Day tripping in Dreamland, Margate June 20, 2016 14:43
It feels like a million years since our last visit to the fairground at Margate. Back then, it was called Benbom brothers. 'Rhythm is a dancer' boomed from the 'woofers' in the back of vauxhall novas and ford fiestas cruising up and down the seafront. Tall, lankly lads mooched about with their walkmans, listening to Living Joy. Travelling by bus and train to Margate took hours but it was worth it as your train ticket included entry into the theme park. My friend Lisa had a funny turn on one of the rides which left some of us covered in sick for the rest of the day. Classy. Still, you could 'buy a wristband and ride all day'. Which we did. And it was ace.
Fast forward a few (ahem) years and, as we found out on Saturday, the newly rediscovered Dreamland is a different beast. It has been open for just one year - which has been a rollercoaster in itself. In the last 12 months, huge initial publicity was soon overtaken by headlines about the delays on the highly anticipated scenic railway and a visit by the administrators. Plucky and undefeated, Dreamland opened its gates this weekend offering a new pricing policy: go in for free and pay for individual rides as you go round.
And go round you must. Dreamland is a perfect mix of theme park, nostalgic attractions all decked out in vintage pastel tones, with a bit of grit thrown in. It is all there. The scenic railway will have you squealing, (yes, squealing) with delight. You will see the odd green face in the crowd; gingerly toddling away from a ride that has left them feeling absolutely revolting. Within minutes it is your turn to feel a bit 'pat and mick'. In the nooks and crannies of the park are the 'young guns', attempting a coy, Saturday afternoon snog or just hanging out. Last time we were here, we were them. Sigh. Honestly, it is fantastic. And not to be missed. So next time you are planning a trip out, support somewhere magical, that despite trying times, is attempting something a little different.