A trip to Margate, UK to discover this hidden city with Lavinia Cernau
Getting off the train in Margate, the beach awaits with rosy-cheeked girls out in bikinis and
miniskirts, despite the thermometer reading of 12 degrees. Welcome to the English coast. The
smell of fish and chips mixes with the salty scent of the sea but disappears as soon as you plunge into the narrow winding streets of the old town. Shane Meadows depicted an England that stands up for its battles in This is England, here it' s the same, left, right and centre, gleaming Nissan Figaros all over town, Victorian buildings with or without brick and no big logos. Margate has the sea and the South-East's rocky chalk cliffs but with a difference. This mini-paradise also boasts a range of hip understated locations. Springtime is all about plunging into the glacial water, oysters on the harbour steps, and shopping sprees amongst the vintage gems and local designers.
THE READING ROOMS (spot MPA)
The adorable little Victorian house reveals itself to be a temple of perfection as soon as you open the door. Louise and Liam have that je ne sais quoi that we love about the English, style, class and a ton of stories to tell. Liam, who grew up in Florence, has masterfully decorated this B&B with its pared-down walls and creaky old floorboards. One room per floor, what luxury! The top floor, under the eaves, is bathed in light and has an unforgettable view over the town, its rooftops and Hawley Square. Feel like Cleopatra in the XL bathroom, where bathing is a must, with rose oil and great acoustics. Breakfast in the rooms, so chic, everything is perfect here.
Paddling in England is a battle with seaweed, great for strength training, less cool for the kids running about the place. Dom has found the coolest of solutions in creating a line of subtle natural skincare products that would make Aesop blanche. These perfumes smell like a rainy spring day on a winding country path, the scent of poppies, mint, parsley and elderflower mix with wet grass, or a winter's day under the sun of Botany Bay. Dom is both a British-as-you-like gent, tartan, cap and cardigan with an impeccable moustache to finish the look, but, more importantly, an important figure in the town. He had managed to turn seaweed into something with real value and a multitude of perfumes in a super hispter-chic setting. For the happy few there is also an itinerant massage experience in a Victorian sea-bathing machine on the beach. Next step, a cafe on the first floor of the boutique. But as Dom never stops he is also planning changing rooms for the shy and retiring in Walpole Bay and classes to raise awareness in children of the marine environment. He's looking after everyone from 7 year olds to 77.