Published: 06:00, 02 May 2021
The people of Margate have hit back at claims the town is one of the UK's worst coastal destinations.
Consumer watchdog Which? ranked it the fourth-worst seaside place to visit in the country and slated its scenery and seafront.
Dungeness clinched the top spot in Kent – bagging five stars for peace and quiet.
But more traditional, crowded coastal resorts, such as Margate, seemed to rank poorly.
The town was slapped with one-star reviews for its seafront and pier, scenery and shopping.
Eli Thompson, who runs the Margate Soul Festival and Olby's Soul Cafe and Music Rooms, blasted the survey, saying the town has instead gone "from zero to hero".
He said it offers more than any major city in the country and recommends those surveyed by Which? "do their homework again".
“I would not worry a damn bit about a survey that has taken an instant reaction, which tells me the demographic wasn’t broad enough," he said.
“They need to come back for a month and talk to the real people of Margate to get their experience.
"I’m sure it would be completely different.
“Margate is the entertainment hub of the south east and has so much more to offer than what you see from the outside.
“Margate Soul Festival is an international event and people from across the world come here for that weekend."
The town ranked more favourably for its beach, earning three stars, but received two stars for food and drink, tourist attractions, peace and quiet and value for money.
Margate Central ward councillor Rob Yates (Lab) says he is in "disbelief" that the town could have received such low scores.
"The first thing people notice when getting off at station is the beautiful blue sea, the Margate sands, pastel coloured buildings curving around to the Turner, and elegant Margate Harbour Arm, the lighthouse of which is now featured on our £20 notes," he said.
"Some amazing restaurants have chosen to set up here, such as Angela's seafood restaurant – which is a Green Michelin star restaurant – Bottega Caruso being in the 2021 Michelin Guide, and New Street Bistro.
"As far as tourist attractions we have Dreamland theme park, Turner art gallery, Margate School, Margate Museum, Shell Grotto, Margate Caves, Theatre Royal, Wintergardens, Walpole Bay lido, beautiful coastal paths, Tom Thumb Theatre and Walpole Bay Hotel.
"Margate is a definite five-star location."
Sammy Clarke, who co-runs music venue Elsewhere, says the town is a nice place to visit but not so much when it attracts an influx of visitors.
"Last summer, Margate was heavily oversubscribed so I don’t think it was particularly comfortable," he said.
"A lot of the visitors left trash on the beach because the council doesn’t provide enough bins in peak seasons.
"There is also a lack of public toilets with people urinating everywhere."
Millions of British holidaymakers will be seeking seaside getaways closer to home this summer.
More than 4,061 visitors told Which? about their recent UK trips to seaside towns, villages and resorts.
Destinations were rated on their beaches, attractions, value for money, peace and quiet, and scenery.