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Dreamland, Margate Discussion Thread

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The latest news on an old project.




Dreamland theme park in Margate to reopen on November 16 for the first time since 2006

by Mary Louis


People of Thanet, the time has come to take back Dreamland as the gates reopen on November 16.


This message comes from The Dreamland Trust which is opening the park gates to the public for the first time since 2006.


The day will be followed by a glitzy high profile celebrity auction and champagne reception in the old Dreamland cinema.


It is a huge and exciting step forward in the amusement park’s high profile regeneration.


The trust say it is an opportunity for the people of Thanet to take back their park and to be part of its return.


It is the first time the general public have been allowed on site since the park closed to the public in 2006.


During the summer, the trust has been in discussion with potential park operating companies and park managers.


A final short list of candidates has been drawn up and an appointment will be made by the end of 2013. The trust will shortly be releasing briefs to tender for concessions and leases for the park’s cafes, restaurants, retail units, kiosks and sideshows.


Jan Leandro, heritage and engagement manager of The Dreamland Trust, said: “For many generations Dreamland thrilled and delighted visitors to Margate and sustained her community.


“This community campaigned hard for a number of years to save the park from redevelopment and it will be this community spirit and support that will again help reinstate Dreamland as a world-class visitor attraction.”


Visitors on the day can sign up to The Big Clear – an event with a date to be announced for volunteers, supporters and partners to and tackle weeds and rubbish on site

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Wait, I don't understand. Do they have any rides or attractions up and running or are they literally just opening the gates so people can walk around a closed amusement park? Something doesn't quite seem to add up here.

Edited by robbalvey
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^Sounds like they're simply throwing a party for awareness/fundraising.


Tickets for the auction are £25 and include a glamorous 1930s-style champagne and canapes reception with live music and a discussion between the auctioneers on art deco design.


I'm still very excited about this project. I have a good feeling that since they've taken it this far and have followed this approach, good things will come out of it. It reminds me a lot of the Bay Beach project to build the Zippin Pippin.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's a little more info on the event that occurred earlier today.


It was a tour of the grounds, some presentations and an art auction to raise funds for a Visitor Center The plan is to re-open the park in 2015.




Dreamland attraction on Margate's seafront to open to visitors for the first time in seven years

by Kiran Kaur



Margate's former Dreamland Amusement Park will be opening its gates to the public for the first time in seven years this weekend.

The Dreamland Trust’s Chairman Nick Laister will be leading visitors into the park, to unveil plans ahead of its reopening in 2015.

The attraction has been closed since a fire destroyed its flagship attraction the Scenic Railway in 2008.


Today guests will also be given the opportunity to find out how they can help rebuild the site.

Jan Leandro, heritage and engagement manager, said: “It’s a day that the community takes Dreamland back.

"We’re inviting the community to come down to the site to have a look at the amusement park before works begins.

“This is the first time Dreamland has been empty with nothing there apart from the scenic railway waiting to be restored.


"So there will be a new generation that will be able to say to their grandchildren when Dreamland’s up and running, ‘I remember this as an empty site’ and that’s an extraordinary thing because that’s never been the case.”


She added: “It’s really important that people see the site, see the condition that the site’s in and really understand the journey that we’re about to start.”


The event today - from noon to 3pm - follows a legal challenge which resulted in Thanet District Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order, which cleared the path for its regeneration to get under way.


Jan Leandro feels it is now a time to look ahead.

She said: “We’ll be able to talk people through the next stages for Dreamland. I think there’s going to be something for everybody in the new park.”

She added: “It is about the Dreamland’s heritage, we do have the historic rides collection but it will be unique and new.

"It will be unlike any other Dreamland that anybody has known. It’s important that it’s fit for a 21st century audience.”


The Dreamland Trust recently revealed the Amusement Park will have rides including the Double Decker Rocket, Hurricane Jets and the Austin Car Ride.


A fundraising art auction will follow the meeting at the park in Dreamland’s disused cinema building.

Work has been donated from a number of high-profile figures including Tracey Emin, Vic Reeves and Anne Carrington.

All the money raised at the sold-out event will be going towards opening the Dreamland Vintage Arcade Visitor and Learning Centre next spring.

