Margate’s iconic tidal pool is getting a spectacular glow-up

The plans are part of a £22 million scheme to regenerate the popular seaside town

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton
Contributing writer
Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, Margate
Photograph: Shutterstock

Covering a whopping four acres (the same as seven football pitches), Margate’s grade II-listed Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is the largest of its kind in the UK and a favourite among keen freshwater swimmers. But at over 80-years-old, it’s due a revamp. 

Early plans to give the the pool and the area around it a new lease of life have recently been revealed by Thanet Council. The project will cost a hefty £1.8m and include a new pavilion, improved pool access and a restoration of the pool’s currently-broken 1930s lift. 

It’s hoped that the renovations, which are part of the £22 million Margate Town Deal agreed back in 2021, will bring opportunities for art classes, yoga classes, festivals and more. Current proposals for the pavilion include a café and wellbeing space, plus changing rooms, outdoor showers, toilets and lockers.

Mark Attmore, from Curl La Tourelle Architects, said: ‘The project aim is to bring more users to Walpole and have a pavilion that serves existing users and encourages more people to come to the tidal pool which is one of the largest in the UK and Europe.

‘Part of this engagement is to find out what people would like the space to be, so there are cakes and tea at the café, and that’s part of wellbeing, and then the flexible, bookable venue that could be for exercise classes, educational purposes, community groups, rock pool search programmes or arts, craft, parties, community use.’

If planning permission is given by next summer, the new and improved attraction could open by summer 2025. 

Time Out’s take 

Margate has really been having a moment of late – and by ‘of late’, we mean the last decade or so. Loads of Londoners have been abandoning city life in favour of its seafront, it starred in a big Hollywood movie and its buzzing Cliftonville quarter was named Time Out’s coolest UK neighbourhood for 2022.

Alongside the plans for Walpole Bay, Margate’s Westbrook Bay is getting spruced up by artist Tracey Emin and a £1m skate park is being built in Cliftonville. But don’t wait around for those – here’s our list of all the best things to do in the seaside town, curated by local experts. 

Oh, and if you’re a fan of Walpole tidal pool, check out the other spots that made our list of the best outdoor pools in the UK

Did you see that this theme park is getting the UK’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster?

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