Described as the heartbeat of Margate, Dreamland was one of the UK’s best-loved amusement parks and at one time listed within the UK’s top ten visitor attractions. Comprising 16-acres, the park included a zoo, miniature railway, 2200- seat purpose built Cinema, cafés, restaurants, bars, retail and a 2000-capacity ballroom playing host to The Who, The Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Hawkwind to name but a few...
Considered to be the oldest-surviving amusement park in Great Britain, the site of Dreamland (as it was re-named in 1920) dates back to the British railway boom of the early 1860s when, in its original form, the ‘Hall by the Sea’ was operated by the famous circus impresario, ‘Lord’ George Sanger.
Fast forward to 2003, when a plan to close the park and build housing on the site triggered a 'Save Dreamland' campaign by locals and amusement park enthusiasts, whose successful campaigning led to securing £18m public funding to restore Dreamland and its jewels: the Grade II*-listed Scenic Railway, Grade II*-listed cinema complex and Grade II-listed menagerie cages.
In a bold move, Thanet District Council compulsorily-purchased the site in September 2013 and work began in 2014 to restore the iconic Scenic Railway, as well as breathing new life into the lower ground floor of the cinema building, with sympathetic landscaping, exciting design and contemporary branding.
In saving Dreamland, the local community and Thanet District Council managed something truly remarkable. Their hard work and determination has enabled generations to come, the ablility to enjoy this vital aspect of British seaside heritage, that without them would have been lost forever.
Capitalising on Margate’s swiftly growing reputation as a brand new capital of British cool, Dreamland Margate will reopen with a wealth of new and rejuvenated features set to redefine ‘a day out at the seaside’.
The amusement park is being re-landscaped to provide a space that brings together lovingly restored vintage rides set against a backdrop of art installations (including an interactive marble run and a mirrored spinning top), adventurous street food, unique bars and an eclectic programme of live events. A new garden boardwalk will also give everyone the opportunity to admire the antique menagerie cages from the 1800s, capturing part of the site’s unique history.
The ride line-up will feature some old favourites alongside some new additions including: the Brooklands Speedway, the Wedgwood Tea Cups and the Crazy Mouse. The Waltzer has been painstakingly restored to its former 1940s glory and our new Teddy and Betty Land, an area designed for your little funsters, features Betty’s Beehive Coaster.
Our 15,000 capacity event space will be ready to welcome international and homegrown acts to Dreamland, which firmly sees us put Margate back on the music venue map. This is alongside the legendary 2,000 capacity Hall By The Sea, that once famously played host to The Rolling Stones and The Who.
On the seafront, the original 1930s Cinque Ports pub is being brought back to life, offering modern pub fare with a front row view of the beach. This summer will also see the addition of Margate’s only rooftop bar offering unparalleled vistas over the iconic ‘JMW Turner’ skyline.
The reimagining of the famed destination is a key stage to play a major role in the on-going transformation of Margate’s thriving seafront district into a world-class attraction for both local residents and tourists.