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  • 9 months later...

Attached below is a governmental Press Release stating that refurbishment of Margate's Scenic Railway will start next week.


Work to restore Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster to its former glory starts next week marking another significant milestone for Dreamland.


From Monday 15 September, the iconic Grade II* listed Scenic Railway is being lovingly restored by contractors Topbond Plc. Group on behalf of Thanet District Council.


Workmen will undertake an intricate programme of work to restore the historic structure, ahead of the opening of a re-imagined Dreamland amusement park next year (2015).


Initial work recording the building and structure for historic purposes has already started, but from next begins in earnest with the dismantling of the buildings and structure on a phased programme - commencing from the motor house moving north.


Restoration will include the replacement of the foundations on which the newly fabricated timber trusses will be erected. Secondary timber structures will then be fixed to the main structure. All the works will systematically follow the scenic in a clockwise direction.


Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘It is very exciting to see work start on Britain’s oldest surviving rollercoaster. The Scenic Railway is synonymous with Dreamland and the Council is very proud to be leading the way, breathing life into Dreamland once again.”


Eddie Kemsley, Project Director at Dreamland, said “This is an important milestone in Dreamland’s history and is symbolic of the enormous achievement of the Dreamland Trust’s ‘Save Dreamland’ campaign. Work on the Scenic Railway is the first crucial step in our work towards opening a re-imagined Dreamland”.


During the re-building works, The Dreamland Trust will continue to host an exhibition on Dreamland’s history and future. The Dreamland Expo: a past, present and future, describes the revivial of Dreamland – one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks and has to date welcomed more than 25,000 visitors. The Dreamland Expo is free and open weekends from 10am to 5pm. For more information, please visit www.dreamlandmargate.com or call 01843 295 887.


Ahead of the anticipated 2015 opening, award-winning designers, HemingwayDesign led by Wayne Hemingway MBE, Gerardine Hemingway MBE and Jack Hemingway are working to create a re-imagined Dreamland as a unique vintage-style amusement park with lovingly restored thrill rides, classic side shows and destination dining set within a landscape capable of hosting national festivals and major events.


The new Dreamland will be a visual and sensual delight, delivered by creative thinkers and designers ensuring every nook and cranny is touched by the hands of artists and artisans. With a creative use of up-cycled amusement park artefacts and fairground paraphernalia creating an immersive, timeless environment

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  • 6 months later...

Park is set to re-open on June 19th.




All the fun of Dreamland: Margate amusement park set to reopen in June


Tickets are now on sale for Britain’s oldest amusement park, which has survived property developers and arson attacks and will be up and running again on 19 June


Roll up, roll up … Tickets went on sale today for Britain’s oldest amusement park. Dreamland Margate will reopen on 19 June, 10 years after it closed and following an £18m refurbishment that has seen some original rides restored and the addition of a host of retro-style amusements harking back to Dreamland’s 1960s heyday.


The centrepiece of the new park is the original Grade II-listed scenic railway, which was damaged in arson attacks in 2008 but has been restored piece by piece. The 17 rides, evoking the old-fashioned fun of the traditional British seaside, include a replica helter skelter, a vintage pedal car roadway, a Wedgwood teacup ride, dodgems and a ferris wheel. A roller disco, Punch and Judy show and Messhams Wall of Death motorbike show will add to the nostalgic atmosphere.

Dreamland's scenic railway under (re)consctruction Dreamland’s scenic railway under (re)consctruction


The redevelopment is led by king-of-kitsch designer Wayne Hemingway, who is overseeing the restoration of original rides and the design of new rides and attractions.


Tickets went on sale at 10am today, (£14.95 for adults, £12.95 for children). The box office opened this morning two hours before tickets went on sale online, allowing locals to buy tickets first. The first 500 people received a Dreamland souvenir – a cube of wood crafted from the original railway planks.


The reopening follows years of lobbying by local campaign group Save Dreamland, which saw off an attempt to redevelop the abandoned site for retail and commercial use.


