Aerial view of the beach and white cliffs on sunny day, Margate

Things to do in Margate

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Margate is a timeless English coastal holiday location. Lying on the east Kent coast, it combines the nostalgia of a classic seaside town with 21st-century culture. This unique combination has come about through the revitalisation of the town which has taken place over the last decade.

These days, a trip to Margate involves quirky eateries and bars, museums, vintage boutiques, and intriguing art galleries. Whether you’re looking to dine on gourmet cuisine, relax on serene shores, or get the adrenaline flowing on white-knuckle rides, there are plenty of things to do in this charming town. Our wonderful Kent Coast Holiday Park is just over an hour’s drive away so there’s no reason to miss this off your Kent itinerary. We’ve compiled this list of the best things to do in Margate so you can get a feel of what’s on offer and plan your trip ahead of time!

Relax on Margate Main Sands

Relax on Margate Main Sands

Margate Main Sands is the largest beach in town and a real must-visit spot for those wanting to experience the famed English seaside in its authentic form. The beach has drawn in visitors for well over a century now thanks to its golden sandy bay and shallow tidal pool. The North Sea waters can get a little nippy should you choose to take a dip or try your hand at surfing, but there’s no better place on the Kent coast to lounge in the sun, build sandcastles and picnic on the shore.

Hunt for bargains at The Old Kent Market

Located across the Main Sands, The Old Kent Market recently opened inside a grand old cinema building dating from 1911 that previously served as a bingo hall and snooker club. It’s the place to go for fresh produce in Margate. Come to shop for fresh produce sourced from Kent farms, high quality antiques, local craft ales and freshly made sushi. You’ll also happen upon an old London bus that has been refashioned into a cafe, and a building that claims to be the smallest pub in the country!

Stroll around Margate Old Town

Stroll around Margate Old Town

Only a short walk from Main Sands, the Old Town is Margate at its most stylish and bohemian. There’s barely a chain store to be found in this little maze of cobbled streets and alleys lined with colourful Georgian and Victorian facades. Instead, you’ll find independent art galleries, an array of vintage clothes and antiques shops, and have a choice of kitsch cafes and specialty food shops, alongside old seafarers’ inns when you get hungry or thirsty. Old Town is undoubtedly one of the trendiest and most characterful quarters in the UK, making it high on our list of the top things to do in Margate.

Gaze at The Winter Gardens

From new entertainment to the old, The Winter Gardens has a long and fascinating history dating back to 1911, a full century before the opening of the Turner Contemporary. This is evident if you look at the building itself, a fantastic example of Edwardian Architecture, which has retained its charm and atmosphere. Boasting a capacity of close to 2,000 guests, you can book tickets at the Winter Gardens for your favourite comedians, plays, musicals, and everything in between.

Enjoy fish & chips by the seashore

Enjoy fish & chips by the seashore

At Margate you can enjoy playing in the sand, paddling in the sea, or having an ice cream in a scenic spot. However, your trip wouldn’t be complete without tucking into some fish and chips by the beach. We recommend Peter's Fish Factory Margate, a famous chip shop that has built up quite the reputation since its launch all the way back in 1969. The eatery has been visited by famous faces in the area, and many customers travel down from London just to try the food. This place has no pretensions, it’s just good old-fashioned fare - the mark of a true quality fish and chip supper!

Discover breaks in Kent

Kent Coast beach

Kent Coast, Kent

4 nights from £49

Discover the mysteries of the Shell Grotto

The Grade I-listed Shell Grotto is shrouded in mystery. It is an ornate subterranean passageway of shells. But who created it, when, and for what purpose? Some theories speculate that the Shell Grotto was built by Freemasons, the Knights of Templar, or even the Romans, but none of these have been confirmed, making it an unsolved mystery. 4.5 million shells are embedded in the mosaic walls of the numerous passageways, chapels and hallways of this magical, subterranean world making it a real spectacle and definitely one of the top Margate attractions.

Explore Margate Caves

If your visit to the Shell Grotto sparks a desire for more underground exploration, then head to the recently reopened Margate Caves. This former chalk mine, dating back to the 18th-century, has served many purposes – from air raid shelter to smugglers' cave to wine cellar during its storied history. These caves are home to vibrant cave paintings and host a small exhibition on its history at the ground level. Make sure to hop over to the excellent souvenir shop and the community cafe for a quick bite to eat after your visit.

Soak up the atmosphere at Margate Harbour Arm

Soak up the atmosphere at Margate Harbour Arm

The harbour wall on the east side of the Main Sand is home to a number of bars, cafes and a pub, with benches out the front so you can take in the views with a cold pint. Towards the end of the pier are a series of single storey buildings originally constructed for storing fishing equipment and since converted into artists’ studios. Following this arty theme, there’s a lively calendar of exhibitions at the Harbour Arm Gallery as well as the bronze statue of the “Shell Lady”, a scaled-up version of a figurine that is sold in Margate’s many souvenir shops. 

Take a walk in Northdown Park

If you fancy a scenic stroll inland then a trip to Northdown Park is an excellent option. Once connected to the splendid Georgian Northdown House, this dog-friendly park features pretty, landscaped gardens, biking and hiking trails, a play area, and benches to relax on. Step into nature as you amble around the scenic park and admire the beautiful plants and rock garden. The kids will also enjoy the Secret Jungle play garden which was designed for all accessibility needs.

