Around the UK: a Photo Diary #1 Kent, The Garden of England

A series of photos from our travels around the UK (not necessarily in the van…) I’ve tried to include lesser known spots – maybe give you some ideas of new places and attractions to visit?

The UK is not only our home, it’s also a very beautiful island with so many beauty spots, amazing beaches and interesting attractions in every nook and cranny of the country (in both rural and urban settings).

Here I’m collating some of my favourite photos from our travels around the country over the years.  I’ve tried to include slightly less well known places (although it’s impossible to not include some of the big hitters!), and tbf the majority of the photos are from our travels in 2017 – I think I’ll have to do a separate post for ‘all other photos’!

Maybe this could give you some ideas of places to visit or walks to take in the coming months of staycationing – some of the places I show may well be within striking distance for you to take a daytrip for your regular walk.

However you use this post I hope you enjoy the photos, and perhaps are able to find a new favourite place to visit 🙂

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We loved old Hastings.  Obviously much of what we experienced (such as the cliff trams and the fisherman’s museum) will not be open in the current environment.  However, you can still walk and see much of what we did.  The country park at the top of the cliff provides a delightful walk and is well worth the effort 🙂

See my original posts on the area for more detail (such as what the structures behind the boats are)

Hastings

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Battle Abbey is an English Heritage property whilst Bodiam Castle is National Trust – if you are taking a prolonged trip around the UK (when we are able to again) it’s worth joining both organisations;  It saved us a huge amount of money on our 2017 trip 🙂

For more detail see my original posts:

Battle

Bodiam

Steam Trains

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No photos of Dover Castle??!!  Well, when you can Dover Castle is an absolute MUST visit (English Heritage).  However, as promised, I’ve gone with a couple of lesser known sites.  The sound mirror is visible on a walk along the top of the cliffs – those steps leading towards it on the left-hand side of the photo?  They are really steep!  I was literally clambering up them (and was quite (okay, very) scared at times…)

Ringwauld was a little further around the coast – we spotted the church and turned around.  We had a little walk round and discovered a bit of history 🙂  We also followed a small sign (again, almost missed) near the castle to see the plaque dedicated to the first cross channel flight.  Again, easy access and a short walk is possible here.

More detail available in my original posts:

Dover

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The Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel le Ferne, nr Folkestone is a wonderful visit.  I think the memorial will be accessible even when the visitor centre isn’t (it’s certainly worth checking) and a short walk is possible here.  Wonderful views and plenty of history too 🙂

There is a long seafront promenade at Sandgate which takes you past a small castle.

More detail in my original Dover post

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Rye is a beautiful town and Dungeness is a very unusual English landscape.  Both are well worth a visit and lots of walking is possible.  Rye Harbour is a nature reserve with plenty of paths to walk or cycle with several points of interest along the way, such as the haunting Mary Stanford Lifeboat house.

We found the Brightling Follies walk in one of our walking books, ‘The AA 100 Walks in Southeast England‘ – again something you can follow during lockdown 🙂

More detail in my original post:

Review of Charming Rye, East Sussex

Dungeness

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Winchelsea is a tiny town with a massive history.  There is a clue is the size of the church, even without taking into account the ruins surrounding the current structure.  There are regular tours of the Winchelsea Cellars (not all 51, but apparently different ones feature in different tours).

We also took the opportunity to visit an English Vineyard; Carr Taylor was a few miles down the road from where we were staying.  Offering a tour of the vineyard (you can go anywhere!) for £2.50 (including wine tasting and information).  We could have paid a little more and enjoyed a ploughmans lunch as well – we didn’t go for this though as I don’t really enjoy that sort of lunch!  The tasting was very informative and really rather enjoyable (I wasn’t driving so was able to make the most of it!)  Our favourite was the sparkling rose which was the best I’ve ever had (proven by the fact that we went away having spent about £130 – I think I’m splashing out if I spend £5 on a bottle….)

More detail in my original posts:

Winchelsea

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Other visits included Scotney Castle & Sissingshurst – both National Trust properties.  Both were lovely but I think we both preferred Scotney Castle – there’s quite a story to be told here and the gardens are beautiful (as they are at Sissinghurst).

More detail in my original post:

Sissinghurst

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The Rough Guide to Kent, Sussex and Surrey detail the medieval churches of the Romney Marshes.  One cloudy afternoon we decided to try to visit the 5 they recommended.  (Our copy is from 2013 – there has been an update since with a new edition due out on 1st June.  We find these books invaluable when touring).

It appears that I didn’t write about this when we visited (I shall keep looking!)

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Another day we found Sandwich – a beautiful little town with plenty of history, a town trail to follow and, of course, a world-renowned golf course.  And also 3 sets of alms houses 🙂

There is a great deal of Roman history in Kent, including monuments and crosses by the side of the road and also the Richborough Roman Fort, run by English Heritage.

