Surreal by the seaView map
The unofficial 8th wonder of the world...
here’s more to this place than arcades and fish ‘n’ chip shops you know. In fact, the eighth wonder of the world is in Margate – at least that’s what the locals say.
Buried below the streets you’ll find the Shell Grotto – a series of underground winding passages, where the walls are decorated with a mosaic of (you guessed it) shells.
There are 4.6million of them to be precise – forming lovely patterns of trees, crocodiles and turtles. For all their beauty, though, an air of mysticism hangs over these subterranean chambers – and it’s not just because of the low-level lighting.
The history of the grotto is a mystery. Was it a rich man’s folly, the meeting place for a secret sect or an ancient sun temple? No one in town will be able to tell you for sure – but they’ll all have a good guess.
Slightly less of a mystery is Turner Contemporary. Named after the painter who went to school here, the new gallery celebrates Turner’s fascination with light. You’ll see pieces of his work alongside that other famous local artist, Tracey Emin.
While you’re in town, it’s worth wandering around to check out some of TE’s outdoor installations, too – by which time you’ll be ready to head back to The Reading Room, a rather swanky B&B just minutes from the waterfront.