Londoners! Take a Half Day Holiday to the Margate Bookie literary festival

In this guest post, walking artist/performer/writer Simon Cole (Half Day Holidays, Hackney Tours and more) explains how you can find a book festival, find inspiration, find connections and even find the beach on their next excursion on Saturday 29 September:

We’re off from London to Margate on a FREE arts experience again. Come and get inspired by open spaces, nature and art on the beach – then have your neurons tickled at the Margate Bookie literary festival!

Before we do though, the journey is a key part of the experience: you’d be amazed how much there is to discover between London and Margate. From Mother Nature to Cold War and naval history, the journey is as much fun as arriving.

The trip is all about being fully immersed in the moment and appreciating the world around us. We might take some photos, we might draw something. We might not! We decide where to find whatever it is we’re looking for…

On arrival, we’ll make our way to the Turner Contemporary to join ‘Walking With Shrines’, led by Elspeth Penfold and the ‘Thread and Word’ group of artists. There’ll be a couple of talks on the art/education projects Lookers Watchers and Container Cult and an explanation of what connects them – and what connects us to the sea and the horizon beyond.

We’ll set a time to rendezvous later over a drink and you’re free to dip into the various great events running at the Margate Bookie including author talks and creative writing workshops. NB. I won’t be coming back to London with you, because there are more capers to be had the next day in Margate.

It’s flexible. It’s fun. And it’s free. Solo travellers are especially welcome and encouraged!

We welcome the arts explorers, the book lovers and the committed curious. See you on the beach?


9:15am – Meet in front of the cafe at Stratford International (this is NOT the tube/Overground/National Rail station). Sort out group tickets etc to get the ticket reduction (bring your railcard if you have that). Or use the Groupsave offer to get 1/3 off for groups or individuals travelling together.

9:32am – Train to Margate and en-route exploration. Find out how the Thames Estuary and Kent coast is a treasure trove of stories and history.

11am – Arrive at Margate and join the walkers and artists at the Turner Contemporary for “Walking With Shrines”.

1:00pm – Regroup for a group wander through the ever-quirky Margate with its book shops, galleries, arcades, vintage/antique shops and more. Or skip out to enjoy the Bookie. We’ll take some photos and go with the group flow as we decide where to go – and what to look at

TBC – Regroup at the Fez in Margate High Street to ‘debrief’ over a beer, or continue to enjoy the offerings of the Bookie.

3:00pm – Join us outside the Turner Contemporary for a short storytelling event about ‘Margate Ships’, part of the Lookers Watchers project. Find out what the ships off Margate are up to: where they go, what they carry, who works on them and much, much more.

c. 6:30pm – Meet up for a tipple to share tales of literary seaside adventures.

Last train home c. 9:20pm

Interested? Get in touch with Half Day Holidays on and follow us on Twitter.

Simon Cole

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