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'The gem of the Isle of Thanet': Seaside town Margate voted one of the top 10 places to visit in the WORLD by the Rough Guide
16:26 GMT, 12 December 2012
Known for its 'Kiss Me Quick' hats and donkey rides, the seaside town of Margate might not scream 'dream destination'.
But someone has looked beyond the cliches of the Kent coast, and propelled it into the Rough Guide – declaring it to be on the top ten places to visit in the world.
It has reached seventh place in the new Rough Guide book’s 'must see' destinations for 2013.
Seaside charm: Houses and hotels overlooking the beach and seafront at Margate
With new cafes, trendy bars, and art galleries opening up every few weeks Margate looks set to regain its popularity as a holiday spot
Bosses at the travel guide say that the
town offers more than just 'golden sands’ and 'dilapidated seaside
charm', saying it is packed with ‘cute cafes’ and home to the 17.5m
Turner Contemporary gallery which opened last year.
WHERE TO HEAD ON YOUR HOLIDAYS: THE TOP 10
1 North Cyprus
2 Stockholm, Sweden
3 Dubrovnik, Croatia
4 Kosice, Slovakia
5 Dresden, Germany
6 Northeast Iceland
7 Margate, UK
8 Valparaiso, Chile
9 Puerto Rico
10 Nowhere (festival in the desert of northern Spain)
A spokesman for the book said this week:
'From the Turner Contemporary gallery to the proliferation of other
indie art spaces, vintage shops and cute cafes in the Old Town, Margate
now offers much more than its golden sands and dilapidated seaside
'The gem on the Isle of Thanet constitutes one of the highlights of the forthcoming Rough Guide to Kent, Sussex and Surrey for many good reasons.'
Margate is the only place in the UK listed, nestled in amongst cities in Croatia, Sweden and Chile in the varied list.
Locals, however, slated the book, saying it was ‘totally ridiculous’ to put Margate in the top 10 places to visit in the world.
Robert Spires, 41, said: 'If this guide causes tens of thousands of people to descend on Margate from around the world I am afraid they will be very, very disappointed.
Margate is ditching its 'kiss me quick' image to capitalise on its artistic heritage
I do like to be beside the Margate seaside: The charms of the Kent coastal town was not lost on the Rough Guide reviewer
'Margate is run down, half of the shops are closed or in the process of closing down, there are yobs on every corner and amusement arcades all over the place.
Artist Tracey Emin's work at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, which is a huge draw in the town
'It is not the kind of place you really want to live in, let alone go on holiday to.'
deputy director at Turner Contemporary, Richard Morsley, had strong
words of praise for the seaside town: 'It is brilliant to see Margate
highlighted by Rough Guide as a key international destination.
Margate can cut it with the top world destinations, according to the Rough Guide report.
'Visitors come for our exhibitions but also to experience the town, the beach, the boutique shops, cafes, Margate’s amazing history and of course our Turner sunsets.
'There is a fantastic feeling of change and momentum in Margate at the moment and we are all expecting another great year for the town.'
For at least 250 years, the town has been a popular seaside resort in the UK, drawing Londoners to its beaches.
In the 19th century bathing machines were used, with curtained carriages taking bathers down to the shore so they could enjoy the sea while protecting their modesty.
Highlights of the seaside town include an annual jazz festival weekend, two theatres and a Margate Museum.
Visitors can also walk through the 'Shell Grotto' – an ornate subterranean passageway covered in mosaics consisting of 4.6 million seashells, totalling about 2,000 square feet.
Discovered in 1835, its age remains unknown, and it is a Grade I listed building.
Margate Old Town offers a shopper's paradise as it is filled with independent shops and cafes.
Margate has been a popular holiday destination for years, with Londoners flocking to the shore in past years for their summer holiday
Make room! The renewed interest in Margate could lead many tourists to venture to the south east