Margate is on the whole a rather depressing mixture of fading Georgian and Victorian seaside grandeur and squalid 'bedsit-land' although there are some pleasant residential suburbs. There has been a decline in the tourism industry for which Margate was famed until the 1980's when many families opted for overseas holidays as living standards rose.
The best way to make the comparisons is by bus if you do not arrive by car. There is a bus called the 'loop' which runs a circular route around the Isle of Thanet as well as Margate. Fares are cheap and the service runs every 10 minutes in each direction linking with Broadstairs and Ramsgate.
Margate is easily reached by train from London Victoria or Charing Cross in under 2 hours from either.
The seafront and clock tower area are close to Margate rail station and is a typical example of a busy but 'tacky' English seafront with a string of amusement arcades, chip shops and bingo establishments. The beach is frankly a let down but is nonetheless sandy and proves popular with Londoners who often come for day trips.
There is a link with the artist Turner and a visitor centre close to the harbour where you can examine the facts behind his links with the town.
Tucked away in one of Margate's most squalid back streets is the shell grotto, a mysterious cave decorated from floor to ceiling in shells.
There are two, yes two, bowling alleys within half a mile of each other.
Margate is famous for its stick of rock and novelty items such as printed tshirts with expression logos.
There are many pubs and clubs throughout the town but beware of rowdiness and aggressive behaviour late at night in the town centre. mole