Brighton, Manchester and London. As the UK’s queer capitals go, these three cities spring to most people’s minds – they’re home to large LGBTQIA+ communities, an array of dedicated spaces, and queer-specific support networks and organisations. While the glittery Pride bashes of Edinburgh, Birmingham and Belfast make them close contenders, a seaside town in Kent is quickly emerging as a new favourite queer destination: Margate.
Known for its sandy beaches and historic funfair, a queer presence has been felt in Margate for decades, with more and more of the community heading to its shores over the years. But despite pop-up events, eclectic local talent and a Pride weekend, the town has been lacking in permanent queer venues. Sundowners held the fort alone in the town centre for nearly two decades, until CAMP – an aptly named crowdfunded bar in Cliftonville – opened its doors last summer.