The legend on the map instructs you breezily to ‘Enjoy Margate’; the urban grime of graffiti on the doors suggests you might want to do so warily. Really there is much to enjoy: the beach, Dreamland, the Turner Contemporary and the Old Town cautiously reinventing itself with cafes, galleries and quirky shops. The High Street looks like a case study in the decline of town centre shopping (the opening of the Westwood Cross out-of-town shopping centre in 2005 can’t have helped), and Marine Terrace has a tackiness not quite relieved by any of the kiss-me-quick jollity of a more prosperous past, however, the view across the bay at sunset puts all that into perspective.
And enjoy it eating fish and chips on the Margate Steps (more properly the Margate Flood & Coastal Protection Scheme). Except that you will want to keep a wary eye on the gathering of hooligan herring gulls that wait, not for the occasional dropped chip but to pounce and snatch all your cod and fries in a squawking flurry of wings. Harry tells these are immature birds that the parents have stopped feeding and are now looking for an easy meal. More knowing visitors sit back from the Steps and sneak their chips out of the box one at a time.
Photos: 1. Margate Old Town, October 2018; 2. The Parade, Margate, October 2018