Sunday 28 July 2019

So much Fun at Dreamland, Margate (Review)

Dreamland event area
Central Event Area/Food Court

Earlier this week we had a few days away as a family in Kent. We had a wonderful time and the weather was amazing. On Wednesday we headed to the seaside resort of Margate to visit Dreamland, an amusement park that I hadn't visited for around thirty years.

I have to admit, that with exception of the entrance, I didn't recognise any of it. My memory of Bembon Brothers (as it was called then) was of the massive Looping Star roller coaster, that I was too scared to go on (I looked after the bags) and the Mary Rose ride that my Mum went on and vowed 'never again'! I was astounded to hear that Dreamland will turn 100 on 3rd July 2020 and at the moment they are running a public FB group to find the best 100 memories and photos to share. Check it out and join if you have memories of years gone by to share. 

I think the reason I didn't recognise the park is that it looks so much better now than my memories of it. It was very stark, with lots of metal and concrete back then, but now it is bright, fresh, clean and full of greenery.  I'll say from the offset that we had a great visit to Dreamland and Miss E said that if she lived locally she'd definitely get annual membership so she could go every week. She really is our daredevil child!

Dreamland drop ride
Miss E on the Dreamland Drop

I really like the fact that you can enter the park without a cost. This means that parents can bring their kids to enjoy the day and not have to pay for things they will not use. The most cost effective way to visit the park if you want to ride is to buy a wristband in advance. You get 25% off the on-the-day price by buying in advance. This means a wrist band for an adult or child of more than 1.25 metres is just £15, or you can upgrade to £18 if you wish to use the indoor roller disco (with skate hire included). 

I think £15 is so reasonable. When you go to a travelling fun fair you pay at least £3 a ride nowadays and none of them have the thrill factor or size of the roller coasters. If your child is under 1.25 metres the price is £12 or £15 with the roller disco and also use of the Octopus Garden, which is am indoor play zone suitable for under 8's.

There are also two day wristbands, which are even better value at £19.50 for under 1.25 metres and £22.50 for over 1.25 metres. 

You don't have to buy a wristband if there is just one or two rides you, or a member of the family wants to use. You can get a pay as you go card for as little as £5 and this lasts for 12 months and can be topped up as and when you fancy. You can all share one card too if you like. The pay as you go prices are listed over here

Dreamland Big Wheel
The Big Wheel

Queue Times
Our visit was right at the start of the school summer holiday and it was boiling hot, around 30 degrees and rising. I think this meant the park was fairly quiet, as we were super impressed that we didn't have to queue for more than 10 minutes for any ride, including the Pinball X roller coaster. I chatted to one of the security guys and he said when it is busier there can be up to a 30 minute wait to go on a popular ride like the vintage Scenic Railway.  Even that I think is perfectly reasonable. Having grown up in Surrey, I am used to some of the very big and popular theme parks and it is not uncommon there to wait 90 minutes for one ride. 

Scenic Railway and Born Slippy rides
Scenic Railway and Born Slippy slide

Dreamcatcher ride

Pinball X roller coaster
Pinball X

I thought there was a good variety of rides at Dreamland, right from the tea cups and swing boats for toddlers, up to the Pendulum and Dreamcatcher for the thrill seekers. I have to admit that theme parks are not my bag, I am very cautious and quite scared nowadays and even I had fun on the carousel, chair-o-plane, big wheel and Waltzer. 

Talking of the Waltzer, these were the best (read fastest and scariest) ones I have been on in years. These were like the Waltzer's of my childhood and yes I really did scream. My girls were thoroughly embarrassed but I had fun!

On the day we visited the Scenic Railway wasn't running as apparently the brakes were suffering in the uncharacteristically hot weather. Of course we understand that no risks should be taken, but it was a shame to miss out on this iconic ride. Then as the day went on the Pinball X had a carriage get stuck and that was closed for a while whilst the engineers worked on it and prior to leaving Miss E wanted to go on the Dreamland Drop again and that had been closed too. I think if I had been a paying guest that day I might have felt a tad annoyed that three big rides had closed. 

Mother and daughter on waltzer

Dad and daughters on Waltzer

The Park Itself
As I mentioned earlier the park is really nice. It is clean, bright and airy. I was amazed to find loads of areas of shade and we had no trouble getting a bench, seat or table when we wanted one. There is a wide variety of catering outlets across the park and I didn't think the prices were too high. It is £1.50 for a bottle of water, but equally there is a water station in the Tail Spin Diner and the bar was happy to refill our water bottles numerous times in the day.  

In the diner you'll pay from £5.00 for a hot dog, £7.00 for a burger and £2.50 for skin on fries. There are also a variety of eateries in the outside food court area, like fish and chips, ice cream, pizza and BBQ.

We didn't actually eat on site as there was a Weatherspoons just a short walk away and we needed some air conditioning and shade for an hour!
  • All the toilets I used were clean and well stocked, and I saw baby change facilities. 
  • You can bring wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies on site but there is no designated storage ares for them.
  • Lockers are available to hire for £3 a day
Tween girls at Dreamland

Roller Disco
The girls love the traditional roller disco hall. Most of the day it was pretty quite but sadly just as the girls went on a group of about 30 kids also joined them and it was quite busy with the kids not following the one way skating rule. This meant my girls got a bit frustrated but the fab thing was, that because it was included in their wristband, they could leave it and go back later.

The hire of the skates was included with the wristband price, and there are helmets and protective pads available for you to use. I was impressed with the skates, they are all well maintained and look very funky. 

Children need to be 14 plus to skate alone, otherwise an adult has to be there to sign for them. 

Roller disco at Dreamland Margate

Useful Information
Address: Marine Terrace, Margate, CT9 1XJ
Parking: We parked in the Arlington car park, which was very good. It is on All Saints Avenue, CT9 5QH and costs £7 for the day, You can walk straight into Dreamland from the car park.
Opening Dates:For summer, the park is open every day from 19th July – 1st September, opening at 10am and closing at either 6 or 9pm, but check before you travel
Buy your writsbands:
Dogs on the park: Only assistance dogs are permitted. 

You can stay in touch with what is going on at Dreamland via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  

Why not pin this post for later?

Dreamland Margate pin

Disclosure: We received free wristbands for the five of us to visit for the purpose of an honest review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest. 
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