I had a helicopter lesson booked in Manston airport early in the morning and it seemed like a good idea to spend the day in Margate afterwards. We were there only a couple of hours but it was enough to explore the old town and visit some interesting places.
To get control of an helicopter for a few minutes when you’ve never even been inside one before is an exuberant experience. The lesson was booked from red letter days and we flew with Polar Helicopter Hangar. The helicopter was a Robinson R44 and I was pleased to hear that our pilot has been a trainer for over 8 years.
The RAF fighter planes of the second word war, submarine spitfire Mk XVI and Hawker Hurricane ICC are housed in the museum right opposite. Manston initially a farmland used for emergency landing was an important airfield due to it’s strategic location of being near the English channel .During the battle of Britain, which is considered to be the first major campaign in the second word war to be fought entirely by air forces, the pilots were known as “The Few” from Winston Churchill’s speech on 20 of August 1940 “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”
Our first stop when we arrived at Margate was Haeckels, a store with natural handcrafted skin and body products that has obtained a licence from Margate council to harvest seaweed and use it in combination with other locally growing botanicals. It was very encouraging to see a project that seems like it belongs more in a trendy expensive area of London to become part of a reason to visit this seaside town and that supports the local economy and takes responsibility to clean the coastline.
As a town it seems to combine, derelict abandoned buildings, vast open coastline and a number of creative residents that are attracted to this part of England and start their own ventures which is what makes it an interesting destination.
A perfect example of that is a couple that moved from London to open a multi functional space that serves as a coffee shop, record store, hair salon and yoga studio. I imagine that an idea like that would have been practically impossible in a place like London. The building itself is fantastic, very bright, spacious and with a lot of character.
I don’t know exactly what it is about this staircase but Clockwork Orange and the Shining spring to mind …