Places to Visit
There is so much to do and see in Thanet that you will always find something to interest to you, your family, friends and visitors whether it’s winter or summer.
Turner Contemporary Art Gallery
This fantastic new gallery is a real landmark in Margate and it has put the town on the world’s modern art map. From Turner’s famous seascapes to local artist Tracey Emin’s more modernist artwork – there is something for everyone to enjoy. Regular workshops and family activities provide the opportunity for everyone in the area to be included in these regular events.
Dreamland Amusement Park
Margate now echos with the sounds, and screams of delight and wonder, as visitors old and young enjoy the Great British seaside amusement experience.
Dreamland has been reimagined, ready to welcome a new generation of fun-seeking visitors to an ‘old fashioned, yet oh-so-fashionable world of thrills, amusements and good times.
Dreamland with the excitement of the completely restored scenic railway, one of the oldest wooden listed roller coasters and a fantastic roller disco.
A truly strange experience is a visit to the Shell Grotto in Grotto Hill, Margate. An underground collection of small interconnecting passageways completely decorated in shells. How it came into being is a complete mystery – but it is certainly a one off.
On the outskirts of Birchington is the stunning mansion and grounds owned by the Powell-Cotton family. The adventurous Victorian, Major Powell-Cotton, travelled all over Africa and returned with a veritable booty of ‘souvenirs’. These included a wide variety of African wild animals – from elephants to lions - that have been recreated into fantastic and unique dioramas and displays within the Powell-Cotton museum. There are also a myriad of African artefacts, weapons and porcelain exhibits, while the interior décor and furnishings of the Regency house is also a magnificent sight.
Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum
For anyone interested in Britain’s military aviation history and the role the RAF played, should spend time at the two museums beside Manston airport. Manston started its aviation days as a Royal Naval Station in 1916 with a base at Westgate Bay for seaplanes and was considerably enhanced over the years through to WWII. The longest and widest runway in Southern England was built to provide badly damaged aircraft returning from sorties in Europe to find a safe haven near the coast, using the Fido fog dispersal system allowing landings in all weathers. Nowadays Manston is primarily a commercial airport for freight and passengers but Spitfires, Hurricanes, old helicopters and WWI aircraft and vehicles can all be found in the museums as well as a XZ1016 Jaguar GR3A and a Gloucester Meteor.
Hornby Visitor Centre
In the world famous Hornby factory at Westwood, you will find a delightful Visitor Centre where you can hark back to the days of your first Hornby 00 train set or marvel at the latest Scalextric cars and racetracks. Kids will be inspired by the interactive facilities and enjoy competing against each other with the supercars or just enjoy looking at all the various models of trains, cars and aeroplanes.
Dickens House Museum
Charles Dickens used to visit Broadstairs every summer as it was his favourite holiday spot. In his time the house that incorporates the Dickens museum was owned by Mary Pearson Strong – she was the inspiration for the wonderful character of Betsy Trotwood in David Copperfield. You will find plenty of Dickens memorabilia and fascinating information about this amazing man.
Now a very chic boutique hotel, the impressive Bleak House was a favourite holiday home for Dickens and its name was changed from Fort House to Bleak House in honour of the author. From the smuggler’s dungeons to the room where he wrote much of David Copperfield, there is plenty to see.
This impressive flint covered edifice at the top of Broadstairs High Street was constructed as a water tower by the eminent Victorian railway engineer, who came from the town. Here there is a wonderful selection of working model railways for enthusiasts and amateurs alike.
St Peter’s Village Tours
For something a little different, see St Peter’s through the eyes of the ‘Victorians’. Regular tours are arranged with costumed guides and entertaining vignettes of the village’s history. St Peter’s was originally much larger that Broadstairs and has a wonderfully impressive Norman church to prove it – with a graveyard full of history.
Ramsgate is very proud of its maritime background and its status as the only Royal Harbour in the country. An accolade bestowed on the town by George IV because he was so impressed with the hospitality he received from the citizens. The town also has its very own Meridian Line – five minutes and 41 seconds ahead of GMT. You will find this in the museum that also includes interesting information and exhibits about the town’s heritage of shipbuilding, fishing and shipwrecks.
Pugin’s home – The Grange
If you are into Victorian Gothic revivalism, take a look at Augustus Pugin’s amazing house in Ramsgate. He designed much of the Houses of Parliament and you can see the style reflected in his home – not to mention St Augustine’s – the church next door that he also created. The Pugin’s Trail allows you to wander round Ramsgate looking at a variety of buildings created by Augustus and his sons.