Rides line-up change at Dreamland as Dreamcatcher and Jumping Star appear listed for sale?

The Dreamcatcher ride at Dreamland

A number of Dreamland rides – including the Dreamcatcher which was named by the public in 2018 – are understood to be for sale or already sold – with park bosses saying there will be some new rides for 2022 with the full line-up to be announced in January.

Rides made by Zamperla and installed at the Margate amusement park in 2018 appear to be those listed on specialist website Interlink.

Among those rides is the Endeavour – named Dreamcatcher following a public competition- which had more than 2,900 entries. Riders are transported 60 feet through the air at 25 miles per hour. It seats 24 people, two per gondola. The ride is listed as available on the Interlink website.

Also listed as available is the Zamperla Jumping Star.

Rides already sold are understood to be the Air Race, the Pendulum, Up Up and Away and Soaring Seagulls,

Previously confirmed as sold earlier this year was the Zamperla Twister Coaster  (Pinball X)  which was relocated to Flamingo Park in Hastings.

The Pinball X ride at Dreamland

The vintage Caterpillar ride and the Brooklands Speedway are said to be in storage.

The park hosted eight rides this summer including the Waltzer, Scrambler Twist, Gallopers and The Ghost Train. Some of these are understood to have been hired in travelling funfair rides.

Seagull ride

Since reopening in May this year Dreamland has concentrated on live music events with big names such as UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro, Billy Ocean, The Specials and Kaiser Chiefs. 

A previous statement from Dreamland said: ““We treasure our vintage rides but maintaining and operating the larger ones is an expensive labour of love. The cost of certifying the rides to adhere to modern health and safety regulations as well as rehiring and training hundreds of ride operators, is one that requires significant financial commitment long, long before reopening.

“Unlike other large scale theme parks, the Dreamland estate has a very limited acreage, and does not allow guests to spread out adequately. Hosting events is the right decision for Dreamland in 2021 because capacity is easier to manage, and we can know who’s on site when.”

Ride engineering staff were among the 52 people made redundant from Dreamland last year.

Park bosses have previously said that rides including the Scenic Railway will return to operation as usual in 2022.

Asked about the sale of rides and plans for next year, a Dreamland spokesperson declined to confirm which rides had been sold or were being marketed but said: “Through the winter months we are carrying out essential maintenance works across the park and reviewing our ride line up for our reopening in 2022.

“Some rides are leaving and some will be coming, but we are not in a position just yet to announce what visitors can expect.  We will be confirming our full line up in the new year.”

Planning for 2022 already includes some large-scale performance with The Beat, Craig David, Paul Weller, Sister Sledge and others booked in.

The Dreamland website is also advertising rides as reopening in 2022,

Dreamland’s blog says: “Dreamland’s future is bright and exciting, and we have recently made significant investments in the wider Dreamland estate, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. The team is busy with major plans to raise significant funds to open up more areas in the future including the Dreamland Cinema building and the development of the seafront hotel.”

Margate Estates Dreamland hotel image

Other expansion plans include using a  £4million allocation from the Margate Town Deal fund towards the renovation and reopening the cinema building which has been empty for more than a decade. The site will be turned into an entertainment and conference centre with space allocated to community use.

The stage/production space being created for the Sam Mendes movie Photo Jamie Horton

The park is also hosting a stage/filming area for the latest Sam Mendes movie which will remain in place until June.

The Dreamland site was sold by Thanet council to park operator Sands Heritage Ltd last year for £7million – £2.3 million for the Dreamland estate and £4.7million to buy the car park area

Documents submitted to Companies House by Sands Heritage for accounts up to December 2020 say: “The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in quarter 1 2020, has had a detrimental impact across the leisure and hospitality sector throughout the 20p0 financial year. The Dreamland park operation has been no exception and a decision was made early into the pandemic not to open the Park for the 2020 season.

“The company was able to benefit from the Government furlough scheme which enabled it to maintain employment for a number of employees for as long as feasible, however, with no expectation of trading within the year, the management team progressed a full restructuring exercise to mitigate long term cost exposure. A total of 52 positions have been made redundant since January 2020 with an associated redundancy cost of £53,000. These redundancies will deliver a full year equivalent employment cost saving of approximately £1.67m.

“COVID-19 Business Rates relief and applicable Government lockdown and tier grants were also received, in line with government guidance.

Photo Frank Leppard

“Revenues for the year were £0.36M, down from £5.7M in 2019. A total of £3.585M was raised via a share issue of ordinary shares in order to fund the first part of the acquisition of the freehold of the Dreamland site and to provide working capital for ongoing operations.

“Despite the impact of COVID-19, the business strategy and goals remain focussed on long term growth, with further investment planned for the park and associated assets.

“The core park operating business is inherently seasonal and very much weather dependent. Similarly, events which are programmed outside either on the Scenic Stage or events area are open to the elements, but to a certain extent are less weather dependent due to the majority of tickets being purchased in advance. Dreamland does have optionality to move some of these events inside to our undercover venues; Hall by the Sea, Roller Room and Ballroom. Strategically, the company plans to mitigate this risk by an extensive redevelopment of its undercover areas in order to reduce the seasonality and weather risk.

