The campaign to save Dreamland came to fruition with the reopening of the park in June 2015
After many years of campaigning to save the Dreamland site from redevelopment, and successful funding bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Department for Culture Media and Sport’s Sea Change Scheme, the Dreamland restoration project went live in January 2010, appointing a professional team to deliver The Dreamland Trust’s vision for a reimagined Dreamland. However, the battle was not over.
Due to delays and complications around land transfer, the council and The Dreamland Trust entered into an extended public inquiry, followed by a lengthy legal challenge in the High Court and Court of Appeal, for the council’s Compulsory Purchase Order of the Dreamland site.
The Dreamland Trust appointed multi-disciplinary designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE and the Hemingway Design team to bring forward the branding and design scheme creating the look, feel, sound and taste of Dreamland.
In September 2013, Dreamland transferred into the council’s ownership, securing the future of the park. Over 2300 members of the public celebrated this significant milestone by attending an open day in November 2013, which included raising £25,000 at a celebrity art auction. These funds were used to open the Visitor & Learning Arcade and Dreamland Expo: a past, present and future, in May 2014, which welcomed more than 30,000 visitors in its first four months.
On 19 June 2015, the reimagined Dreamland Amusement Park reopened, operated by Sands Heritage Ltd. This pivotal moment demonstrated how effective a passionate group of volunteers can be in really making things happen – in this case, bringing back an iconic attraction from dereliction.
The Dreamland restoration project is ongoing, with work having been carried out on the Scenic Railway, Historic Rides Collection, internal spaces, archiving, learning and engagement programmes. There is a bright future ahead for the reimagined Dreamland and the community of Margate.
In May 2016, Dreamland’s operators – Sands Heritage Limited (SHL) - went into administration. The park, however, remained open, while the administrators, Duff & Phelps, who had turned around the fortunes of Fantasy Island in Skegness, took over and, working alongside the existing management team, worked hard to secure a positive and sustainable future for Dreamland.
Following a £25 million investment from Arrowgrass Capital Partners, secured by SHL, the park opened in May 2017 with a completely updated and re-landscaped space that brings together historic rides, set against a backdrop of interactive art installations, adventurous street food and an eclectic programme of live events. The Dreamland restoration project is ongoing, with work having been carried out on the Scenic Railway, Historic Rides Collection, internal spaces, archiving, learning and engagement programmes.
There is a bright future ahead for the reimagined Dreamland and the community of the Isle of Thanet.
Dreamland saw nine new rides installed in the park in 2018, including the Dreamland Drop, a shoot up and drop down ride giving visitors a 360 degree view out over Dreamland and Margate and the popular Pendulum ride which is based on Dreamlands iconic Mary Rose ride of the 1980’s.
The “Pinball X” rollercoaster was welcomed to the park, with its steep drops and coaches that spin and whirl from side to side and the iconic “Air Force” which gives riders an acrobatic plane ride – including dives and loops, creating a sense of weightlessness when you’re in the air. For the younger visitors to the park, the child friendly “Up and Away” balloon ride also arrived in 2018.A series of new music events were staged at Dreamland in 2018, including one of the UK’s top SKA and reggae festivals, Dreamland X One Love Festival, in the indoor Hall by the Sea. Indie rockers The Rifles performed at Dreamland in August 2018 and Trojan Sound System celebrated its 50th birthday at the park.
This year also saw a £25 million investment from company Arrowgrass, which bought up the shares of the operating firm. The investment saw a re-landscaping of the park, vintage rides restoration and the introduction of contemporary street food, eclectic bars and a magnificent main stage.The new plans, which included Wi-Fi across the park, a treetop bar, a 15 metre festival-style bar and an expanded [street food] dining offering, saw a revamped park reopen for the new season on May 26.
In 2019 the Dreamland Trust celebrated its 10th year since inauguration following the Save Dreamland campaign. It was also one of Dreamland’s most successful years since reopening, welcoming more than 700,000 visitors to the park throughout the season.The park was now free-to-enter after the admission charge was scrapped.Easter 2019, Dreamland kicked off the new season, linking up with Camp Bestival, whose famed art installations were dotted around the park, creating a buoyant atmosphere on site and welcoming more than 11,000 visitors in one day alone over the Easter weekend!After a difficult 2018, Dreamland certainly had the spring back in its step.The Happy Mondays headlined Dreamland’s Scenic Stage on Saturday 13th July with support from acid house and techno pioneers, 808 State and one of the UK’s biggest dance-pop acts, Rudimental lit up Dreamland’s Scenic Stage on Saturday 27th July, with support from Swing.Halloween saw the return of Screamland, the terrifying scare-fest which saw the park team up with the masters of classic Hammer house of Horror to design a series of terrifying mazes with face-to-face encounters with some of 'horror's most infamous monsters', testing the nerves of visitors in every possible way.The year ended with the park being transformed into a magnificent winter Wonderland, with dazzling fairy light walks, a winter market with festive food and drinks, yuletide crafts, free festive film screenings, Christmas trees, wreath making and also a special giant Snow Globe that guests could climb inside