Dreamland was the biggest reason why Sam and I chose to travel to Margate in the first place. I’d read some very cool articles about the theme park’s regeneration and I wanted to see it for myself. Also, it didn’t hurt that it was supposed to be insanely instagrammable.
Dreamland was one of the first theme parks in Britain, and the wooden rollercoaster – the Scenic Railway – built in the 1920s was the first of its kind in England and received a Grade II historic listing. Sadly, over the years the park fell into disrepair before it closed alltogether in 2003 and was sold off for redevelopment. However, since the massive wooden rollercoaster was listed, it couldn’t be torn down. It suffered neglect and arson, but the park was finally saved through a public campaign and was re-opened in 2015.
One of the things that I liked most about Dreamland is that it was free to enter, but you paid per ride. I know as a kid, there were a lot of times my mom never rode a single ride at places like Six Flags, but still had to pay a fortune to enter. And for those people who are going to ride everything, there’s a very reasonable day rider pass.
The whole park was put together with such care. There was nothing slapdash or outdated (think Brighton pier) about this park. It was delectably retro. Even the quality of food at the park had been thought out. Sam had a massive portion of fish and chips, whilst I had both ice-cream and cotton candy (candy floss). Last but not least, we took turns going down Dreamland’s giant slide, The Born Slippy. Sam got it to himself, whereas I ended up racing and losing to a bunch of 8 year olds.
The only downside to our day at Dreamland was that the wooden behemoth – The Scenic Railway – was closed that weekend. Gutted! But a perfect excuse to go back one day soon.
For the moment, it’s open daily, but as soon as school starts again for the Autumn it’s only open weekends from 11am – 5pm.
Have you been to Dreamland before? Do you have happy memories of it?