First used as a site for amusement rides way back in 1880, Dreamland in Margate, Kent, is one of the oldest seaside theme parks in all of the UK. It was built on a former salt marsh near the Margate train station, with the earliest rides including lever-powered "Sea on Land" machines that pitched and rocked passengers like a boat. (Interestingly, these were the direct antecedents of the modern flight simulator rides we see in amusement parks today.)
The park got its name from John Henry Iles, who took over the site from circus entrepreneur George Sanger in 1919 and revamped it with influences from New York's Coney Island. In 1920, Iles opened the famed Scenic Railway roller-coaster, which is still in use today.
Throughout the 1920s and 30s there were a number of additions to Dreamland including a ballroom, a cinema and a handful of new rides. When World War II struck, however, the site was requisitioned by the government and the restaurants and ballroom were used as treatment centres and dormitories for the wounded and active troops.
Dreamland's heyday was in the 1960s, when Londoners craving a city break would flock to Margate for seaside and fun. This period also came with its own setbacks, however, as Mods and Rockers often clashed and rioted along the seafront.
The 1980s saw the introduction of the Big Wheel, which dominates the Margate skyline to this day, and in 2002 the Scenic Railway was granted grade-II listed status, signifying the cultural importance of Dreamland.
In the 2000s, Dreamland fell into disrepair and was officially closed to the public in 2003. A subsequent series of arson attacks plagued the park, causing significant damage to the Scenic Railway ride. For a while, it seemed like Dreamland would never recover.
After the park's official closure, local Margate residents formed the "Save the Dreamland" campaign, raising awareness of the park's importance and triggering the launch of the Dreamland Trust charity. Eventually, the charity was able to raise millions of pounds to restore, revamp and reopen the amusement park, with the 2015 relaunch causing much fanfare.
These days, Dreamland features rides, a children's play zone, food stands, a roller disco room and a massive stage for musical performances.
It's not just kids who are drawn to Dreamland; the park's amazing music venue has hosted a number of top-notch events. In June 2017, Gorillaz held their Demon Dayz festival at Dreamland, and upcoming performers for 2018 include Fleetwood Mac, Groove Armada and Orbital.
Throughout the Year
Day Dreamer Ticket
Unlimited Ride Wristband (Little Kid under 1.25m)
Unlimited Ride Wristband (Big Kid over 1.25m)
United Kingdom CT9 1XJ