Kent and East Sussex. Approx 200 miles approx.

HMS Cavalier - a preserved WW2 Destroyer

Crossing the Dartford Bridge ove the River Thames the first point of interest on the Kent coast is strictly not coastal, but esturial.

Hugging the southern reaches of the Medway estuary is Chatham and Chatham boasts one of the most historic dockyards in this sceptred Isle of ours.

Chatham's contribution to Britains "wooden walls", including the most famous first rate Wooden hulled sail ship of the lot, HMS Victory, was enormous and the dockyard is well worth a visit.

Three generations of Warships are preserved at Chatham as well as many original buidings including the huge rope walk and covered boatyards. A great day out.

Looking towards the huge covered shipyard, now a museum, and in mid-distance the preserved submarine HMS Ocelot

Leysdown Beach

Leaving Chatham heading South is the Isle of Sheppey.  Frankly a large, buit-on mudflat.  It has a couple of historic towns, Sheerness and Minster,  lots of caravan sites, a large featureless beach at  Laysdown, a Prison and a large Morrisons supermarket with cheap fuel in case of the need to do a runner.


After escaping from Sheppey the next port of call is the delightful harbour of Whitstable.

Whitstable is famous for it's Oysters but in fact the busy harbour is home to fish stalls selling every type of shellfish.

It is quite a modern harbour, dating from the middle of the 19th century, established mostly to help the good burghers of Canterbury have a local seaport through which to ply their trade.


Just down the coast though there is something just a little older.




Very nice clean beaches abound in this area

First it was a Roman fort, then a Saxon church, then a Monastry, then a look-out station and now the ruins are left as a shipping landmark. Whatever it is the ruins of Reculver and the peace of the country park that surrounds it are lovely, a peaceful, pleasant place to be away from the booming traffic of the main Thanet highway.


After passing through the delightful Herne bay so the Isle of Thanet, and it's three resorrt town of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate is reached.

This South-Eastern tip of the UK is best known for its boarding houses and clank of bucket and spades but it is not all seaside and candyfloss.

Joss bay

I have some grim memories of visits here as a child. I was pleasantly surprised by the clean beaches and the many opportunities to get away from the hordes of tourist traffic that clog up every road in the area.

Moving on from Margate the scenery becomes quite flat, past the now inland but once coastal port of Sandwich, to probably one of the most iconic parts of Britain: the white cliffs of Dover.

White cliffs National trust site

The shingle expanse of Dungeness

Dover, and it's Neighbour, Folkestone, are busy and in many ways unattractive ferry ports.


Fortunately much of the surrounding countryside, and especially those white cliffs, are protected by the national trust and the parkland, cafe, visitor stop above the port gives fabulous views over ro France on a clear day.

Moving Westwards now, past the equally busy port of Folkestone, and the wide exapanse of Romney bay with it's picturesque small towns and  miniature railway provide a pleasant backdrop to an otherwise featurelss and monotonous vista.

On guard Albert!

The monotony is broken by the shingle expanse of Dungeness. The shingle seems to go for miles, a wasteland of isolation, eery in fog, and dominated by the Nuclear power station.


This has always been a threatened coastline,  William the Conqueror came ashore a few miles westwards, and defences against a later foe, Napoleon, still remain in the form of circular Martello towers.


Named after the Italian engineer who designed them as fortifications to protect the port of Genoa these structures were proof against heavy cannonades and would have been a daunting obstacle to an invading army.


Continuing Westwards and past the sweeping expanses of Camber sands with it's miles of holiday chalet's, pontins, pubs and dross and the picturesque inland town of Rye is reached, before the coast continues along the heavily wooded fairlight bay to Hastings.


Hastings gets quite a bad rap off a lot of people but I like it.


It has something for everyone, a huge country park to the west, a nice promenade, a lovely shopping centre, the statutory tacky amusements. It's busy though, a residential as well as a holiday town and this is the story from now on in.

The road now continues through Pevesnsey, Normans bay, to Eastbourne and it is crowded, busy and the traffic is a constant reminder that this is one of the most populated and congested parts of the UK.

Leaving Eastbourn there is a pleasant interlude as the main road can be left for the green fields of Beachy head.

Beauty head, the lighthouse mid distance through the gloom of a miserable wet day.

The Seven Sisters extending towards Seaford and Brighton

After Beachy head the road drops down into Birling Gap, a welcome National trust car park and visitor stop. 

Here a platform extends to allow views of the series of chalk cliffs known as the Seven Sisters.

After that...

Its urban sprawl and traffic crawl into the large, cosmopolitan, bustling city of Brighton.


Journeys end for this section and not the most pleasant of ends either.


However, I am now going home for the next sextion, West Sussex, is home, and a lovely home it is too.


Albert!  Home!


Next section: W. Sussex and Hants.