For Londoners and visitors alike, escaping from the big city when temperatures rise is a tempting notion. London is a city that offers nearly every imaginable activity that one can imagine doing—everything but the beach. Thankfully, the coast isn't too far. Margate is a city that's only 77 miles from London and is an edgy beach town destination popular with locals and tourists. Whether you're coming for the waves, the Victorian-era theme park, or the contemporary art museum, it's an exciting day trip for anyone who wants a break from London.
You can easily drive to Margate if you have a car, although between traffic and parking, it's almost always easier to take the train. From St Pancras Station, the train ride is only 90 minutes long and drops off passengers right in the heart of Margate, just a block away from the sand. If you can, buy tickets as far in advance as possible to get the best prices.
|Train||1 hour, 30 minutes||from $32||Easy traveling|
|Car||1 hour, 45 minutes||77 miles (124 kilometers)||Exploring the area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London to Margate?
Train tickets from London to Margate start at roughly $32 for a one-way ticket but get more expensive for high-demand times and last-minute reservations. Since Margate is primarily a summer destination, the cheapest tickets sell out especially quick for weekend trips in June, July, and August. You'll find more affordable prices if you travel on a weekday and book in advance when tickets are released—about eight to 10 weeks before the travel date. You can see the schedule and reserve your tickets directly through the National Rail website.
Tip: The least expensive advance tickets are only available on single journeys. If you're traveling to Margate and back to London, you'll save money if you book two one-way tickets instead of a roundtrip ticket.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Margate?
The train shuttles passengers directly from Central London to the Margate train station in just an hour and 30 minutes, with trains leaving about every 15 minutes throughout the day. You can choose to depart from St Pancras Station or Victoria Station in London, both of which are accessible by various lines of the Underground. The Margate Station is just a five-minute walk from the beach and the Dreamland Amusement Park, and the rest of this small seaside town is easy to explore on foot.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Renting a car and driving yourself to Margate takes about the same amount of time as the train in perfect conditions, although London traffic can delay your arrival by up to an hour. Margate is about 75 miles southeast of London off the A2 and the M2 motorway, so it's an easy drive to make a quick day trip or as a pit stop while exploring England's southern coast.
Margate is a small town and parking can be difficult on warm-weather weekends when locals flock to the beach. If you're visiting on a weekday while school is in session, paid street parking should be easy to find and isn't expensive. If you're in Margate on a weekend or during summer break, you can reserve a parking space—for a fee—at the Dreamland parking lot to avoid driving around and looking for a spot or take the train and forget the hassle of parking altogether.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Margate?
Since Margate is on the coast, summer is the most popular time to visit this seaside town. Train tickets are likely to be more expensive or even sell out in the summer months, especially on weekends. The Dreamland Amusement Park also hosts a variety of events and concerts throughout the year, so check the calendar of events to see if an upcoming activity is of interest to you.
What's the Most Scenic Route to Margate?
There aren't many route options for such a short distance, but if you're driving yourself to Margate, you pass right by the town of Canterbury, famed for its centuries-old cathedral and as the setting for "The Canterbury Tales." It's a small city that packs a lot of charm and history, and worth a visit if you're driving through the area.
What Is There to Do in Margate?
The beach is the biggest draw to Margate, especially in the summer months when families and groups of friends head out of the city to sit on the sand and soak up the sun. Right along the beach is Dreamland, an amusement park that dates back to the 19th century and is home to the oldest roller coaster in the U.K. In addition to waves and rides, the Turner Contemporary is a sleek-looking museum that showcases contemporary artists and has been a major factor in the rejuvenation of Margate. Just minutes away from the museum is a mysterious underground passage known as the Shell Grotto because the walls and ceiling are meticulously filled in with seashells. The Grotto was discovered in 1835, but to this day no one knows how long ago it was created or why it exists.