How to get to Margate from Kent Coast holiday park

If you fancy a scenic stroll inland then a trip to Northdown Park is an excellent option. Once connected to the splendid Georgian Northdown House, this dog-friendly park features pretty, landscaped gardens, biking and hiking trails, a play area, and benches to relax on. Step into nature as you amble around the scenic park and admire the beautiful plants and rock garden. The kids will also enjoy the Secret Jungle play garden which was designed for all accessibility needs.The coastal gem of Margate is around a 58-mile drive from our excellently equipped Kent Coast Holiday Park. As a result, it will require a little time on the road to get there, but it’s well worth the drive. Here’s how to get there:

  • Heading west out of Kent Coast, take 2 right turns to get onto Avery Way

  • Get on the M2 in Kent via the Ratcliffe Highway, A228 and A289

  • Continue along the M2 and take the Thanet Way/A299

  • At St Nicholas Roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Canterbury Rd/A28

  • This will take you all the way to The Main Sands in Margate

Start planning your Great British break

Important information

Brand new holiday homes from £34,995

Holiday home price is for a new 3-bedroom ABI Horizon holiday home and includes siting, connections and standard accessories.   

Price excludes 2024 site fees, running costs and add-ons requested at point of sale. Subject to status and availability.   

As at 1 January 2024, price is available at all parks, excluding Cardigan View, Church Farm, Cala Gran, Far Grange, Kiln Park, Littlesea, Lydstep Beach, Penally Court, Perran Sands, Rockley Park, Seashore, Seaview, Skegness and Thornwick Bay. 

Images are shown for representational purposes. Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times.  

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven).  Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office:  One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.  

Pre-owned holiday homes from £19,995

Holiday home price is based on a pre-owned holiday home and includes siting, connections and standard accessories.   

Price excludes 2024 site fees, running costs and add-ons requested at point of sale.  Subject to status and availability.   

As at 1 January 2024, price is available at all parks, excluding Church Farm, Cala Gran, Cardigan View, Kiln Park, Littlesea, Lydstep Beach, Penally Court, Perran Sands, Rockley Park, Riviere Sands, Seashore, Seaview and Thornwick Bay.   

Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times. Park cannot be used as a permanent residence.  

Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven).  Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office:  One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL.  We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.  

Free 2024 site fees when you buy a Haven holiday home

Offer is applicable to new customer purchases made through Haven from 19 April 2024, completing by 31 December 2024.

Offer excludes part-exchanges or private sales. Available on new & pre-owned holiday homes at the following selected parks only: Kent Coast, Burnham-on-Sea, Cleethorpes Beach, Craig Tara, Far Grange, Golden Sands, Haggerston Castle, Hopton, Orchards, Seton Sands, Skegness and Wild Duck.

A credit equivalent to the value of your site fees due during the 2024 season will be applied to your account balance on completion of your purchase for use against your running costs e.g. utilities, after-sale add-ons e.g storage boxes or site fees. It cannot be applied to your purchase or refunded in cash.

Subject to availability and status. Deposit required. Access to your holiday home is subject to park opening times.

Offer cannot be combined with any other offer, discount, or promotion. Offer may be withdrawn or changed at any time without notice. Full site fees will be payable for subsequent years.

Images are shown for representational purposes.

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven). Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.

Let2offset - make no site fee payments until 2031

Let2offset is a contractual lettings product that offers eligible owners a guaranteed letting income at a preferential rate (calculated each year) in exchange for a stipulated number of letting breaks. It also allows eligible owners to pay their site fees and receive their letting income in 12 equal monthly instalments; the monthly site fee amount charged by Haven will be after deduction of the letting income.

‘Make no site fee payments when using Let2offset until 2031’ is available at 33 Haven parks excluding Burnham, Cardigan View, Far Grange, Garreg Wen, Lydstep Beach, Riviere Sands and Seaview.  The letting income received will vary by make, model and location. The monthly site fee payment does not include running costs e.g. utilities, rates & insurance.

“Make no site fee payments when using Let2offset until 2031” is applicable to new and existing customer purchases of new Atlas Sahara 3 Bed or equivalent or superior grade holiday home purchases made through Haven where customers have also signed up to Haven’s Let2offset contract. It is not applicable to private sales and cannot be used in conjunction with our free Site Fee promotion.  It is available across 40% of eligible Parks and applies when letting a new Atlas Sahara 3 Bed holiday home (or equivalent or superior grade for 15 weeks.

An example of how “Make no site fee payments when using Let2offset until 2031” operates under Let2offset is the purchase of an Atlas Sahara 3 Bed holiday home at Primrose Valley with a monthly site fee of £585.00 (includes purchasing discount of £45) and monthly letting income of £803.67. The monthly difference equates to £218.67, which will be credited to the owner's account. Both letting income and site fees are subject to yearly pricing reviews and the monthly site fee costs and letting income shown in the example are based on 2024 figures.

Modelled assumptions on expected annual site fee and letting income charges over the 7-year lettable life of the Atlas Sahara 3 Bed indicate that under Let2offset it is anticipated that these customers will continue to receive a monthly credit during this period, however, this is not guaranteed. The modelled assumptions are based on the historical performance of Haven over the past 5 years of trading.

Images are shown for representational purposes. Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times.

Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited (t/a Haven). Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL. We may receive commission from the finance provider if you enter into an agreement with them.

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