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The Isle of Rydesgate needs you!

29-30 Cross Street,
PO33 2LL


  • Twin Towns: Ryde and Ramsgate unofficially ‘twinned’ this summer as part of imaginative commission by Historic England and Mooch to celebrate both historic coastal towns
  • Free exhibition: ‘The Isle of Rydesgate’ fantasy model village is coming to high street locations in Ramsgate (23 June – 10 July) and Ryde (17 July – 8 August)
  • Get involved: 3D models of local buildings drawn by volunteers will populate a giant map of the imaginary island – folk of all ages invited to colour in and design new shops for Rydesgate
  • Craft kits can be collected locally or requested – drop in or post back your completed building for it to become part of the display, which will grow during its exhibition on Ramsgate High Street and then travel to Ryde
  • Images available to download:

This summer a pop-up fantasy model village is coming to Ramsgate and Ryde high street locations, and you’re invited! People of all ages are being asked to unleash their creativity and reimagine their local high street – from designing their own shop to re-thinking how town centres could be improved for residents, shop owners and visitors.

Ryde on the Isle of Wight and Ramsgate in Kent have been unofficially ‘twinned’ by Historic England and creative firm Mooch as part of a national cultural programme celebrating our humble high streets.
Inspired by Ramsgate’s old model village, which opened at West Cliff in 1953 and closed in 2003, the best of both towns is being blended to create ‘the Isle of Rydesgate’ – a fantasy model village for the 21st century.

Free exhibition

A free exhibition of 3D model buildings – hand-drawn by volunteers – will populate a giant map of Rydesgate, growing as the exhibition continues. It will open in Ramsgate at 46 High Street on 23 June before transferring to 29-30 Cross Street in Ryde on 17 July.


23 June – 10 July
46 High Street, Ramsgate, CT11 9AG

17 July – 8 August
29-30 Cross Street, Ryde, PO33 2LL

Get involved

Take part and colour in the Isle of Rydesgate! We want to fill our model high street with your ideas for the future of our historic town centres.
Craft packs are now available to collect locally from the Visitor Information at Ramsgate Harbour, Ryde location TBC or request to be posted to you via Mooch’s website or Facebook. We want participants to colour in and create your very own shopfront using one of our templates. Craft packs include:

  • Instructions and information on the project
  • One of 12 building designs to colour in
  • Colouring pencils
  • Free returns envelope

Using the pencils in the pack, create your fantasy shopfront and tell us what inspired your design and what your new business will sell or do. When finished, post back or return to Mooch to make up your model and add it to the exhibition!
Send your design in as soon as possible if you are returning your templates by post or alternatively, drop in the exhibition on our open days to join in. Further details on open days available:


Ramsgate-local Theresa Smith, founder of artist practice Mooch, is working with local residents, building enthusiasts, and students at Broadstairs College from the East Kent College Group to create the templates, build the models and help run the exhibitions, alongside Mooch’s Kickstart-funded studio assistant.
In Ryde, the exhibition is being supported by Ryde Arts and Shademakers are hosting it as one of the first event in ‘Department’, the repurposed Elizabeth Packs Store on Cross Street, Ryde, which has received grant aid from the High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme to allow it to reopen as an arts venue.

Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programmes and Campaigns at Historic England, said: “The Isle of Rydesgate is a fun way to think about what we find on the high street currently, what may be missing and what we’d like to see improve. By combining people’s favourite bits of both historic coastal towns and letting imaginations run wild we hope the exhibition proves a talking point, as well as offering an opportunity for some mindful colouring-in!”

Theresa Smith, Mooch founder, said: “To work on a national commission for Historic England is very special, especially for someone that lives in a town that is just rammed with beautiful and quirky buildings. I hope the Isle of Rydesgate allows people to appreciate and re-imagine these historic structures and I look forward to seeing all the fantasy shopfronts come to life. You don’t have to be in Ramsgate to join in, just be a fan of Ramsgate, or Ryde, and want to do something fun that connects these very similar coastal resort towns!”

The Isle of Rydesgate is one of six Twin Towns commissions that are part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.