I’ve been hearing great things about Dreamland in Margate for some time now. For the perfect vintage day out you can’t really beat this historic pleasure park, which has been keeping people entertained for over a century. Through good times and bad, Dreamland has sat beside the sea in Margate as a relic of the days of the great British seaside holiday. After a multi million pound renovation and a lot of pastel coloured paint, Dreamland has found a new heyday and I love everything about it.
The park is the perfect homage to the glory days of the seaside and the attractions date from different eras of the Park’s history. I love all the retro typography and vintage images scattered throughout the park, which remind us that this isn’t your average theme park or fairground.
Rob, the kids and I were lucky enough to be invited to Dreamland for a day, to see what this seaside attraction was all about and to write a review. Since we had a little holiday in Kent booked over Easter I decided to combine the two and I’m so glad I did.
Not only is Dreamland a great day out today, but it has been enjoyed by many generations past and has a really fascinating history.
The site that dreamland sits on was first used for rides and amusements as early as 1880 and the name Dreamland was first introduced in 1920. Towards the second half of the twentieth century the park grew in size and new rides were added over the decades. In the early 2000s the park began to fall into disrepair. In 2003 it was announced that the park would close and the site redeveloped. Although due to Dreamland’s rollercoaster The Scenic Railway being a listed structure, it could not be moved or dismantled. For many years the public campaigned to save the site and in 2013 ownership passed to the local council, after a compulsory purchase order was approved by a High Court judge. The park was then restored and reimagined and opened once more to the public in 2015.
The park now features classic fairground and theme park rides from many different eras and it makes the perfect day out for a vintage enthusiast. I love the fun mix of traditional amusements and slightly tacky theme park attractions. There are many classics from the fully restored Scenic Railway rollercoaster to a fabulous helter skelter and dodgems. The super colourful big wheel stands tall above the park, like a lovely nostalgic rainbow and although I wasn’t brave enough myself, Rob and the girls managed to enjoy the windy view from the top.
The weather was far from perfect on the day, as you can see from my pictures, it varied from bright and sunny to grey and drizzly, but it didn’t dampen our spirits at all. Dreamland is so cheerful and colourful that it kept a smile on our faces throughout. A couple of the attractions closed when the wind picked up, but soon reopened once the weather improved. I do think it would be fun to go in the height of summer in all my vintage finery, to really appreciate it though.
After going on a few rides we were all feeling a little hungry. Luckily Dreamland has a great selection of food, from traditional fish and chips to healthy option and Thai food. I opted for some cheesy chips and coffee, which were perfect for warming us up from the wind and rain. I loved the colourful umbrellas and beach chairs which looked really pretty.
On a warmer day we would have opted for ice creams from the fabulous vintage Ford ice cream van
Dreamland has something on offer for all ages, from a few faster rides to classic such as their wonderful old-fashioned carousel which Lila especially enjoyed. This particular one dates back to 1922 and was painstakingly restored by Dreamland experts.
For vintage fans, you can’t beat the Speedway. This ride was originally built in 1934 and has made its way back to dreamland after several years in the Isle of Sheppey during the 40s and 50s. I absolutely love the vintage graphics.
We had loads of fun crashing into each other on the 70s themed dodgems, they have always been one of my favourite fun fair attractions and we loved them every bit as much as the kids.
Rob took the kids onto the rainbow coloured Born Slippy slide, I’m terrified of heights so this 65 metre slide definitely wasn’t one for me. It was great fun lurking at the bottom, watching them all shoot down at top speed though!
There is absolutely loads to do at Dreamland and we were able to fill a whole day there, going on each ride at least once. A full list of rides and attractions can be found on the Dreamland website. If I wrote about them all we’d be here all day! Once we had finally worn ourselves out going on everything, we headed inside where the girls were instantly drawn to the cute little sweet shop. I loved all the traditional jars of sweets and the pastel coloured Dreamland bars are which would make great gifts for family and friends at home.
We then headed to the Roller Disco, which was slightly more successful for Rob and Jess than it was for me and Lila. In all my 30 years on the planet, I have known better than to even attempt any form of skating. I am super clumsy when it comes to these things. On this occasion I thought rather than being boring and sensible I’d give it a go. However after a few minutes falling on our bums, Lila and I gave up and watched Rob and Jess speeding round the disco, almost gracefully! It was great fun though.
Would I recommend Dreamland? Absolutely, it was one of the most fun days out I’ve had in ages. All four of us were entertained and happy and it filled the whole day. It really appealed to my vintage side without being too vintage for the rest of the family. I just can’t wait to go back on a sunny day, hopefully when one of their events is happening.
Find out more about all things Dreamland and plan your visit on the Dreamland website.
More pictures from our day…