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The Seaside Town of Margate And The Turner Contemporary Gallery

I’ve always loved Margate. It’s got lovely sandy beaches and a great shopping area. It’s great fun for a day out with the children or just to have a walk along the seafront. Margate is a traditional, quirky seaside town in Thanet, Kent which includes Cliftonville, Garlinge, Palm Bay and Westbrook.

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Margate has been a leading seaside resort for at least 250 years and is home to Dreamland Theme Park and the prestigious Turner Contemporary Gallery.

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It’s a great place to go with children for a day of fun at the beach and has an up and coming town centre with a great variety of shops, amusement arcades and lovely beach side cafes. It’s recently had funding put in place to rejuvenate the town. You can see new housing developments being built along the sea front and there are more bars and children’s play areas being built.There’s a quirky feel to Margate with a bus cafe on the seafront, a twisted post box and a sea bathing machine in the centre of the beach.

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I’d heard that the Turner Contemporary Gallery had this years Turner Prize finalists installations in residence so my friend Rowen and I took a trip there to see what it was all about and to have a walk along the promenade.

We walked along the seafront and past Dreamland. Dreamland Theme Park is at the centre of the seafront- it’s got a long history in the town and it’s apparently Britains oldest seaside pleasure Park.It was allegedly first used for amusement rides in 1880 . It sadly closed in 2003 but was reopened again in 2015 after a long campaign to restore it to it’s former glory .It’s a big draw for visitors to the town and there are always events going on.

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We walked past the newly positioned Haeckel’s Seabathing Machine and Sauna sat right in the middle of the beach. It was commissioned by Dom Bridges and designed by Chloe Young after raising money through a Kickstarter campaign. It looks amazing out on the sandy beach. It has been built in a Victorian style for bathers to go and have a hot sauna and then sprint down to the cold sea after to cool off. What a brilliant idea and it’s free too. It was built with a community feel for the people of Margate. It’s nostalgic and a great addition to the beach front. It’s also great fun watching those running to the cold sea from the warmth of the Sauna. 

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We walked back down the promenade past the ornate clock tower. The Jubilee Clock Tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1889. It had used to have a Time Ball mechanism, mounted on a mast on top of the tower, which was raised a few minutes before 1 pm each day and dropped at precisely 1 pm, allowing locals, visitors and ships to know the exact time. The mechanism fell into disrepair from 1920 but was fully restored and computerised in 2014 and now again tells the exact time. 

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Then past the fishing harbour and up the hill to the Gallery

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We then arrived at the Turner Contemporary Gallery which is host to this years Turner Prize finalists. It is free to enter the Gallery and there are plenty of assistants available to answer any questions that you might have about the works of art that are displayed there.

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The Turner Prize is an award given each year to a visual artist born in or based in Britain in recognition of an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work. It is considered to be the highest honour in the British art world . Every other year the prize is presented at a venue outside of London and this year they are lucky enough to have the finalists at The Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate. The winner will be announced on the 3rd December this year.

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This years four finalists are Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani

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The pieces were all incredible and my pictures do not do them justice at all- it is a must see if you are in the area. They are all very thought provoking and we just couldn’t decide which one should be the winner this year as they were all equally as interesting.

Outside the Gallery there are some musical horns which were great fun 

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The horns are called The Welcome Chorus and brings together sound, sculpture and artificial intelligence (AI) as an interactive outdoor installation. The Twelve horns, each represent a district of Kent, and they continually sing lyrics generated live by a trained AI software! The sculpture also references the origin of the word ‘Kent’ which is thought to derive from the word ‘kanto’, meaning horn or hook.

Visitors are also able to speak or sing into a unique ‘conductor’ sculpture, their words will then be heard in the immediate soundscape and will be added to the ongoing machine’s AI learning.

A great day out had and the only money we spent was on a really tasty lunch on the seafront in one of the many fantastic cafes. Margate really had something for everyone. I can highly recommend a visit.

Written by Sally Laker

Sally Laker grew up on the Isle of Wight and studied music at Chichester University. She worked as a store manager and medical administration assistant before going full-time with her cake-making business, Sally4Cakes. In 2014, she was named Home-Based Businesswoman Of The Year at the Kent Women In Business awards and In 2016 she made the wedding cake for Gregg Wallace's marriage to Anna, which was featured in Hello Magazine.

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