Slides, rides and slot machines: our day trip to Dreamland in Margate

November 2, 2016

Have you ever been to Dreamland Margate, or Margate itself? If you’re looking for a colourful seaside adventure you should go; it’s brilliant.

Dreamland Margate beach huts

Since moving to Greater London nearly three years ago we’ve been meaning to explore more of our new area and local coastline but have never really got round to it. I’d heard lots about Margate – it was on Location Location Location and everything – and the revamped Dreamland Margate sounded brilliant.

So when Southeastern invited us to go on a day trip to take advantage of its 2FOR1 offer on many local attractions including Dreamland, Margate seemed like a good place to start.

We headed up there a few Saturdays ago. Armed with buckets and spades…oh and raincoats, yellow wellies and the trusty Mr Tumble umbrella (Tumbrella?) because obviously it was raining.

Puddles and Mr Tumble yellow umbrella

How did we get on? You can see more in our video of the day which is here:

But here’s everything we loved about our day out, Dreamland and Margate:

It’s the sea, but close to London: Margate is only an hour and a half from St Pancras on Southeastern’s high speed train, so you can easily get there and back from London in a day.

Southeastern Trains high speed rail link St Pancras

Train journey to Margate

Margate train station

It’s really colourful: Although it was a fairly grey day  a massive black cloud followed the train all the way from London  we loved looking at all the quirky graffiti and mural walls. And Dreamland itself.

Superman and Batman wall mural graffiti in Margate

Painted walls Margate

Dreamland Margate *insert heart eyes*: Ah, we loved it! It’s a revamped Pleasure Garden that’s been made over with a quirky vintage / retro feel. And it’s so colourful! Inside there’s a rollerdisco, arcade and soft play area:

Dreamland Margate review rollerdisco

And outside there’s the fairground with rides:

Dreamland Margate signs Helter Skelter at Dreamland Margate Lockers at Dreamland Margate

Dreamland Margate ferris wheel Dreamland Margate entrance

The Octopus’s Garden: While Dreamland is free to enter and wander around (you still need to pay for the rides), the 2FOR1 offer is valid for the Octopus’s Garden soft play area. You have to fill in an online form and download a voucher beforehand, then present this with your ticket on the day.

Dreamland Margate Octopus's Garden sign

The Octopus’s Garden combines a small traditional soft play setup – which our 4-year-old loved and I didn’t mind our nearly 2-year-old running around with her – with a mini beach, as well as small creative play areas and a cafe. It was reasonably busy on the Saturday we went but I’m told it’s often empty during the week. More of that on our video.

The Arcades: It’s good to know that the 2p slot machines never lose any appeal, even in an age with Paypal and contactless credit card payments.

Dreamland Margate review playing the 2p machines

Dreamland Margate review arcades

Arcades at Dreamland Margate

Seaside treats: Chips and ice cream, obviously.Who says rain has to stop play? We had these two seaside classics. In the rain.

Dreamland Margate review chips

Before our visit I asked on Twitter and my Facebook page for some suggestions for things to do in Margate, but as it turned out we spent most our time in Dreamland and didn’t really get round to doing much. So if you’re looking for things to do in Margate, here’s all the other suggestions:

  • Going to the shell grotto  a mysterious underground cave decorated with 4.6 million shells and no-one knows why? Can’t believe we missed this!
  • The Turner Contemporary art gallery  sad we missed this too!
  • Going rockpooling
  • Afternoon tea and finding the ‘nice cafe area’

So we’ll clearly have to go back!

Love heart, Dreamland Margate

Southeastern’s 2FOR1 offer is valid on lots of different attractions in London and across Kent including Dreamland Margate. Thanks to Southeastern for working with us on this post. More posts…tips for taking children to Bournemouth and things to do with toddlers in London (and on using London’s public transport with a pram)


  • Kathryn

    November 2, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Man I really want to visit this place -looks great xx

  • Polly Davies

    November 3, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    it looks like so much fun! it’s not far from my sisters, i think she’s been a few times with her girls

  • Slummy single mummy

    November 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I’ve never ever been to Margate! I guess that over in Somerset I’m totally the wrong side of the country. It looks like you had great fun though.

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