On the 16 November 2013 at mid-day, The Dreamland Trust will be opening the gates to the currently disused Dreamland amusement park for the first time since it closed to public in 2006. This is an opportunity for the community to take back their park, sign up for the Big Clear Day and be a part of this extraordinary, high profile regeneration project.

A fundraising art auction and sponsored champagne reception is planned for the evening of the 16th in the Grade II* listed derelict cinema building seafront arcade. Celebrity TV auctioneers Mark Hills and Mark Stacey will be auctioneer donated artworks by high profile artists Tracey Emin, Vic Reeves, Billy Childish to name but a few with a glitzy guest list in attendance. All funds will go toward opening a Visitor and Learning Centre next spring.

Described time and again as the heartbeat of Margate, Dreamland was one of the UK’s oldest and best-loved amusement parks, as well as being a major entertainment venue. The site included a 16-acre amusement park with a zoo and miniature railway, 2,200-seat purpose built Cinema, cafés, restaurants, bars, shops and a 2,000-capacity ballroom, which has played host to The Who, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Hawkwind to name but a few…

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.

The Dreamland Trust grew out of the 6-year long Save Dreamland Campaign and is made up of a board of volunteer directors with expertise in amusement park planning, tourism, running visitor attractions, heritage and historic cinemas and theatres.

Working in partnership with Thanet District Council, The Dreamland Trust has secured over £3m Heritage Lottery Funding to fully restore Dreamland’s Grade II* listed Scenic Railway, Grade II listed menagerie cages, the historic rides collection and the front entrance and lower ground floor level of the Grade II* listed cinema to match the Sea Change grant and council funding to reinstate the park and its environs. The total amount of funding secured for restoration, construction, rides, landscaping and design is just under £11m.

In October 2012 The Dreamland Trust appointed the multi-award winning HemingwayDesign team, to deliver their vision to create the ‘The World’s First Amusement Park of Thrilling Historic Rides’ with classic side shows, eateries and evocative spaces set within a landscape capable of hosting themed festivals, special events and visiting attractions.

This new visitor attraction for Kent will provide ‘something for everyone’; one that thrills and delights families, groups and individuals who are looking for a great day out; one that reaches out to those who cherish British popular culture and the famous seaside amusement park experience.

The amusement park will be a stage for hosting world-class events and the natural home for major events, national festivals and visiting attractions to celebrate the history of popular British culture of music, youth culture, film and design all year round. The park will become the natural location choice for media, film, music and TV to cover these themes and will stimulate lovers of the arts and design with multi-generational appeal.

During the summer, The Dreamland 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 this year. The Dreamland Trust will shortly be releasing briefs to tender for concessions and leases for the park’s cafes, restaurants, retail units, kiosks and sideshows.

Tickets will be announced shortly for the fundraising auction.

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  1. Sue jordan says:

    So very exciting, have waited so long to walk through the gates once more. Well done Dreamland Trust . 🙂

  2. iHelen Plank says:

    This is so exciting!
    As a child of 5 and 6 and living in Battersea in the 1960s we had our holiday in Margate. The biggest treat of my life was to have the last evening of the holiday with my Dad at Dreamland. I was allowed to go on any ride I wanted, as many times as I wanted, it was of course the scenic railway! I could hook as many ducks as I wanted and would proudly carry around many chalk animals that I won. There was also a stall where you could squeeze different coloured oil paints onto a spinning card to make a psychedelic piece of art! ( I still have one) At the age of 10 we moved to Margate. Oh what joy.
    I spent my life at Dreamland and ended up working there as a teenager. I was an usherette at the cinema and also in the theatre. I was 15 when the Exorcist was shown and we had St John’s ambulance staff sitting in the cinema for every showing because people were fainting or being sick. I was picked to be a judge at ‘Miss Rothman’s Teen Night’ promoting the cigarettes…oh how times change. I also used to dress up in a Micky Mouse or Dumbo the Elephant costume and walk up and down the sea front handing out leaflets for Dreamland.
    Those were the days. Congratulations to everyone for such hard work, passion and dedication.

    I spent my teenage evenings dancing around my handbag at Dreamland Disco,with regular performances from Barry White, Johnny Nash, The Drifters, Mud, The Sweet to name but a few.
    It holds such a special place in my heart

    • Hi Helen,

      Thank you for your kind words of support and sharing those fabulous memories, we particularly like the teen sponsorship story – I don’t think we’ll be adopting that model for Dreamland! Hope to see you at our events soon:)

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