TIME TRAVEL IN THE MUSEUM HOTEL
Margate on the north coast of Kent is one of the classic and quintessentially English seaside towns. While much has changed, it remains as charming as ever. In the Walpole Bay Hotel, one feels like they’re in an Agatha Christie film.
In the seaside towns of Kent, which have inspired artists like William Turner and writers like Charles Dickens, there are numerous 21st-century galleries. At the top of the list is Margate’s Turner Contemporary, a significant gallery for modern art that has made waves in recent years, as it brings together traditional and avant-garde art. The northeastern corner of Kent has always been very international, and today, creative flair is more present in the air than ever. The beautiful landscapes once drew the painter Joseph Mallord William Turner to Margate, and in the gallery named after him, Turner Contemporary, outstanding historical and contemporary works are exhibited. The museum building itself is an architectural masterpiece.
But theatre enthusiasts will also find a special gem in Margate: The Royal Theatre Margate dates back to 1787, but in 1874, it underwent a renovation by none other than Jethro T. Robinson, father-in-law of the famous theatre architect Frank Matcham, who was responsible for over 200 theatres in the country until 1915. The listed building on Hawley Square was part of the planned expansion of the city and port in Georgian times and was intended for the entertainment of the upper class. That was until Jethro T. Robinson took over. He transformed the house into a Victorian theatre, shortened the stage, and added a second gallery level. A year later, the first acting school in the country was established here in Margate under the direction of Sarah Thorne. This attracted, among others, the young Edward Gordon Craig, who later became the esteemed father of modern English theatre design and one of the most significant figures in theatre, rivalling William Shakespeare in importance to Britain. Today, the Royal Theatre offers a wide range of plays, including stand-up comedy, pantomime, and pop concerts that grace its stage and fill the auditorium.
Elegant Seaside Hotel
For those who want to enjoy the diverse cultural offerings in Margate or simply savour the fresh sea breeze, the Walpole Bay Hotel is the perfect retreat. Located in Cliftonville, a coastal area slightly east of Margate’s city centre, with imposing cliffs and beaches, this hotel sits on the promenade as steadfast as if it had always been here. With a bit of distance from the city’s hustle and bustle, one can immerse themselves in a seemingly bygone era while enjoying modern and especially courteous service. Upon entering the hotel, you feel transported back a hundred years, not only due to the antique furniture or the elevator that still has a sliding lattice door. It carries the scent of furniture polish and fresh apples, the rooms are all individually furnished, and the hotel transforms into an open museum with exhibits and everyday objects from times past, evoking more than just nostalgia. The entire house is a charming unit in vintage style, appreciated by artists and celebrities like Tracey Emin and Paloma Faith. Subtle elegance and discreet restraint are part of the house’s philosophy.
ENGLISH BEER CULTURE
In the oldest brewery in Britain, Shepherd Neame, located in the heart of Faversham, you can still find historic delivery vehicles and horse-drawn wagons waiting to distribute the beer barrels. From the outside, everything may seem a bit unassuming, but that should not deter anyone from approaching the home of British beer culture. Since 1698, beer has been brewed here, and to this day, it remains in the hands of the Neame family, who maintain a family tradition and produce tasty beers. They not only offer substantial content but also stand out with unusual names. There are beer varieties like Spitfire, and Bishop’s Finger, to sample. Another creation is the “Whitstable,” a golden ale brewed exclusively from organic ingredients.