For many years, Dreamland has been a vacant site awaiting future development – however in less than 60 days, the dream will live on.
Dreamland opened in 1920 and is home to the Grade II* listed Scenic Railway, the oldest standing rollercoaster in Great Britain. The park has exchanged many hands over the years, coming under operation of the Benbom Brothers in 1981, and later amusement businessman Jimmy Godden. As the industry entered the new millennium, conditions toughened and many parks like Dreamland failed to stay afloat. The park closed in 2003; other examples followed including Derbyshire’s American Adventure and Lancashire’s Frontierland and Pleasureland amusement parks.
However, Dreamland has proved to be a special destination. The location is home to several protected buildings and items, including the unique Dreamland Cinema and Menagerie Cages dating from Margate’s pleasure gardens era. More importantly, locals have distinct memories of both the classic and white-knuckle attractions which were featured on the site, and campaigned to restore the site to its former glory. It is easy to see why; for Dreamland has created memories for many and the historically significant Scenic Railway is one that has remained at the site for nearly a century. Thankfully, this classic rollercoaster is currently being restored and is set to reopen this year.
Luckily, not only has the Scenic survived, but also Dreamland’s art deco venues too. The classic Ballroom and ‘Hall by the Sea’ are set to undergo extensive renovations and reopen for corporate and special events. An exciting programme is already being developed for the park, including an Opening Night Hullabaloo on Friday 19th June, featuring ‘The Miniscule of Sound’ and pop rock duo Chas & Dave.
As for the amusement park, Dreamland is set to be better than ever before. The new Dreamland as such presents a ‘host of stylishly restored, recreated and retro-fitted rides and amusements’; set to completely re-establish what the modern amusement park stands for. A visit to the park won’t find the tallest or fastest rides, however emphasis is placed on feel-good nostalgia and renovated attractions for not just one audience, but the whole family – for everyone. Popular favourites such as the Dodgems, Ferris Wheel and a Helter Skelter are present, alongside unique attractions; a vintage pedal car roadway will be a popular head liner for children, and create sentimentality for parents and grandparents.
Latest pictures from the site show that Margate are fast approaching the opening of their latest (and incredibly renowned) attraction, with the Gallopers carousel arriving in the town, and foundations for the classic Kiss Me Quick Caterpillar being laid.