Turner Contemporary

Rendezvous Margate Kent CT9 1HG

Since its grand opening in 2011, the Turner Contemporary art gallery has made itself right at home in Margate, and must partly be credited – along with the energy and enthusiasm of its inhabitants – with turning around the fortunes of this once-ailing seaside resort. Its sleek white lines, simple and stunning, form a striking vision at the end of the seafront, silhouetted against the sky – JMW Turner, who would spend summers here on this very spot, taking refuge with his beloved landlady, Mrs Booth, pronounced Thanet’s skies to be the “loveliest in all Europe”. Though huge, the gallery doesn’t dominate the town, and though sleek and modern, it doesn’t outshine it, either. The local community took the place to their heart immediately, and it now forms a confidence-boosting anchor for Margate’s gently flourishing art scene, much of which is concentrated in the little galleries and pop-up spaces of the nearby Old Town. Exhibitions are temporary and consistently interesting, often making local links, with cutting-edge and exciting work to the fore and lots of activities for children. The café, which spills outside on sunny afternoons, is a nice place for a coffee and cake or a light lunch.

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