Sea Bathing Machine

“We kept hearing that the ‘seasons’ affected local trade so significantly and we wanted a way to make Margate and our beaches a destination all year round. Inspired by the saunas of Reykjavik we wanted to create a concept that could be duplicated and used around the coastline of the UK, not just Thanet.”

Dom Bridges, Founder of Haeckels.


Back in 2014 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to build a Sea Bathing Machine. With incredible support from around the world we raised over £30k. Each of the donors’ names has been laser-engraved onto the side of the machine. This generated a lot of interest including George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on Channel Four back in 2015 and several magazine features but most importantly it captured the imaginations of our neighbours and customers.

It was created as a gift for the town, a place to encourage Margate residents to experience the benefits of cold water swimming and getting people into the water in winter. The history of original sea bathing machines is deep rooted in Margate and this was another way to revisit the history of the town.

The sauna has been operating full time since 2018 after being granted a temporary licence for usage on Margate Main Sands. Since 2020, the sauna is now based at Walpole Bay, adjacent to the tidal pool and is open daily to the public.

One of the key features was that we wanted it to be free. We believe that coastal wellbeing isn’t about making money, it’s about instilling values that promote a healthier way of living and a better way of doing things. The sauna is completely free to use, anyone is welcome to come in. We ask if you can contribute towards the costs for rent, fuel and maintenance needed via our Paypal.

Our community sauna is for everyone, we want everyone to enjoy it and experience the benefits of cold water therapy. The sauna brings different communities together, removes social barriers and encourages conversation. Since opening, we’ve heard many stories about the friendships founded inside the sauna and you see this still today. By creating a truly free space anyone can exist in, it transcends age, nationality and class. Anyone can cross the threshold and that is what creates the difference inside.

Come find us on the beach, we can’t wait to meet you.

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