Dreamland Margate: The Frosted Fairground

Dreamland timeline

You may have heard whispers of Dreamland this summer, a colourful fun fair in Margate, Kent that has thrilled families since the 1920’s. We had heard both good and bad opinions and so when Dreamland invited us down to try out the Frosted Fairground for ourselves we jumped at the chance as it’s only by seeing something yourself can you make your own mind up.

Dreamland has had it’s ups and downs since opening its doors in the 1920’s, it’s gone through good periods and bad, one of which led to it’s closure and consequently a Save Dreamland campaign for those who still believed in the fun fair’s future. In fact if you ask anyone have they been to Margate they will automatically mention Dreamland.

I can remember going as a child, I remember the steep slope down to the entrance, I remember the bumpy slide and the long walk up to the top for my second bumpy ride down. I can also remember the Scenic Railway rollercoaster and holding my breath as the train hurtled over the wooden bumps and down to the ground again.

I discovered the Scenic Railway had been awarded a Grade II listing in March 2002 and further intrigued to discover that the Dreamland Trust’s vision was to focus on the historic rides that have thrilled families for decades.

Dreamland - view from the big wheel

The Frosted Fairground

Our day started shortly after 10am having parked the car right next to the funfair (Car Park: £4.00 for 24 hours) and made our way into the main building to meet the Dreamland crew. We were given wristbands that allowed us on all the rides and an important appointment to meet Santa and his Elves in the Hornby Hobby workshop at 4pm.

It was cold but we were wrapped up warm and prepared as we could be for a day out in the frosted fairground. Our first chosen ride was the Big Wheel, each seat spins up 35 metres and from the top you have a marvellous view over Margate beach. The Big wheel is pretty central to the park and so you have a great view of the entire park from the top.

Dreamland food court

We tried the Gallopers carousel, the Hurricane Jets, the Cyclone Twist, the Dodgems and of course the bumpy slide ‘Born Slippy’

A trip on Monotopia was good exercise and we loved the Maze hall of mirrors.

The Scenic Railway was a lot of fun as you can see below. It is an amazing structure and the small booth by it sells pieces of reclaimed wood made into clocks and cubes.

As you can imagine the girls went on every single ride they were allowed to and sometimes two or three times, it was whilst waiting for them on the Jumping Pirate Boats that I found this little gem …

If there is one thing I can assure you, you will not get bored, there is a roller skating rink, a fabulous amusement arcade, plus as you walk around the fairground there are lots of pop up acts, I watched Aladdin and Cinderella pop ups, I saw dancers and singers on the bandstand and of course we visited Santa and his elf workshop before leaving.

For all of the rides at The Frosted Fairground you will need tokens which can be bought at the kiosks in the park or the entrance, here’s an idea of how many you will need for your day out.

Dreamland tokens

All in all it was a fabulous day and I would thoroughly recommend it but do wrap up warm as it can get quite chilly.

Dreamland - Santa and the elves workshop

Disclosure: We were invited for a day out to Dreamland – The Frosted Fairground for the purpose of this post, all words and opinions are my own.

Margate – a brand new Dreamland to discover

Margate holds great memories for me because as a child it was THE destination to go to. Oh how you could brag at school in September that you had been to Dreamland, eaten candy floss and paddled in Margate’s sea. It was ever so sad to return there years later and find the beautiful town in such decline.

Margate, Kent‘Why can’t somebody invest money in this seaside resort and bring it back to it’s former glory?’ was a thought spent by many over the past 20 years.

The huge tower overlooking the seafront seemed to drag the town down even further and the sad closed up fish and chip shops, cafes and amusement arcades that lined the coast all boarded up and covered in graffiti didn’t help either.

So on our recent camping trip to Manston Caravan Park I was delighted to witness the busy rebirthing of the Old Town in Margate.

Hayley, my sister in law and I left the children with their dads for a child free afternoon and we drove off to have a look at the Turner Contemporary Gallery on the seafront which opened in April this year. It’s a beautiful white building with clean crisp lines and large open areas, the terrace outside dotted with colourful chairs to drink a coffee whilst watching over the busy beach in front. The entrance houses a massive art piece by Daniel Buren, the enormous window overlooking out to sea has been framed using his characteristic 8.7 cm vertical stripes to highlight spacial features and make us look at them differently.

Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate

My attention was quickly taken with the words written everywhere, even up the staircase making the walk up to the next gallery a thought provoking experience, Douglas Gordon inspired by Turner’s magnificent sunsets and the fact that on his death muttered ‘The Son is God’ has incorporated these thoughts into his work.

A fascinating room was given over to Conrad Shawcross, an exhibit in movement hung from the ceiling and the three ‘propellers’ turned as regular as clockwork going over and over the same movement tirelessly, centre to the room a bronze sculpture starting as a thin cone on the floor and as it rises spiralling beautifully out and finally in the opposite corner of the room drawings that seemed to be made with a classic spirograph. It wasn’t until we spoke to the lady on the door of the room that we discovered his work had been inspired by the Projections of a Perfect Third. We learnt that the perfect third is a musical chord that in the past was banned from churches and being played in public as its notes provoked intense emotions from whoever listened. He discovered the precise mathematical ratios represented by harmonical chords and represents them in his art.

Ellen Harvey’s work displayed in ARCADIA, a three quarter scale of the Turner Gallery in London depicting her hand engraved scenes of Margate around the room in the exact positions that Turner’s last exhibition was displayed. the type used for the word ARCADIA the same as the sign for Margate’s Dreamland amusement park.

And Russell Crotty’s paper globes hanging from the ceiling that on closer inspection reveal his written words of what he saw, felt, thought and heard as he walked along the landscapes depicted in his art.

I would thoroughly recommend a visit if you’re in the area and then to finish of the perfect Margate trip have a walk around the Old Town and discover the most fascinating shops, galleries, boutiques and eateries popping up all over and adding to the rebirth of this magnificent town.

Margate Old Town

We also popped into the Pie Factory and found a display of old postcards from post war times all of which had been deemed to mucky for either Ramsgate or Margate back in the day, all 128 postcards can be found in the Cartoon Archive catalogue I learnt that by buying 4 for £5.00 I was contributing to the regeneration of Dreamland itself and discovered there is a fabulous project underway to restore the Amusement park keeping the historic rides including the fully restored and working scenic railway. And rather than be a dry museum it will be a living, fun filled amusement park to enjoy with the family just like back in the day.

I for one can’t wait for it to open so I can relive my childhood fun trips.