Having had my 30th birthday trip to the States cancelled but some restrictions lifted in the UK, my wonderful fiance surprised me with a mini-break to Margate in Kent in the hopes of lifting my spirits. With Ripley the cat on my lap, what better way to travel in style (and comfort) than with Citroën, who kindly gifted us the C3 Shine* to test for the week.
Travel Diary: Postcards from Margate with Citroën C3*
It was so exciting to get away for a few days - even if it was within the UK. Our last few foreign holidays haven't quite gone ahead as planned but with the news that we can travel within the country for leisure, we were excited to get away to the seaside for a few days.
Margate might seem like an odd choice for some but it's sandy beaches on the South Coast have been a popular British destination for decades. It has been a it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit having seen it many-a-time on Instagram over the years. So with Stevie having booked our trip, it seemed like the perfect excuse to put the brand new Citroën C3 Shine to the test. Here's a little look at our trip and what we got up to...
It was a far few hours in the car on what proved to be one of the hottest days of the year so far but we made it in one piece. Thank God for air con and those comfy seats. Having found our airbnb (located just a stones throw from Margate Old Town), we parked up and unloaded the Citroën, ready to start exploring.
Our Airbnb was The Brooklyn Lodge, a pet-friendly, bizarre but cosy apartment just minutes on foot from Margate's famous Shell Grotto, Old Town and the sea front. Stevie found this little gem online and knew I'd be a sucker for the bare brick, American-loft style decor. It even had a little cubby-hole upstairs where you could watch movies. Having got Ripley settled, we made the 4 minute trek up the road to the Grotto - famed for being a haunted hotspot in the seaside town.
The famous Shell Grotto in Margate was top of my list when visiting. Described as the 'spookiest place in Margate', the grotto was discovered entirely by chance in the 1835 - yet its creator and intended purpose still remains a mystery.
The Margate Shell Grotto is believed to have once been used by witches as a pagan church, with many seances being held here up until the 1930s. Made up of several short corridors, the grotto is decorated with 4.6 million shells. Whilst our visit was only short (no more than 30 minutes is required), the atmosphere is very strange but exciting, indeed. Some people believe that the grotto is haunted by a ghost known as 'The Blue Lady".
With the Shell Grotto ticked off my list, it was time to grab some grub by the sea. Before visiting Margate, naturally I had looked up a few recommended eateries on Instagram and one of the most popular appeared to be Buoy & Oyster - known for their seafood platters and steaks. We filled our bellies before a leisurely stroll along and beachfront and back to the Airbnb for an early night with Ripley the cat.
For our second day in Margate, I couldn't wait to visit Dreamland. For those of you who don't know, Dreamland in Margate is a vibrant, vintage themed UK amusement park, dating back to the 1870s. It is also home to the oldest rollercoaster in Britain - the grade II listed Scenic Railway (also known as the Queen of Margate).
With COVID rules in place, unfortunately not all of the rides were open but, actually, I'm so pleased we got to visit when we did. Being midweek and, with there being fewer attractions for smaller children and families open, the park was pretty much entirely ours to enjoy - and I loved it. Plus, we couldn't have had better weather.
Having explored the colourful park, we sat down to sample some of the park's many delights and the food was surprisingly fantastic. I could happily have stayed all day and night long.
For the remainder of our trip, we pretty much walked just about everywhere. We had a great time exploring the seafront and the Old Town, and even found an amazing local brewery pop-up.
As you can see from the photos, we really did get outstanding weather - and even got a little sunburnt. There's always that risk when taking a UK break that you might get rained out but it really could have been a foreign holiday...if we'd gone to a Spanish beach with far too many shirtless brits.
After a lovely few days away, it was time to hit the road and head home. Thankfully, though, the drive back was made all the more easy thanks to the C3's advanced comfy seats and 11 driver assistance systems including Spot Monitoring System, Driver Attention Warning. What impressed me even more, was that we managed to get all the way from Peterborough, to Margate and back again - all on a single tank of petrol. That's over 300 miles - pretty amazing, right?
Hand on heart, Margate wasn't entirely what I had expected. In my head I had pictured something similar to Brighton but, in fact, Brighton is far nicer and has much more to offer. That said, we had a really nice time and it was great to get away. I am so glad, also, to have finally visited the Shell Grotto and Dreamland - both of which are a total must-see.
A huge thank you to Citroën for allowing us to travel in style and comfort with the C3. It was so fun to try it out and came in super handy for our UK getaway. But tell me, have you got any UK staycation planned this summer? How do you feel about travelling now that restrictions are lifting? As always, I love reading your comments so please do share your thoughts with me below.
Until next time,
*Disclaimer - This post features a gifted collaboration with Citroën. As always, all opinions are my own and are not enforced by the brand.