The great British seaside is the place to be when it’s hot and Margate has become the seaside town of first resort with new figures showing a huge 50 per cent leap in train passengers heading there.
In the past three years, the number of off-peak passengers travelling to the town on Southeastern’s trains has risen by a massive 100,000 – from 219,843 to 329,865*.
The phenomenal rise shows Margate’s really making waves among day-trippers and tourists keen to soak up the sun and enjoy the mix of cultural and leisure activities on offer.
The town has undergone a remarkable revival with the world famous Turner Contemporary and Dreamland opening there.
It was also added to Southeastern’s high speed route in 2010 and it now takes just 90 minutes by train from St Pancras International.
The town, which has a vibrant arts scene, was listed as one of the top 10 world destinations by travel bible Rough Guide in 2011.
But it is not just Margate that is seeing numbers rise – seaside resorts across Kent and East Sussex are becoming ever popular staycation destinations.
For example, Hastings has seen the number of off peak passengers increase from 212, 007 to 250,994 in the same period.
Elsewhere, Whitstable has gone up from 165,015 to 192,180, Herne Bay from 94,445 to 110,909, Broadstairs from 146,942 to 173,863, and Ramsgate from 149,333 to 178,555.
To help meet the rising demand for seaside trips Southeastern is running longer trains between London Victoria to Ramsgate on Saturdays and Sundays until September**.
And people buying a standard Off-Peak Southeastern single or return ticket in advance online up until 24 August will receive a 20 per cent discount.
This is aimed at giving passengers more opportunity to visit, at a reduced price, the huge array of great destinations and hidden gems on the Southeastern network.
Tickets can even be bought on the day of travel, as long as people leave two hours between purchasing online and collecting it from a station ticket machine.
David Statham, Managing Director of Southeastern and Director of VisitKent, said: “Kent and East Sussex have many great places to visit and some amazing seaside towns.
“Margate has become the seaside town of first resort for many and we have seen the number of off-peak travelers going there go up by an incredible amount.
“We are lucky to have so many great places across our network and there are numerous coastal towns across Kent and East Sussex, which are ideal destinations during the summer months.”