A couple of weeks ago my friend Shelley and I explored Margate in Kent and had a fabulous time. We were kindly given complimentary wristbands to visit Dreamland, Margate’s amusement park which dates back to 1870! It was, at one time, listed as one of the top 10 attractions in the UK.
In 2003 locals campaigned to save the much loved amusement park and £18 million was awarded to restore it to its former glory and in 2013, Thanet District Council purchased the site and work began in 2014 to restore it. There are still a few rides that weren’t open when we visited but will be opening over the summer.
Unfortunately we only had a couple of hours before our train back to London to explore Dreamland, which definitely wasn’t enough time to enjoy everything so make sure you dedicate a day when visiting. But first things first, I needed a coffee! Luckily there were food vans around the park to satisfy my need for caffeine.
We thought we’d try out something tame for our first ride of the day so we went on the Big Wheel. All was fine until we went higher and higher and then realised if you’re slightly scared of heights it’s not actually tame at all! The view of the park and the sea was great so definitely worth doing at least once. Plus, I loved the colours of the carriages – like a Pantone lovers dream.
After the thrill of The Big Wheel we went on Born Slippy, which is a giant Slide. This was hands down my favourite ride and we went three times! Choose your colour carefully because they are different – the green one makes you go really fast! Believe me, we tested it.
As well as a host of rides, there’s arcade games too. Shelley and I played air hockey (she won) and I went on the pinball machine. Such fun! There’s also a Roller Disco, which we would have LOVED to do but… not enough time (this is why you need a whole day).
Arguably the biggest draw to Dreamland is The Scenic Railway, dubbed the Queen of Dreamland. She is the oldest rollercoaster in the UK and is made from wood – she’s even survived a few fires. Normally I don’t ‘do’ rollercoasters as I’m pretty terrified of them but it didn’t look too bad when we were up on the Big Wheel. WELL… it was actually pretty scary!! But fun too. Would I do it again? Maybe…
The Gallopers – or ‘the carousel’ to oldies like me – was our next ride. If you want tame then this is the ride for you! This is definitely a ride for kids (of all ages).
And as the ride doesn’t go very fast, it’s the perfect ride to take Instagram-worthy photos.
As well as an amusement park, Dreamland also has lots of events going on, such as weekly afternoon tea dances, art exhibitions and music concerts – which can accommodate 15,000 people. Check out their Events page to see what’s coming up. Oh and you can get married at Dreamland too! Or hire it for a private event.
I’m so grateful to everyone who has played a part in ensuring that Dreamland didn’t go to the big amusement park in the sky. It’s been lovingly restored so that people of any age can enjoy this vital part of British seaside heritage and it really took me back to my childhood. Long may it live on!
We absolutely loved our 2 hours at Dreamland, which definitely wasn’t long enough. I really want to take my husband to Margate for a weekend getaway from London and we’ll absolutely be going to Dreamland. Fingers crossed the weather will be as glorious as when Shelley and I went!