I definitely wasn’t surprised to see Cliftonville in Margate voted one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world by Time Out.
Along with Colonia Americana in Mexico and Cais do Sodré Lisbon, the neighborhood was the only one in Britain to make the top 10 in the world.
I’m one of the many who left the City of London for quieter shores last year and ended up in Margates Cliftonville.
The seaside resort, dubbed Shoreditch-on-Sea by many for the plethora of artists and trendy shops that have sprung up, is certainly at its busiest in summer.
Although Cliftonville is outside the main part of Margate, thanks to the local community it’s the part of town that stays alive throughout the summer when the tourists are gone.
It has a lot to be proud of, such as the UK’s largest tide pool, Walpole Bay Lido, as well as the subterranean Shell Grotto, the origins of which remain a mystery.
And with ex-Londoners like me flocking to the area, there’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes either.
I can’t keep up with the number of bars opening nearby — there’s Stingray and Taproom, two tiny spots full of young couples and their dogs, no matter what the weather.
And across the street is Daisy and Off License, both with some of the best sunset sea views and their own unique cocktails.
While many of the popular restaurants can be found in Old Town, including Italian Sargasso and seafood-heavy Dory’s, many branch out into my woods edge, like former pop-up Barletta, which will open its first wine bar and eatery this year.
Luckily, Cliftonville isn’t short on trendy hotels either, as it’s already home to the Libertine-run Albion Rooms, with the new hotel and co-working space Selina opening later this month.
But what Time Out credited to Cliftonville was the people who described it as “one of Britain’s most thriving artist communities”.
Not knowing anyone but being invited to WhatsApp groups and local events like live bands and art shows is certainly something that drew me here.
And you can hardly walk a few steps without being seduced by the smell of locally brewed coffee (the independent cafes far outnumber the high street chains), only to leave after a 30-minute chatter and a new piece of wall art in your bag.
The latest addition to the art scene causing a stir are the 17 huge murals across Margate, some nearly four stories high, all painted by local artists on the sides of buildings to highlight ocean protection.
Add in the LGBTQ+-friendly community — having the best vibes over the weekend when crowds pour out of the new queer bar camp — and I can certainly see why they won their cool points with Time Out.
I have traveled to some of the others on the full list including other UK neighborhoods such as Walthamstow in London and the Northern Quarter in Manchester.
I’ve also ventured further to other winners like Ubud in Bali and Cais do Sodre in Lisbon – and I think Margate is still winning.
While it may be a little cooler here than its sunnier counterparts, you’ll find it hard not to mingle with the very friendly locals while sipping a seaweed gin and tonic.
Timeouts top 10 coolest neighborhoods in the world
- Colonia Americana, Guadalajara, Mexico
- Cais do Sodre, Lisbon, Portugal
- Wat Bo Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Ridgewood, NYC, USA
- Mile End, Montreal, Canada
- Barrio Logan, San Diego, United States
- Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, Japan
- Cliftonville, Margate, UK
- Barrio Yungay, Santiago, Chile
- Cours Julien, Marseille, France
https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/20073525/time-out-coolest-neighbourhood-margate/ I live in Time Out’s ‘coolest UK neighbourhood’ – here is what it’s really like