I DEFINITELY wasn't surprised to see that Margate's Cliftonville was voted one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Time Out.
Joining the likes of Colonia Americana in Mexico and Cais do Sodré Lisbon, the neighbourhood was the only one in the UK to make the top 10 in the world.
I'm one of the many who left the city of London for quieter shores last year, and ended up in Margate's Cliftonville.
The seaside resort – dubbed Shoreditch-on-Sea by many due to its abundance of artists and trendy shops which have popped up – is certainly at its busiest during the summer.
Yet despite being outside of the main part of Margate, Cliftonville is the part of town that stays alive all summer when the tourists have gone thanks to the local community.
It has a lot to be proud of, such as the biggest tidal pool in the UK, Walpole Bay Lido, as well as the underground Shell Grotto whose origins still remain a mystery.
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And thanks to ex-Londoners like me flocking to the area, it isn't short of amazing restaurants, bars and cafes either.
I can barely keep up with the number of bars opening nearby – there is Stingray and Taproom, two tiny establishments full of young couples and their dogs no matter the weather.
And at the other end of the road is Daisy and Off License, both with some of the best sea views at sunset and serving their own unique cocktails.
While many of the well-loved restaurants are found in Old Town, including the Italian Sargasso and seafood-heavy Dory's, many are branching out to my neck of the woods such as former pop-up Barletta which is to open their first wine bar and restaurant this year.
Thankfully, Cliftonville isn't short of trendy hotels either, already being home to the Libertine's run Albion Rooms with the new hotel and co-working space Selina opening later this month.
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But what Time Out credited Cliftonville for was the people, calling it "one of the UK’s most thriving artistic communities".
It's certainly something I found moving here, not knowing anyone but finding myself invited to Whatsapp groups and local events such as live bands and art shows.
And you can barely walk a few paces without being tempted in by the smell of locally brewed coffee (the independent cafes vastly outnumbering the high street chains) only to leave after a 30-minute chinwag and a new piece of wall art in your bag.
The latest addition to the art scene to cause excitement is the 17 huge murals across Margate, some nearly four stories high, all painted by local artists on the side of buildings to highlight ocean conservation.
Add in the LGBTQ+ friendly community – with the best vibes at the weekend where crowds fall out of the new queer bar Camp – and I can certainly see why it has it has won its cool points with Time Out.
I've travelled to some of the others on the full list which included other UK neighbourhoods such as Walthamstow in London and the Northern Quarter in Manchester.
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I've also ventured further afield to other winners such as Ubud in Bali and Cais do Sodre in Lisbon – and I think Margate still wins out.
So while it may be a bit chillier than its sunnier counterparts, you'll be hard-pressed not to fall in with the very friendly locals while nursing a seaweed gin and tonic.
Timeout’s top 10 coolest neighbourhoods in the world
- Colonia Americana, Guadalajara, Mexico
- Cais do Sodré, Lisbon, Portugal
- Wat Bo Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Ridgewood, New York City, US
- Mile End, Montreal, Canada
- Barrio Logan, San Diego, USA
- Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, Japan
- Cliftonville, Margate, UK
- Barrio Yungay, Santiago, Chile
- Cours Julien, Marseille, France
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