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Back To The Future - The Best Retro Places To Stay And Play (Part 1)

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As the fashion world is swept up by nostalgia, we check out the best Retro places to stay and play

When the Turner Contemporary gallery opened in Margate last year, it didn’t just entice a run of art-loving hipsters to Tracey Emin’s childhood stomping ground. It also encouraged a clutch of specialist vintage stores to spring up in this formerly neglected corner of Kent.

Boutiques like Madam Popoff (enq madampopoff.com), which sells ‘fabulous garments from the vaults of time for the sassy guys and gals of the present’, and Etcetera (enq etcetera-online.co.uk), which stocks 20th-century design classics for the home, couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate setting.

Description: the Turner Contemporary gallery, in Margate

the Turner Contemporary gallery, in Margate

In its early-20th-century heyday, Margate was one of the most fashionable resorts in England, before becoming all but a ghost town after cheap package holidays opened up Europe’s more reliably sun-soaked resorts to the great British public. But recent regeneration, spurred on by the opening of the Turner, has hauled Margate back into vogue as a seaside retreat, just in time to capitalize on the fashion for nostalgic holidays.

Now there are 1930s-style tearooms, World War II-themed festivals, decadent urban bars masquerading as speakeasies and 1950s rental homes so perfectly conserved they might almost have been pickled in aspic. If you want your downtime to come with a delicate close of retro style, you won’t have to travel far to holiday like it’s 1929, ‘49 or’ 69 this summer.

With the economic climate leaving us Brits clamouring for some post-austerity glamour, it’s little wonder that the biggest travel trend of summer is one that was us all itching to recreate the days when men were men and women were corsets.

But treat carefully in those Winklepickers – the vintage vacation is all about sophistication. Forget the penchant for colourul 1950s. Americana that took hold during spring, or the twee teapots-and-trifle approach that swept our green and pleasant (and bunting-strewn) land in the lead-up to the Queen’s Jubilee. If you want a truly on-trend holiday, take a tip from next season’s fashion collections and opt for grown-up glamour.

From old-school Hollywood elegance at Marios Schwab to models channeling Marlene Dietrich’s 1940s brio at Donna Karan come the autumn our wardrobes will be bowing under the weight of tailored gowns, pinstripes and pillbox hats. Add to that Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming The Great Gatsby, in the manner of Ralph Lauren’s s/s 2012 collection, and the year is going to end in a sea of retro glamour.

In the meantime, get a taste for the nostalgic lifestyle first-hand. Or, as Louis Vuitton so elegantly demonstrated at Paris Fashion Week, strike your best turn-of-the-last-century pose and climb aboard a classic train. Your destination? Here’s our pick of the vintage crop.

Description: Claridgies, London

Claridgies, London

Home store, Hastings

Burgh Island Hotel, Devon

The Savoy, London

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