How we spent 48 hours in Margate with our son

Rowena Owen


With our busy working weeks and juggling of school term dates, a weekend away for our family is a rarity. But when we recently found ourselves a quiet weekend, we were treated to a stay at Margate Beach House. A brand-new home to Bloom Stays, Margate Beach House is a first-time holiday home for its artistic owners, who have children of their own – much like I do.

Margate Beach House is a large home on a private road, sat quietly away from the crowds of the larger sands while, amazingly, still holding clear views overlooking the beach. Each window at the front of the accommodation peers over the golden sands and over to the Turner Gallery.

It didn’t take long for us to discover the quiet sanctuary of the courtyard garden, which has been imaginatively created with curved rusted borders, a working fireplace, and a corner hot tub – complete with an outdoor hot water shower. 

The house also had a few family-friendly surprises that we loved. The artwork in the kitchen doubles up as a “net” to play table tennis on the kitchen island, with table tennis bats and balls left for guests to enjoy (what fun!). Outside, alongside fun in the tub, there was a basketball hoop and ball; my son Harvey spent ages perfecting his aim, and at only four years old we were surprised by his newfound skills.

Another lovely touch came in the form of a selection of ice creams in the freezer, accompanied by cones, flakes, and marshmallows of varying sizes in the larder. It’s perhaps of little surprise that Harvey was so delighted with this treat! We later found crabbing buckets in the hallway, so promptly set off to the local Premier shop (just a two-minute walk away) to buy some ham to entice the crabs. These lovely touches really went a long way in making our first few hours on arrival such a delight.

A few minutes’ walk out of the private gate onto the promenade, we spotted an outdoor crazy golf, which was very reasonably priced and just fab to have it so conveniently close to the house. From here, we turned right onto the promenade and discovered Margate’s amazing parade of cafés and eateries, which included a vintage red bus that had been turned into a café! Complete with a kitchen and seating upstairs, the food was delicious and adventurous – not what we expected at all. Nearby, Po’ Boy “the Creole Fish Hut” and Pork & Co next door served as our first evening supper, the latter of which being a definite winner for my husband with its shredded pork rolls and hand-cut chips.

The evening’s entertainment took us along the parade to look over the Victorian Walpole Bay, which catches the seawater even as the tide drifts away. Here we dropped the crabbing line and managed to catch a crab or two on our first few tries. However, we were in for a shock as we adventured further up the beach and had huge success catching bucketloads of them. At this end, we discovered bouncy castles, trampolines, swings and other entertainment, which were all reasonably priced and gave plenty of time for each go, leaving my son feeling very welcomed and looked after. 

We returned home to enjoy our new digs for the night, and our son immediately settled into his themed room (the green room) which featured a bodyboard on the wall and patterned curtains. We all had a lovely, restful sleep; I particularly loved hearing the sea lapping down below us. Rising bright and early, we headed back to the parade for a morning coffee and a croissant from Garage Café, which we’d eyed up the day before. 

We spent the first part of the morning exploring the Shell Grotto and its mysterious underground network of shell-walled tunnels, which was a fun but rather quick stop. We then took a short walk to the Flamingo Arcades, which were perfect for our son, who had a wicked time with plenty of 2p machines on offer. It’s a great way to pass a couple of hours if you get hit by the good old British weather!

The owner of the holiday home highly recommended Forts Café, so we headed there for lunch. We managed to bag an outside table and what a treat it was. I’m keen to return for breakfast another time, as so many of the dishes looked amazing. Since the Turner Contemporary Gallery was close by, we took a gander over and walked off our lunch, and were all amazed by the art on display.

After relaxing back at the house in the hot tub, we caught our second wind and decided to venture to Dreamland for our evening entertainment. Here, we found a roller skate park and loads of vintage-themed rides. In high season, there would also be events such as live music, however, we arrived a little too early in the year. Dreamland is free to enter, but you pay for rides as you go, and there’s also a generous amount of outdoor seating areas, music, and food, so you can take your time with it depending on energy levels. We walked there from the house, but there’s also parking on site if the 15-minute walk is too far.

On our last day, we decided to become beach worshippers and took a slower pace to fully enjoy the house, only venturing out for food. This time, our bellies led us to Beach Buoys, which is below and part of the Buoy and Oyster’s fish bar. The restaurant above the parade is one for the grown-ups with exquisite food and a seafront setting, possibly reserved for special occasions as it can be a bit pricey. The fish bar below, however, was amazing food and good value, as well as being perfect for our 4-year-old. 

We left on Sunday feeling refreshed and relaxed after visiting Margate, and we were very surprised at how easy everything was to explore on foot, from the supermarkets and cafés to the beach, with loads of entertainment in between. We also discovered that while we decided to drive and park our car by the house, we could’ve taken the train, which would have brought us into Margate just a few minutes’ walk from the house. While we’ve promised ourselves we’ll return again soon and found Margate Beach House suits families so well, I’d also love to visit with a bunch of my friends, to enjoy it for an evening when the pulse rises as the sun sets in this rather fun and bohemian town.