The resurrection is the latest in a series of developments that have helped transform Margate from down-at-heel forgotten seaside town to thriving artistic community. The opening of the Turner Contemporary in 2011 marked the start of its transformation, encourging a new generation of artists and other creative types to set up studios, shops and galleries in the town which is now as well-known for its vintage shopping as for its artistic heritage. The opening of Dreamland will cement Margate’s reputation for vintage fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personally I'm not a fan of the new look website I think its a bit too bright for my liking and distracts from the actual content. I did notice on the food page though that Cheese on Toast is going to be sold which I find awesome!


Dreamland have been posting updates on their Facebook page following the work done to the park to prepare it for opening on 19th June! Take a look at the photos below!



Today the big wheel arrived at Dreamland!


Looks like its got a nice new paint job.


A nice ariel view of the site!








Who likes new wood?


Who's looking forward to riding this classic coaster that has risen from the ashes?


Not long till trains will be running these rails once again.


This big green wheel is the heart of the ride!


And its now back in its old home to thrill a whole new generation of riders!


So with only 67 days left to go until the grand reopening work is going at some serious speed, more rides are starting to arrive and the park will begin to take shape! Are you excited?


Make sure to follow the parks Facebook page and check out their website (http://www.dreamland.co.uk) to keep up to date with all thats going on with the park in preparation for opening.

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  • 1 month later...

It looks like the Scenic Railway won't be ready for the grand opening., which is a shame because I'm sure most people are looking forward to that ride the most.


On another note, who should I contact to get this discussion thread linked from the park page? I would have completely missed this thread if I didn't find it on Google.


Dreamland rollercoaster 'not ready' for park's opening


The wooden rollercoaster at the revamped Dreamland in Margate will not be ready for the official opening, bosses say.


The Grade II listed Scenic Railway rollercoaster, badly damaged in an arson attack in 2008, was due to be the centrepiece on 19 June.


The refurbishment of the park - which originally opened in 1920 - has cost £18m and began in September.


The funfair, once home to Europe's largest big wheel, was bought by Thanet council in 2013.

'Badly damaged'


Susan Marsh, honorary secretary of the Dreamland Trust, said the delay in the rollercoaster's completion was "disappointing", but "only a blip".


"We don't have an exact date at the moment [when it will be ready], but it will be as fast as it possibly can be," she said.


"The delay is in respect to the trains and restoration of the trains, because these are quite unique features.


"When the arson attack happened a few years ago they were very badly damaged."


She said she did not know whether the operator would provide a refund to people who have already bought a ticket.

Edited by larrygator
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It looks like the Scenic Railway won't be ready for the grand opening., which is a shame because I'm sure most people are looking forward to that ride the most.

It seems strange to me that they wouldn't just push back the Grand Opening. This seems to be *THE* flagship ride for the re-opening. I think they'd have a much more powerful grand opening if they soft opened the park, and then did their official Grand Opening when the ride was ready.


I think they are kidding themselves if they think the coaster not being open is "only a blip." Do they really think the ride is that insignificant? Weird.

Edited by robbalvey
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^I totally agree. I mean this project all started because of the Scenic Railway so why they wouldn't just push the opening back is beyond me. All the people who have spoken to me about this project or asked me questions about it, not one has asked about anything other than the Scenic Railway. I don't think most people even know anything about the other attractions at the park.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dreamland re-opens - If anyone visits please post pictures




Dreamland: Margate's famous amusement park finally reopens

Rachael Pells

Friday 19 June 2015


As Roger Newman and his lifelong friend Nigel come off the Wild Mouse retro-roller coaster, the two old men are skipping and giggling along like teenagers. Doug, 35, emerges beaming from the Wall of Death – a stunt show involving terrifyingly irresponsible motorbike riding. “You must go in,” he says, “it’s excellent.” And he’s right.


They are among the first punters to return to Margate’s Dreamland amusement park, first opened in the 1880s (although the name Dreamland wasn’t used until the 1920s) but closed early in the 21st century after years of decline. It has now been restored to its former vintage glory following an £18m redevelopment and opened for business.


As the train pulled in to Margate station early yesterday morning, visitors were greeted by a big yellow sign, painted on a wall opposite a greying tower block: “Welcome to the land of dreams.” It’s a far cry from the glamorous Victorian seaside resort Margate once was, but there was a new spark of excitement in the air as locals, visitors and fans of all things retro made their way towards the 17 rides – new additions will be rotated each season.