More detail in my original post:-

Sandwich

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On our 1st visit to Canterbury the price to visit the cathedral put us off, but we went anyway on our 2nd visit – and were glad we did 🙂

We stayed in Herne Bay and were able to cycle along the promenade to Whitstable.  Plenty of walking and cycling opportunities here.

More detail in my original post:

Canterbury Herne Bay/Whitstable

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In North Kent we visited Rochester, Chatham Docks, Whitstable and the Isle of Sheppey (we won’t go there again…) from our base in Herne Bay.

We absolutely loved Rochester – the only problem being that we didn’t put enough money in the parking meter and had to abandon our visit to the town museum about halfway through 😦  It was one of those really informative town museums that very few people think to visit.  The castle, cathedral (the UK’s 2nd oldest and one of the smallest) and the museum all absolutely worth visiting.

Chatham Docks – I missed out on the Call the Midwives tour (an extra cost but 1 that I was willing to pay!!)  The ticket is expensive but lasts a year (great if you live in the area – not so good if you don’t).

Below are some links to posts not mentioned above but that may cover more detail of this area.  Also a link to my campsite reviews for this area.

My next post will deal with photos from our time in East Anglia.

Keep safe and I really hope to start posting new content again soon 🙂

East Sussex, Kent & Surrey

Our 1st 3 months away in the UK in 2017

Back on the Road – 2017

Easter Weekend – 2017

Campsite reviews – East Sussex & Kent

 

 

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Back on the Road – and so the UK tour begins :)

Yesterday we thought we were leaving Bosham for Rye, then we didn’t as we realised that we weren’t booked in until today.   Only today we realised that we were actually booked in for yesterday, 10th, but we decided that the 10th was today….

We are, quite literally, struggling to know what day it actually is!

Anyway we, belatedly, left Kia Ora this morning and Calv decided we would follow the A259, as far as possible, along the coast.  This was rather lovely for most of the way as the sun was shining and, being the Easter holidays, there were lots of people out and about enjoying the sunshine.

We stopped in Brighton for a walk and some lunch and it was very busy (even though the photo above makes it long empty).  It’s no longer free to park along the seafront, as Calv remembers; it’s now £2 for an hour and £4.20 for 2 hours.

After leaving Brighton we were held up by various roadworks and an accident where a bus had taken out a traffic light in Peacehaven.

Despite this we were glad we went this way as we saw areas that we desperately want to re-visit, such as the area near Birling Gap with a winding river, where we’ll be able to put the kayak in.  We must buy those wetsuits soon!

We finally arrived at our site, The Cock Inn at Peasmarsh.

Hmmm… Our intention had been to stay here for 9 nights.  We spent that 1st night looking for somewhere else.  First thing the next morning we set off 3 miles down the road to have a look at a site I’d found.  So much better for us, so on we moved.  Our new site has peacocks and peahens as well as the obligatory chickens!

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Once settled we set off to see Rye in the afternoon.  What a lovely surprise this charming little town is!  (I have a funny feeling that ‘charming’ may be a much overused word in the coming months!!)

It is, indeed, ancient – as noted on the town signs.  If you want to know more about it then read my review here.

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Today, Thursday 13th April, we sat in the sun and cleaned the van in the morning and then, after a lunch of salad (yes, for me too!) we headed out to explore a little more of the surrounding area.

We drove through some beautiful little villages, looking out at scenery with numerous oast houses with their distinctive conical roofs, topped with a white angled cone, white boarded traditional houses, fields of rapeseed, sheep and glimpses of bulrushes, denoting water even where we couldn’t see it. What we don’t see are many abandoned buildings (although there have been a couple of tumbledown farm buildings); any available barns and oasthouses have long been converted to substantial dwellings.

We crossed the steam railway just before Bodiam (within easy reach of the castle).  The Tenterden to Bodiam steam line runs to here.  A train was just about to depart which meant the gates were being closed by the station master (apparently along the route the driver jumps out and closes and opens them himself!)  He tried to wave us through, but as if we were going to miss this!  So we watched the train depart and can’t wait to take a trip on it ourselves 🙂

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The steam train waiting to leave Bodiam Station – TurnrightoutofPortsmouth

After visiting a motorhome sales centre (very disappointing range available) and trying to visit a reservoir (inaccessible) we decided to visit Battle.

We re-joined English Heritage as we entered the Abbey, and began our visit.  Please see my separate review for details.  Needless to say this is a wonderful attraction and we would highly recommend it.  Very informative and the way the information is presented is excellent.

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Even if you aren’t a member of English Heritage I would suggest that it is well worth the entry price.

I have written a separate review of Battle Abbey & Battlefield.