A crisp modern box resting at the western edge of Margate’s seafront, Turner Contemporary’s arrival in 2011 marked a turning point in the town’s fortunes, as it began its emergence from decades of decay. Today Margate is the embodiment of a new kind of seaside town, attracting cultural projects and new businesses, with the gallery among the main attractions.
The Turner Contemporary stands to the right of the harbour wall, its enormous windows offering the same sea views that inspired many of Turner’s paintings. There’s no permanent collection, but a partnership with the Tate has brought shows by well-established artists such as Jeremy Deller, Grayson Perry and Margate’s own Tracey Emin. The gallery itself is more compact than the exterior suggests, but abundant wall space allows for the display of large pieces – such as Grayson Perry’s tapestries. Exhibitions are always free, and even if they don’t appeal, the views alone make a visit worthwhile.
A good shop and café round out the experience. For further excitement, it’s only a 10 minute walk to the revived Dreamland, Britain’s oldest amusement park.