The first visitors to the reopened Dreamland amusement park sampled attractions such as the Wall of Death The first visitors to the reopened Dreamland amusement park sampled attractions such as the Wall of Death


Sitting right at home behind Margate’s “Funshine” arcades, this retro-themed renovation came laden with high expectations – from its extensive design team but also from residents, teenagers ready for a new hangout and octogenarians who remember coming with their own grandparents back when Margate was in its prime.


By 10.30am, the car park was full and visitors queued for the length of it, excited if wary to see how their old childhood haunt has been transformed for the better or worse.


“Today is really a test,” said Margate resident Roger Newman, who came to scope out the park with friend Nigel. “It looks like they could have done with a few more weeks to get ready, but the park is looking fine so far. We all really want it to work, to keep Margate on the up.”


The Twister The Twister


Once through the gates, a plethora of perky staff were on hand to greet visitors and point them in the direction of fun. They wore T-shirts with decidedly hipster slogans such as “we cater for pleasure” and “Dreamland storyteller”, if not dressed up to the nines in rockabilly petticoat dresses and circus-style get-up with hats, canes and braces.


Undoubtedly the most frequently asked question of the day was “why are the rides not ready?” Despite almost five years of planned reconstruction, Dreamland’s most loved and remembered landmark, the Grade II-listed wooden Scenic Railway rollercoaster, the UK’s oldest, is still not finished. Carefully rebuilt to look just the same as it did in 1920, this was the ride most visitors came for, and the disappointment was clear.


Hook-a-Duck Hook-a-Duck


There were certainly teething problems. By midday, the Big Wheel was turning but visitors could not yet board. The shiny electric security lockers were not yet in service and there were more than a few grumbles from people queuing up for a fish and chip stall with no price boards. But locals especially seemed very forgiving.


The park has remained loyal to the old favourites too – the Big Wheel, Helter Skelter, Hook-a-Duck and food stalls with names like “Sweet Dreams are Made of Cheese” and “Meat me at Dreamland”.


Fresh off the Wall of Death, Doug added: “There are things that need to be finished off, but I’m impressed with it so far. I’d like to see some of the old rides back though – the old fashioned Sphinx, the log-flume, the ghost train.”

Read more: Can Dreamland help to reinvigorate Margate?


The retro seaside-themed design was a definite hit and will make the park appeal to teenagers as well their nostalgic parents. As 18-year-old Ayla put it: “Dreamland is definitely alright.”


Of course Dreamland is still a bit naff, but only by the way in which all seaside amusement parks are – clunky, unserious and a little outdated – it’s what makes them charming. Despite the launch’s setbacks, everybody here was having a good time.


“The punters will come, and they’ll keep on coming,” said 71-year-old Jo, who was there with her husband Jerry. “I used to bring my grandchildren here and I came here with my family when I was three years old – my first memories are of the pony rides. It’s wonderfully nostalgic.”

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I haven't visited yet, but there are some interesting behind the scenes photos of the opening day on the Dreamland Blog,




I'm actually looking forward to visiting the arcade. I've never seen an arcade in Margate with pinball machines, only the same old 2p coin pusher machines.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi all, new to the forum here but very local to Dreamland (:


I'll be visiting next week for their Screamland event, and from what I have seen so far it's looking to be fantastic! Here are a few teasers for the upcoming mazes (:


Dead and Breakfast


Festino's Forgotten Funhouse


The Final Cut


The details in the theming are impressive, most notably in Dead and Breakfast which is certainly the most anticipated maze for me (: However, Dreamland have been keeping Festino's Forgotten Funhouse and The Final Cut a bit more secretive with much fewer teasers, so I am very intrigued as to what experiences these will have to offer! The theming throughout has certainly surpassed my expectations so far, not to mention that Festino's looks huge! I am especially excited to find out how much the roaming actors will take the smaller space in the park to their advantage..


A trailer has also been uploaded, which gives a good taster as to what we can expect!



Images taken from the Screamland event page and ScareTOUR

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