Chris and Grant leaving the Turner Gallery 14 Dec 2012

It rained as if to punish us in Margate last Friday. My friends and I went to one of the oddest seaside towns to visit the relatively new Turner Gallery and a vintage clothes shop owned by Paul Brewer, a friend of Damon Albarn.

My friends (you can see them in this picture), told me Margate was listed by the Rough Guide as a must-see destination for 2013. Its the only British destination mentioned, the skyline is dominated by a unsympathetic tower block (Although i haven’t seen it the setting for this), and the art-deco cinema style front modified for a now abandoned amusement park named ‘Dreamland’. Nearby, the Cliftonville area is derided along the Kent Coast as an economically deprived, high unemployment area. In the BBC article linked above claims one third of shops remain vacant. In contrast he new Turner Gallery must have helped raise the profile of the town and drawn visitors in. Of the shops that are open many possess an independent and very english identity; tea shops, restaurants, and the vintage clothes shops such as that owned by Paul Brewer, these have a quality you’d expect to find in a major city but much friendlier.

I have to say I like Margate. It confounds me how a place that was once so popular feels so abandoned. But I wonder what effect the Rough Guide recommendation will have?