Margate

In the seaside resort of Margate on the Isle of Thanet the waterside Turner Gallery opened in 2011. Designed by David Chipperfield, it’s one of the largest galleries in the south east outside London and the design celebrates Turner’s fascination with light. As well as changing exhibitions the gallery also hosts a range of creative activities.

Next to the Turner Gallery, on the restored Margate Harbour Arm, you can take in an exhibition at the Harbour Arm Gallery or drink in the magical views from Bebeached Cafe or the Lighthouse Bar. You might even decide to hire a bike from Caitlin’s Beach Cruisers to explore other parts of Kent’s Creative Coast. Bring your paints or camera and record what you find there.

As well as Turner, Margate has strong connections with the artist Tracey Emin who designed a neon installation for Droit House which displays the words “I never stopped loving you” in pink lights. Emin says her work is ‘a show of love and affection for the place in which I grew up.’ Emin staged an exhibition of her work at the Turner Gallery in 2012.

A short walk from the Harbour Arm, the Marine Studios gallery holds a variety of creative events and exhibitions from a Grade II listed building overlooking the sea and sands, whilst at Broad Street a converted butchers now houses The Pie Factory. Just off the High Street in Bilton Square Crate, previously a print works and Limbo Arts located in a disused electricity substation both provide space for artists and hold regular exhibitions.

Margate Old Town, close to the harbour, is known as the Creative Quarter and is a haven of artistic variety, with interesting independently owned shops and art galleries. These include Holbrey and Solway selling a wide range of modern British art and The Community Pharmacy Gallery a visual and performance art venue that is home to Beeping Bush, a multimedia digital production company that also offers film making and scriptwriting workshops.

If performing arts is your love, the second oldest professional theatre in the country is the Theatre Royal Margate and, as well as hosting and producing drama, comedy, music and dance it also runs a variety of creative workshops.

Further along the coast on the Eastern Esplanade in Cliftonville you’ll find the Tom Thumb Theatre. This family run arts venue was originally built as a coach house in Victorian times and transformed into one of the smallest theatres in the world in 1984. Today it provides a venue for theatre, film, comedy and music.

Also in Cliftonville, Lovely’s Gallery is Thanet’s oldest gallery and celebrated its 120th birthday in October 2011. It provides an extensive range of paintings, prints and limited editions alongside art and craft materials, demonstrations and creative workshops.

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