than to see this area be turned into a communal space, it was once enjoyed by so many and it would be lovely if it could be again! 

We eventually came to our lunching spot, the Crescent Victoria Hotel, for high tea! We inhaled the sandwiches, scones and cakes, polished off two bottles of prosecco and even had a sneaky cocktail treat! And I found a sign that I desperately want! I have nowhere to put it but I just don't care!




Full up with cake and in high spirits we continued on our way into old town, getting distracted along the way...





We eventually made it to the Lifeboat, the pub my sister and I love! The staff are so friendly and they have a stack of cider boxes at the back, we can spend a very long time (and often do) trying each of the ciders before settling on the one we want, only to start all over again when we've finished it. We all pitched up in a corner at the back, Abby had created an awesome wedding quiz and was a brilliant Quiz master! We split into two teams, which seemed to be ever expanding as locals began to join in. Nothing brings strangers together like a pub quiz! You will note at this point that I have no photos... the combination of cider and competitiveness meant I forgot all about my camera... probably for the best!

As the evening drew to a close, we pointed ourselves in the direction of the hotel just in time to see the last bits of pink leave the sky and admire Margate all lit up!




We knew we would need our rest for the shenanigans we had in store for the next day, but we were also pretty keen to get back  to one of the most hilarious games I have ever played!


The aim of this game is to knock your opponents erm "weapon" off, which is attached to a harness by velcro. 



We each had a go, and I must say its trickier than it looks and I am still convinced that if you are the taller person you have an added advantage!! It was brilliant fun and I recommend it for any hen do, or girls night in!

After a good nights sleep we all head back to old town to have a nosey around the shops, almost all of which are independents run by the most lovely people, I ended up spending most of my time just chatting away to people.




Every time I go to Margate something new has opened up, this time it was the Old Kent Market, which opened a couple of months ago. 





The rest of the girls arrived and we all went for lunch at BeBeached a gorgeous little restaurant overlooking the beach located on the harbour arm. 




I lost count of how many bottles of prosecco we got through over the weekend, but if there is a shortage I think we may be to blame!

The main event for the day was Dreamland! This retro theme park has been an iconic part of Margate since the 1920's it was pretty devastating when it closed it's doors in the early 2000's. But public support and determination meant it was reopened in 2015 as a fully functional theme park, including the listed Scenic Railway roller coaster from the 1920's! It just goes to show what you can achieve when you're willing to fight for something you love!






(I was a little slack at taking dreamland photos... Too busy running around and trying to get on every ride I could!)
When we were finally theme parked out, we got our gladrags on and went out for dinner and cocktails!! We had dinner at GB Pizza, a great restaurant with fantastic pizza's and some pretty awesome toppings! It wasn't the one I ordered but blue cheese and pear was apparently really good! And as if we hadn't had enough prosecco to last us a lifetime, these guys have prosecco ON TAP! I was definitely way more excited about this than I should have been!  We spent the evening chatting about the fun we had had in Dreamland and were even treated with a fabulous sunset!




Turner was right, Margate truly does have "the loveliest skies in all Europe"!


Much like the Friday night, past this point I lost all tack of photo taking I'm afraid. 

Once we were all full of pizza we popped next door to The Glass Jar, an awesome tiny little cocktail bar reminiscent of a manhattan bar in the jazz age, I half expected to see girls in flapper dresses come round the corner and introduce Jay Gatsby... OK I'm getting a little carried away, but it was seriously cool and they do really great cocktails! (which coincidentally may be the reason I was expecting a fictional character to enter the bar...) 

Unsurprisingly we were all a little worse for wear the next morning, and after breakfast we decided to head to the Turner Contemporary for some peace a quiet before heading home, filled with excitement about seeing each other again in a mere 2 weeks for the wedding!

It was such a wonderful weekend, I didn't think I could love Margate more than I already did, but after this visit I have been trawling through my calendar figuring out a weekend to go back and run around Dreamland like a little kid and buy all the vintage treasures I can fit in my little car!

I have put links to the website of the places I have mentioned in this post below and a few others. I cannot recommend a visit to Margate enough! There are deals on train tickets all the time from London, and it's only an hour and half from London St Pancras making it perfect for a day trip if you're on a budget!! 




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