Dreamland. One right turn out of the station and that's where you'd find yourself, a big ferris wheel dominating the sea front, the incessant dings of arcade games and the "wooooooo!" of teenagers riding the scenic railway filling your ears as your mum slathered your legs in sun screen. Candy floss and Margate rock were dietary staples at Dreamland, as were metre-long sticks of sherbet and bubblegum flavour ice poles which would turn your tongue blue. For a 10 year old, it really was a dream land.
I'm sad to say, however, it has since become a nightmare. Dreamland closed its doors in 2003 and, over the following decade, Margate crept into dereliction. Cafés once filled with rambunctious pre-teens were empty. The bright lights of the arcades were switched off. And Margate was left behind, stuck in a time that once was.
...Until 2011, when a new addition was made to the tired, ageing sea front: the Turner Contemporary. This rather imposing building has been a much-needed catalyst for the regeneration of Margate, and it's working. Lots of independent and antique shops have popped up (guide to follow in the New Year!), there are some very good restaurants (in fact, the owner of that fox terrier told us he's opening a fish restaurant in April), and people are visiting from afar - and for more than just a stick of rock and some cheap thrills.
Dreamland is also undergoing a facelift - the "Save Dreamland" campaign is working tirelessly to get the park up and running so that by next summer, this old seaside town will once again entice Londoners with its carefree, candy-coloured charm. So go on, stick a trip in your new 2015 diary - Dreamland welcomes you.
What I'm wearing | Yellow raincoat: Petit Bateau | Breton stripe dress: c/o Joules | Brogues and satchel: Vintage