20 reasons why Thanet is fantastic that only locals would know (probably)

Photo Jamie Horton

We know Turner Contemporary, Dreamland, sunsets and more make the isle special but there are so many other gems in Thanet that you probably wouldn’t know about unless you were a local.

So let’s, just for a little while, forget about our hung council, the Pleasurama eyesore and the sad decay of the Arlington shopping arcade, and concentrate on those special isle places, projects and businesses.

We chose 5 great things for each town and another 5 for the isle as a whole. We know there are loads more but let’s kick off with these:

Margate

Margate Caves rejuvenation – the caves in Northdown Road have been closed since 2004 but thanks to a massive community effort and the work of the Margate Caves  Education Community Trust this truly interesting site – and new community facilities – will be reopened in 2019

Maurice Morris – there’s only one Maurice Morris, what more can we say?!

Madam Popoff – there are vintage clothes shops and then there is Madam Popoff, run by former London College of Fashion student Deborah Ellis. Flapper dress? No problem. Grunge? Yes, that’s here too. In fact you can get kitted out in virtually any style from the 20s to the 90s at this Old Town store but make sure you pay – there is a ferocious pug dog on the security team!

A+C Animation – if you thought global business only worked out of London then A+C is just one example to disprove that theory. The animation experts are based in the historic laundry building in Margate’s St John’s Road. They have created an array of fantastic animations for big brands such as Robinsons, Lego, The Happy Egg Co, Samsung and the Super Bowl as well as an amazing animated film based on Margate’s harbour arm.

Bus café – there are amazing food and drink businesses springing up across the isle but you’ve got to love the bus café because, well, it’s a bus! Hop aboard ‘Rosie’ the bus, along from the Nayland Rock, for delicious vegan treats, barbecue specials and a taste of South African street food.

Ramsgate

Ellington Park – it’s not just a plain old park. There are brilliant carved wood models of dogs and other animals (even if the vandals do keep targeting them) a wildlife area, bandstand and more events than you can count on your fingers.

Ramsgate Blitz walks – dedicated volunteers will take you back in time to Ramsgate during the war years and share stories of life and community in those dark days.

Photo Brian Whitehead

Westcliff Rose Garden – you might never know this gorgeous garden was tucked away

The rose garden in Royal Esplanade was restored more than a decade ago by the Westcliff Conservation and Community Trust, which organised the replanting of the site.

It had been created in 1926 when the Westcliff was developed as a recreation area.

Ramsgate Music Hall – voted NME best small venue in 2015 this 140-capacity club in Turner Street brings a constant stream of eclectic, world-class performers to the town.

Photo Brian Whitehead

Ramsgate Arches – a vibrant array of businesses now inhabit the arches on Military Road. Visitors can nose around for maritime curios, get breakfast at Ship Shape café, have food and drinks at the venues including the Greek Arch, Coco Latino and The Arch Bar or check out art and photography, all while overlooking the harbour.

Broadstairs

Town Shed – you’ve got to love the Town Shed where older people, (over 55)  can get together, and participate in meaningful and rewarding DIY/woodwork based activities.

Photo Andrew Butler

Mosaic (and blue plaque) to Oliver Postgate – Thanet has a plethora of blue plaques commemorating the many famous – and some not so famous – residents of our isle but the one to Clangers and Bagpuss creator Oliver Postgate, in Chandos Road, is just a little bit special because of the gorgeous mosaic beneath it.

Photo Dean Spinks

Old Wonky – what a super building The Old Look Out aka ‘Old Wonky’ in Viking bay is, especially after an overhaul of new planking and stairs in June.

Punch and Judy at Viking Bay – It’s a tradition to subject the youngsters to Punch bashing everyone in sight especially poor wife Judy. It’s not politically correct but think how many thousands of children have laughed as they watch the show in the little booth

Sarah Thorne Theatre – a small scale theatre at the Hilderstone with a big-scale range of productions throughout the year.

Thanet

Escape Rooms – the craze sweeping the UK has found spots in Cliftonville with The Escapement and at Ramsgate’s Real Life Rooms. Use your brain cells and be entertained by giving them a try.

Transmission in Northdown Road

Vinyl – Remember LPs and singles on an actual record player? Well, you can still get them (and it’s cool) at the Vinyl café in Addington Street, Ramsgate and Transmission in Northdown Road, Cliftonville

Independent restaurants, bars and shops – So many, Mala Kaffe, Chalk, GB Pizza, The Four Candles, 39 Steps, Ambrette, CCCP, Nautic Ales, The Great Tree, Stark, Wyatt & Jones, Cliffs, Brooklyn Bar and Diner, The Empire Room…the list is endless

Photo Mark Stanford

19 miles of coastline – yes, we all know this but having so many beaches and bays is pretty cool and you might even spot seals if you venture on one of the organised trips from Ramsgate harbour

Photo Thanet Hidden History (2015)

Tunnels – from the publicly accessible Ramsgate Tunnels to the wartime network throughout the isle, including the ones that made Primark subside and the sealed HMS Fervent tunnels at Pleasurama, which were used as air raid shelters and ammunition stores for two large naval guns. The HMS Fervent base is part of the UK’s largest network of war time shelters and tunnels, which gave refuge to over 1,000 people during the war.

4 Comments

  1. I left Thanet aged 16, i’ve been back a few times to see relatives . I now find the place inundated with motor vehicles, the roads to narrow to cope, Westwood Cross is a good example, why didn’t the council in their infinite wisdom allow developers to build such a complex without widening the roads; And as for parking is Thanet trying to drive tourists away by the extremely high cost of parking. I have been thinking of moving back but the cost of houses and local rates are a big put off.

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