A few weekends ago, my boyfriend James and I, took an impromptu trip to Margate for the afternoon. I say impromptu, we knew we wanted to catch a certain event but what we anticipated to be the highlight of our day really wasn’t too great at all. Instead, we took a wander through the small roads of Margate, checking out hidden gems until we ended up at Margates’ Dreamland.
Just as we parked the car, I noticed this colourful yard with all sorts of odds and ends from the fairgrounds hey-days. We had to check it out, and with my camera at the ready, we sauntered into the yard to explore.
*Please note, this day I decided to try out the manual settings on my camera, therefore some these photos are a little overexposed or the colour settings aren’t quite ‘there‘; but ultimately, I’m happy I gave it a go.
This place was without a doubt the most bizarre place I think I have been too, but also the coolest yard I have ever seen. Everywhere you looked there was something even more crazy and colourful than before. There were some amazing finds in there -which if I was at a point in my life where I had my own house with a nice garden, I’d totally buy a lot of kitschy things from this gallery.
Yes, this place did have some creepier qualities but it was also full to the brim with quirkiness. It was the type of place I would have loved to play hide and seek in when I was a kid and it sent my nostalgia for fun fairs sky-high. And yes -it even had its’ own resident fortune teller!
Ultimately, it was a great find and added to what became a great day exploring Margate. As I briefly mentioned above, we ended up visiting Dreamland where I, of course, took lots of photos. They will be up here soon, so stay tuned!
Cheerio for now!
I first found out about The Shell Grotto in Margate through this post, from Sophie Davies at The Private Life of a Girl. Reading about it and seeing her images made me instantly want to visit this little hidden gem. I have visited Margate since I was young, and my beach hut is on the bay just round from Margate beach so I couldn’t help but wonder –how haven’t I heard of it before now? And then a special little Sunday rolled around and I got to finally experience The Shell Grotto. Okay, so it wasn’t special but it was one of those ‘no plan’ days which turned out to be a pretty great day.
The Shell Grotto is a picturesque cave around 100ft long, entirely adorned with shells. It was discovered in 1835 but to this day nobody knows when or why it was built. With no mentioning of it in any historic documents, we don’t even know who created it. The grotto consists of the North passage you use to enter the grotto, the Rotunda, the Dome, the Serpentine Passage, and the Altar Chamber. From the moment you enter the Rotunda, you are in the presence of 4.6 million shells (wonder how long it took to collect them all). Of course, since the Grotto was opened to the public in 1838, and the site is too small to prevent visitors from touching the shells, there are signs of wear and tear throughout the site; however, this doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the beauty of the site.
Although we do not know anything about its’ purpose, and at this point, we will probably never get any real answers, I do think this is what draws people to this attraction. Because of its’ unexplained existence, it is shrouded in mystery and I think that is what people find themselves drawn to. There is so much we know these days and very little in our world that is undiscovered. It’s nice to go somewhere, experience it, ask your questions and ponder over your theories; all while you wander through its’ chilly passages.