“As a result of a high court ruling on 15 January 2021 relating to business interruption insurance, Sands Heritage Limited were successful in making a claim for business interruption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sands Heritage Limited received insurance proceeds of £250,000 post year end.

“Following the announcement by Arrowgrass Master Fund Limited (the ultimate controlling party) of its intention to instigate an orderly close of its fund operations, The board of Margate Estates Limited (the immediate parent company of Sands Heritage Limited) appointed an agent in March 2021 to manage the sale process for Margate Estates Limited and its subsidiary companies.”

Dreamland Photo TDC

The real estate and leisure company which owns Dreamland was put on the market, being offered for ‘acquisition’ through property specialists Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL).

It means the entire Dreamland estate, including the Dreamland car park purchased from TDC, parcels of land surrounding the site inclusive of the plot secured for a new 124-bed hotel, and the option to purchase Arlington House, multi-storey and land, was being offered as assets of the company.

The brochure issued by JLL earlier this year said: ““The subject sites provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with a catalytic resort regeneration scheme in one of Kent’s most treasured locations and to develop and grow the creative movement that currently thrives in Margate.”

Sale of Dreamland owning company means entire assets – park estate, hotel plot, car park, land – and option on Arlington on market


    • Dreamland continues to sell off the family silver.

      There were only eight rides open this year – the excuse being that social distancing across the site and rides was impossible. So few rides is hardly going to attract many visitors.

      However, with 1,000+ people crammed into the area in front of the stage for concerts there was no social distancing whatsoever. Clearly Dreamland chooses to make the rules up as it goes along.

      I remain surprised that the application for housing has still not been submitted on the ground that continued use as an amusement park is no longer viable or sustainable. National planning criteria provide for presumption in favour of housing in all but the most extreme cases. I also wonder what is happening with Margate Estates option to purchase the Arlington site lease (essential to allow access onto a new housing estate from both Eaton Road/Belgrave Road and All Saints Avenue . . .).

  1. i totally agree steve , i think your prediction will come true , but lets be honest it was hardly disneyland to begin with .

    • Indeed, although the whole thing was Mickey Mouse from when they were an hour late cutting the ribbon on day one of reopen, when it still resembled a building site.

  2. I thought Dreamland was supposed to be a vintage ride theme park. It doesn’t have it’s vintage rides anymore and the Scenic Railway is the only one left, although has been out of use. The park is no longer a family entertainment attraction to Margate. It is being turned into a music venue. It is slowly being changed bit by bit without any planning applications or public consultations on those changes. Weak TDC have handed everything over with just the one condition, not to develop for ten years. They may as well allow them to do it now for what good it is. A drain on finances (including public) for no benefit to anyone other than the company.

  3. You didn’t need to be one of Dreamland’s wonderful fortune-tellers of yesteryear to predict that this was going to happen. After all, when there are cash cows like the Margate Town Deal, why bother messing about with old amusement rides?

    • Sadly Mike you are right and I always feared this might happen as it most likely makes more money from concerts etc

  4. The vintage ride theme park such as it was and is ,has been in effect mothballed turning the place now into a music venue in an inappropriate location .The Dreamland Pr machine never that convincing In it’s spin about all the work going on behind the scenes and the supposed heavy investment by the unaccountable offshore hedge fund ( Arrowgrass )during “these exciting times “as there seems little to show for it in terms of a vintage / family entertainments venue.

  5. I live locally and last year the noise from the massive music events is unbearable , indoors with windows shut my floor and windows vibrate . When I moved into my house it was a theme park , at no time were residents asked views or objections about it being turned into a music Venu apart from a few people in Eaton road being offered free tickets . I had environmental Heath monitor the noise level at my home and they said it was illegal . But nothing happend. This summer they had 10 nights of music back to back . Before anyone pipes up it’s good for the economy, the money goes to an offshore company registered in the Cayman Islands .

  6. Georgia you are absolutely correct the noise from Dreamland music events whether an outside event or an inside event often contravenes noise legislation as admitted by noise monitors testing for noise levels during numerous events over the past year. It is small comfort to be offered free tickets to such events. Dreamland is not a suitable
    Venue for music events with out considerable investment into fitting appropriate noise reducing measures. The current measures are wholly inadequate !
    This site was a vintage rides park and not a music venue . Neither TDC nor Dreamland / Margate Estates take their responsibility to local residents seriously. They show total disregard to their welfare on a consistent basis by knowingly and will fully allowing music events to take place that breach environmental requirements , both in terms of noise levels and finishing times for advertised events.
    These events are promoted as an easy cash stream rather than developing and promoting vintage rides and employing technical staff needed to service them.
    Surely the winter Gardens is the most suitable and appropriate venue for music events in the town .
    Unfortunately being owned by an off shore unaccountable non transparent hedge fund local Margate residents are unimportant .


    • The high noise levels will all be part of the owners efforts to get further restrictions placed upon them , which in turn leads to them saying they need to make a lot of changes , in order to raise the funds to do so, they’ll ask for the 10 year development retriction to be lifted and put forward plans for the greater part of the site.
      All part of a long decided game in which i’d be convinced tdc are much entwined.

  7. Have the Three Billy Goats Gruff been walking over Steve’s bridge again? So much poison and negativity from one person!

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