Dreamland Margate

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A heritage site
The vision
Heritage assets
New housing development
The Dreamland cinema
Dreamland cinema
A new neighbourhood
Derelict site
Our vision brings the derelict site back to life and places Margate firmly back on the map with a vibrant cultural and amusement hub along with new quality housing. The site’s origin as an amusement park dates from the 1860s but it was first named Dreamland back in 1919. Its owner, John Henry Iles, who was inspired by Coney Island, purchased the European rights to the Scenic Railway and started work on the construction of the grade II Listed rollercoaster the same year.

The rollercoaster ride opened to the public in 1920 with great success, carrying half a million passengers in its first year. The Dreamland cinema was also a major attraction for the public and continued to be successful in the 1970’s, it finally closed its’ doors in 2007.

The aim for the development is to continue to provide a quintessentially British visitor attraction by maintaining the rollercoaster and amusement programmes whilst developing a residential development alongside, comprising of high quality terraced houses.

A mixed-use scheme with the heritage assets protected and re-used, a new cultural hub in the important Dreamland cinema and a new residential neighbourhood for inspirational purchasers will all play a part in this exciting concept to regenerate Margate.

The new houses are designed to attract a range of occupiers and increase the potential for much needed investment within Margate town centre. The units are arranged in clusters of low scale houses and maisonettes of no more than four storeys.

The heritage assets such as the rustic wall, the former menagerie enclosures, animal cages, the Scenic Railway and the Dreamland Cinema will all be preserved and reused. New public spaces will form part of the landscape and a number of new dwellings will rejuvenate the Kent town.

Three listed buildings sit on the site, which will all be repaired and reused to provide and promote activity within Margate for 12 months of the year. The grade II Listed Dreamland Cinema will be brought back into use as a major cultural and artistic hub. The building is to be adapted to form a complex with a variety of uses and renamed ‘Dreamland Studios’. The heritage features that lie within will be preserved along with the organ the organ, circular staircases and first floor rooms at the front. The remainder of the complex will be adapted to accommodate an Art gallery, recording studios, a radio shack, artists’ studios, a performance space, a café, a conference and events space as well as artist studios.

Half of the site area will consist of the ‘Dreamland Park’, which offers a number of features including a secure Scenic and Heritage rides area that is carefully designed to provide security without giving the impression of exclusion. It also includes a large landscaped public park providing a much improved setting for two of the listed assets: the rustic wall - menagerie enclosures - animal cages and the Scenic Railway.

In addition to this, the landscape finishes are designed to accommodate fairs, visiting heritage rides and other temporary attractions. This ability to support a number of temporary events is one of the main aims of the development and temporary power and water points will ensure that this space can attract a variety of uses.

Back to projects
A vision to reignite Dreamland
Dreamland Margate
Marine Terrace
Margate CT9 1XJ


Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company


RIBA Stages

Proposed use

Site history

Former amusement park until 2007

Site area


Gross internal area


Number of dwellings




Plot ratio


Construction value