Looking for an easy weekend getaway? Look no further.
I’ve been wanting to visit the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate for a little while. A few days off work gave us the perfect opportunity and we took a little road trip to the seaside, both looking forward to catching the current exhibition by Danish artist Joachim Koester.
“Koester plays with the art of storytelling through 16mm film, sound and photography, taking you on a journey to different times, places and states of consciousness. From hypnosis and hallucination to the psychedelic, weave your way through Koester’s narratives and experience The Other Side of the Sky.” This exhibition is on until May 8th.
The gallery is as impressive from the outside as it is inside. It has a distinctive, modern design, is flooded with natural light and offers panoramic sea views. Admission is free, but do remember the gallery is a charity so donations are welcomed. The gallery has a rolling programme of temporary exhibitions so check out their What’s on page to plan your visit.
After a lovely afternoon exploring the gallery, admiring the views and mooching around the shop, we headed to the gallery café for afternoon tea. Don’t be fooled, it might look simple, but it ticked all the right yum boxes. The homemade cakes in the café are worth a mention too – cake heaven right there. We followed this with a stroll down the beach and watched as the sun began to fade.
A good day got even better as we headed 20 minutes down the coast to the Albion House Hotel. We checked in just in time to watch a pink hazy sunset over the Royal Harbour from our bedroom window.
The charming building, which sits on the East Cliff overlooking the beach, dates back to 1791 and is decorated with a cleverly chosen collection of French and English antiques. Expect a grand winding staircase, pretty shutters, high ceilings and exposed beams. Where possible, the owners have done their best to reinstate the original regency features. You can tell it’s been designed with a lot of love.
The hotel has an impressive antique bar with a wall of windows and quirky artwork. We popped in for a pre-dinner drink and after dinner cocktail, both times it was bustling with visitors.
The dining room is a beautiful space with huge fireplaces and imposing windows which fill the room with tonnes of light and offer great views towards the sea. Menu-wise there are lots of locally sourced, wholesome options. As you might expect, being right next to the sea, fish featured heavily. Not that this put us off and we started as we meant to go on, with the oysters. Three courses later and those stairs to the top floor were an issue…
Our room, number 11, on the top floor (so.many.stairs) was a gem. Super roomy and nautically themed, with the comfiest bed ever. There was a pretty cutesy marble bathroom too and a combo of quirky antique furniture, modern hanging lights and pretty pressed flowers. I love a good bath and this was a good bath. The White Company goodies (always a winner) and sea view made it even better. Ear plugs were provided, I think to counter the seagulls in the morning, who woke up long before we were planning to. Next time (and there will be a next time) I plan on taking something to throw at them.
Now for my favourite meal of the day, breakfast – and it was a good one. There was a buffet of baked treats, fresh fruit, yoghurt and a cooked breakfast menu to choose from. Obviously, we had it all.
We filled our time here by walking along the long sandy beaches and watching the boats bob around the harbour, drinking wine and playing the board games provided in the hotels aptly named ‘snug’. This hotel is perfect if you’re looking for a quiet break a stones throw from London.
Here’s a secret: there is a vaulted cavern in the basement for late night wine tasting.