A Microgap in hipster and eco-conscious Margate,UK on an ethical day trip from London to visit the trendy seaside town. An easy day trip from the capital with a focus on ‘Giving Back’. Find out all about Microgapping in the UK and how to cram amazing experiences into just one day.
Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with MyMicrogap and Visit Britain, who kindly invited me to take part in this campaign. However, all views and opninions are my own.
Microgapping in Margate
Curious as to what all the fuss about Microgapping was matched with an eagerness to check out the new hipster scene on my first-time visit to Margate, I took a day trip away from busy & bustling London to find out.
With Margate being the new hub on the London fringes for everything trendy, upcycled and eco-conscious twinned with a multitude of independently run outlets, it was only natural the focus of this Microgap was going to be about ‘Giving Back’.
What’s the concept behind a ‘Microgap’?
You’ve all heard of a gap year, right? You take a year out of study between finishing college and going to university or want to escape the rat race for a while or perhaps you’re between jobs. Whatever the reason, they all share the same goal; to go off and maybe do something adventurous, perhaps to experience new places and cultures overseas, to unwind from the daily grind or help out on a volunteer programme.
Although Gap Years are great, they aren’t always suitable, not everyone has the time or money to take a full year out. This is where the concept of Microgapping comes in. The idea is that you get to experience the best bits of a gap year, perhaps something adventurous, maybe to unwind, or to give back to society but in the space of just a few days in your home country.
Micropgap; The Best Bits of a Gap Year in a Few Days In The UK.
Hipster Margate – How and Why is it the new Hipster Capital of the UK?
The historic seaside town of Margate has recently undergone a huge facelift. Since the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery, in April 2011 huge investments from public and private money have totally revamped the area. This includes a multi-million-pound investment and the reopening of the popular Dreamland attraction in 2017 as well as better transport links and affordable housing.
Prices in London continue to rise, making it harder for smaller independent businesses to open up. With the rejuvenation happening in Margate, the location next to the sea with its beautiful beach, fresher air and calmer life has made it a very desirable location for young and ambitious entrepreneurs.
With lower costs of living compared to the capital, comes more freedom of not having stress so much about working every waking hour to just afford the rent on a place. This allows a more relaxed approach to life which in turn has allowed creativity to flourish in Margate. And it shows!
All this, and with decent access to London, it’s no wonder Margate has become a hub for all things cool and hipster.
Why Visit Margate for a Microgap?
Over the past few years, I’ve made big changes in my own lifestyle to cut back on unnecessary materialist stuff and to try to lessen the effect this has on the environment. This includes how I travel, what I buy, where I buy it and what impact the things I buy have on the planet.
A hub of amazing vintage clothing outlets, upcycling centres owned by young creatives as well as a community actively and passionately working towards a cleaner beach Margate was the perfect town to combine this Microgap goal of ‘Giving Back’.
Check out the Indy Vintage shops in Margate
The day started near the Old Town in Margate. Walking along the cute little lanes and houses you can’t help but notice how many independently owned shops there are.
Each one specialising in something different – clothing, furniture, household items, artwork – you name it. All of these initiatives have one thing in common, the ethos of keeping these still full-of-life products out of landfill.
The bright Barbie pink coloured building situated on the corner of King Street is an absolute treasure trove for vintage clothing. It’s crammed with beautiful women’s clothing dating from the 1930s to the 1990s. All of the items are pre-loved and none of it is bulk bought. Stylist and costume designer Georgina, handpicks all the items herself!
Let the creative juices flow with a bit of Upcycling
She also prints to fabric and paper, as well as using her creative flair to upcycle clothing otherwise destined for the rubbish tip. She runs regular workshops, each with a different focus. These are open to the public to come and have a go at giving fresh life to otherwise old, damaged or dated product.
After a quick peek about her studio she set’s us the challenge of creating our own piece of upcycled clothing using soft fuzzy colourful flock pieces and a heat press.
Zoe had collected loads of clothing which was destined for land-fill. I was chuffed to find a beautiful sun-dress (why on earth someone was throwing this out in the first place, I’ll never know) . After a quick demonstration we all busied ourselfs with cutting and arranging little pieces of colourful transfer to be pressed onto an old item of clothing, coveing up little holes and marks to give the item a new lease of life.
Everyone in our little group produced so many beautiful pieces of clothing, I can’t wait for the warmer weather so I can wear my dress!
Get Involved with the Margate Beach clean
Fact: 8 million metric tons of plastic get dumped into the sea every year. Of this, over 200 thousand tons is classed as microplastic.
Thankfully, not all of that garbage ends up on the beautiful beach at Margate. However, it’s still no secret that the world’s oceans are in trouble and along with it, the beaches. Everyone loves to relax and enjoy beautiful beaches in the world, right? As a keen scuba diver, it’s soul-destroying seeing how much litter is floating around under the waves. Picking the trash off the beach is one simple thing that everyone can get involved with, which not only makes it a cleaner envonment for people to enjoy, but more importantly stops the litter ending up in the sea.
Greeted by Suzanne from DiscoveryPlanet, and Nadima from the University of Kent. They provide you with a super fetching high-viz jacket, rubbish bag and a picker-upper. I don’t even know if that’s the technical word, but this dinosaur-mouth-like contraption meant you don’t have to touch anything nasty.
Not only was the beach clean so beneficial to the environment but it’s also fun. We were split into two teams, and given a chart to tick off all the bits we found for analysis by the scientists at the University of Kent as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s national survey (we were doing science without knowing it!).
We were also set the challenge of finding the most bizarre item on the beach. Our team found lots of glass, and food wrappers and we also picked up a champaigne cork. The other team found some underwear!
After an hour of cleaning, Nadima took us through the science behind plastics and how not all of them are bad. She explained which of the plastics could actually be recycled and which items should be cafeully disposed of.
It was a great way to get involved with making the environment just a little bit better for everyone; the locals, visitors and most importantly the marine life.
The best sea view bar in Margate
After a relaxing drink, it was time to catch the train back to London, with an amazing feeling of knowing that everything I had done today will somehow have a positive effect on the planet.
Getting to Margate from London
It’s insanely easy to get to Margate from London, especially as it’s connected by the country’s only high-speed train service, the HS1. Departing from London St Pancras International and arriving in Margate just 90 minutes later, this makes it one of the top day trips from London.
Check out travel times to Margate from London at South Eastern Railway
So would you do a Microgap in the UK?
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Margate on a ‘Giving Back’ venture. Not only was it a good insight into how I can make even more changed to my lifestyle to help the planet but it was so fufilling knowing that everything I did will have a positive impact. There are loads more Microgapping options to choose from loads of destinations all over the UK, there’s sure to be something that interests you.
Although this was only a single day taster, typically Microgaps take place over a weekend aor up to a few days. I can highly vouch for taking part in one.
If you're interested in short breaks in the UK, then check out these destinations...
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I’d love to hear your thoughts on Microgapping – yay or nay? Would you try a micro gap in the UK, if so what woul you like to do?
My trip to Margate was kindly sponsored by Visit England as part of their #mymicrogap campaign