£10 Return Train fare from London to Margate! That was the headline that grabbed my attention when I checked an email that popped into my inbox from Southern Rail. I hadn’t been on a day-trip for a while. so I thought to myself, why not?
It was easy to book online with my debit card and with ticket collection machines at the station, I didn’t need to wait to have them posted to me. Come Saturday morning, my partner and I hopped on a bus to Kings Cross station and got our tickets, a couple of delicious Danish pastries and some drinks from one of the food outlets and got on the train.
We were blessed with lovely weather as the temperature was in the high 20’s. We passed the time on the train playing poker with me bluffing as usual. I can remember pushing all my chips in on a bluff and the passengers in the seats next to us willing my partner to call my bluff but my poker face must have been pretty good because she folded two pairs.
After about 90 minutes we arrived at Margate station. As soon as we came out of the station within one minute we were on the beach. The good weather had brought loads of people down from London and elsewhere and the beach towels and floppy hats were scattered all over.
In the distance there appeared to be this great big white building that seemed somewhat out of place amongst the ice cream parlours and shops that sold rock and candy. On inquiring what it was, I was told that it was an art gallery called the Turner Contemporary. Their website said that they showcase contemporary and historical art in new and dynamic ways. I am not exactly the first person you would go to for a conversation about art but hey, sun, sea and contemporary art in Margate? Why not I said.
It was free to enter and there was quite a wide range of artists on show. They also had a room where a group of young children were trying their hand at painting and drawing. No doubt these were the Hockneys, Hirsts and Emins of the future.
Downstairs they had a gift shop where you could buy things to help towards the running costs.
Vintage Shops & Lunch
After leaving the Turner I phoned a friend who had moved to Margate from London six months earlier and we arranged to meet for lunch in the town square. Walking there took us past parades of shops, one of which was called Madam Popoff Vintage. This shop is a gem for anyone looking fabulous vintage clothes and outfits at very reasonable prices.
I tried on a fedora, looked in the mirror and through the side of my mouth gave it that Bogart classic line “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”. That’s when my partner behind me said maybe it’s time for lunch!
Burgers & A Caramel Milkshake
We met up with my friend Natalie at the Greedy Cow in Market Place for lunch and I had a burger with the works in it and fries topped off with a salted caramel milkshake. I thought it was pretty expensive and not all that to be honest with the milkshake being the best thing. Considering the reviews this place had on Tripadvisor I was not impressed. I would have been happier finding a greasy spoon and eating there and it would have definitely been less than a third of what I paid for my meal.
A real thumbs down for me.
Just across the road in Market Street was a shop that Billy Bunter would have been proud of. Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop had all the sweets a kid could dream of.
The old favourites that I used to have in the 60’s like sherbet lemons, blackjacks, rhubarb custards, you name it, they had it. Of course I had to get my wallet out and reminisce about my childhood days while chomping the best kola cubes and liquorice all-sorts.
We spent the next four hours catching up with Natalie and Rocky her dog had been up to going from one bar to another. I swear Natalie could drink anyone under the table. Those Aussies are hardcore when it comes to their drinking.
On our way back to the train station we stopped at the Dreamland amusement park. Whoever it was that had the bright idea of going on rides like the Scenic Railway and the Big Wheel after a skin full of beer needs their head examined. I have to say though that with a day pass priced at around £20, it’s pretty good value for money.