The faded glamour of this seaside Victorian resort is the perfect backdrop to a shimmering all-day (and night) summer Pride event says Rachel Mills
Pride in Margate begins at the glorious community owned Oval Bandstand in Cliftonville, the Margate neighbourhood up the hill from the main sands. It’s a family event (early in the day, at least) so if you have kids, they can join Story Time and boogie bounce dance class, before Seaweed in the Fruit Locker take to the stage to perform sea shanties, and in a nod to the beauty pageants held here in less progressive decades, the alternative queer beauty pageant crowns the 2023 Mx Margate.
There’s a serious point to Pride, too. Organisers say ”Margate Pride envisions a world where all LGBTQIA+ people live safely, joyfully and openly as our whole selves in the communities we call home.” At the bandstand you will hear speakers who have gathered in activism, protest, celebration and advocacy.
The annual parade from 4-6pm has been a cornerstone of Margate Pride since 2016. A sea of people walking, cycling and dancing in rainbow colours (with a lot of pink and a dash of fetish-wear) wind their way from the bandstand along the seafront to the clocktower that stands tall by the line of tawdry amusement arcades. It’s pure Margate, with good feels and music and solidarity (and did we mention pink?). The parade is open to all who have registered, so you can take part or simply cheer from the pavement. Flags and whistles encouraged, either way.
Dreamland – one of the oldest surviving amusement parks in Britain – is already wonderfully camp and glittery (it has a roller disco, enough said), but on the night of Pride its outdoor stage is lit brightly by the likes of B*witched, Duncan James and Tom Rasmussen. The park is also hosting an indoor after party in their vast Hall By the Sea event space. Don’t Cha Disco features Kimberly Wyatt, Dame Jame and Mr Theo.
Besides Dreamland, Margate is laying on several other after parties. Sundowners is the iconic main sands late night gay bar and you and all the other revellers are welcome from 7pm, then it’s the Little Gay Brother takeover at Margate Arts Club. If you have the stamina, round the night off at Homoelectric or the Coco Butter Club.
Find out more at Margate Pride's Official Website (there’s a Pride Art Map that can be purchased, which shows the location of various Pride events)
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to
We recommend these three hotels:
Closest? Victoria Hotel close to the beach and all the fun
Cheapest? Holiday Inn Express Ramsgate Minster a bus ride away but still the best value
Feeling fancy? Botany Bay Hotel Out of town but with a magnificent clifftop location
By train: Margate has a train station with trains running from London Victoria or the high-speed from London St Pancras.
There’s a kiosk and bar at Oval bandstand or you can hop across the road to the cafe at Selina. Picnics are allowed on the lawns at the bandstand, too. There are plenty of restaurants at the end point of the parade, but booking is recommended. Dreamland has countless food concessions.
Ramped access and accessible toilets at the bandstand. There’s an accessible platform at Dreamland, which must be booked in advance.
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to.
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