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Friday, 1 July 2022

I have been to ... the East Kent coast

Yesterday, Sue and I returned from spending three days on the East Kent coast. We stayed in a hotel (the Blue Pigeons) in Worth, a small village between Sandwich and Deal, which is famous for being the supposed birthplace of Horatio Hornblower.

We went there to celebrate Sue's birthday and because we have been thinking of selling our present house and moving to somewhere in the Sandwich/Deal area, and although we have been to that part of Kent on day trips, we wanted to some spend some time exploring the area in order to get a 'feel' for what it might be like to live there.

The hotel was in the centre of the village ...

The Blue Pigeons Hotel and Restaurant, Worth, Kent.

... and was opposite the parish church, St Peter & St Paul's Church.

St Peter & St Paul's Church, Worth, Kent.

After settling into our room and unpacking, Sue and I went for a walk around the centre of Worth. We started by visiting the church.

The Lychgate.
The 'Pepper Pot' spire, which replaced the original square tower when the church was restored during the nineteenth century.
The nave.
The altar, the east window (which is dated 1882), and the triptych. The latter is unusual as it depicts the Resurrection, with Christ rising in the centre, supported by Old Testament figures to the left and New Testament figures to the right. The church's patron saints are depicted and opposite ends of the triptych..
The font.

After the church, we had a look at the village's war memorial, which is somewhat unusual in that it does not follow the common 'Cross of Sacrifice' design.

Worth's war memorial.

Just behind the war memorial is the village duckpond, and we spent a very relaxing few minutes just sitting next to it, watching the ducks.

The village duck pond. The back of the war memorial can be seen to the right.

We spent the rest of the day in the hotel and ate dinner in its restaurant.

After breakfast on Tuesday morning, Sue and I drove the short distance to Deal. We parked near to Deal Castle and went for a walk through the town centre.

After doing some retail therapy (including buying a small surprise present for Sue's birthday) and having a drink in the local branch of Costa Coffee, we returned to visit the castle.

Deal Castle, as seen from its car park. The 'Tudor Rose' design of this low, artillery fortress is very obvious from this point of view.

We made our way through the castle's main gate ...

... and spent the first part of our visit exploring its battlements and exterior gun positions.

A reproduction of a typical cannon from the Tudor period. Guns like this would have formed part of the castle's main armament.
A 32-pounder smoothbore cannon from the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century. These formed the castle's main armament during the period of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

We then entered the castle's main citadel, which contains a number of displays that tell the history of Deal Castle.

A display showing the coats of arms of some of the people who have serves as Captains of Deal Castle.

Our next stop was another castle ... Walmer Castle! This is located a few miles further south along the coast and was built at the same time are Deal Castle. It served as the home of the Warden of the Cinque Ports, and over the years has been extended as it lost its military role and became a residence.

Walmer Castle's main entrance.

As we had at Deal, we explored the exterior of the castle first.

More 32-pounder smoothbore cannon!
Walmer Castle's position gave it commanding views of the coast. It formed part of a linked chain of coastal defences that included Deal Castle and Sandown Castle, as well as a number off smaller gun batteries.
The castle's original raison d'etre as heavy artillery fortress is obvious from this photograph.
Although the castle has been remodelled quite extensively over the years to make it suitable to be the residence of the Warden of the Cinque Ports rather than to perform a military function ...
... its original 'Tudor Rose' design ...
... is still very obvious.

Sue and I then went inside and looked at the various exhibits, many of which are dedicated to one of the most famous Warden of the Cinque Ports, The Duke of Wellington.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was at one time Warden of the Cinque Ports, and the gardens were extensively remodelled during her tenure.
Wellington's boots!
Wellington died in the yellow chair in the centre of this photograph. He always slept on the narrow campaign bed next to it.

Sue and I finished our visit by having afternoon tea in the castle's café. We then returned to Worth to get ready to go out to dinner that evening.

We ate in Deal, at a restaurant named Dunkerley's, ...

...which is close to Deal Pier.

After an excellent meal, we returned to Worth and enjoyed a very good night's sleep!

On Wednesday morning we set out to explore Sandwich, which was even closer to Worth than Deal is. We parked near to the Town Hall and walked through to the square where the local market is held every Thursday and Saturday.

The square has the Town Hall on one side of it ...

... and the Sandwich sandwich shop along one of the other sides.

We then went for a stroll around the town, passing the war memorial outside St Peter's Church ...

... as we made our way up Market Street towards the River Stour.

The town has many ancient buildings, including many from the Tudor and Georgian periods.

One of the typical timber-framed buildings that can be seen in Sandwich.

We eventually ended up at the River Stour, where we saw the preserved US Navy river patrol boat.

The P22 is a preserved US Navy River Rhine gunboat. It is based in Sandwich and has been used in films such as 'Dunkirk'.

Sue and I then decided that rather than eat lunch in sandwich, we would pay a visit to the Hornby Visitor Centre near Broadstairs.

The Hornby Visitor Centre houses a museum, a shop, and a café. We started our visit by going into the museum.

Visitors were allowed to play with many of the exhibits, including the Scalextric track. Sue beat me very soundly when we raced each other!
A recent innovation ... Steampunk!

There were also several excellent dioramas constructed using Airfix models.

A First World War diorama.
Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War.
The RAF during the 1960s and 1970s.
The World War Two bomber offensive.
Some examples of Frog construction kits ... and the first ever Airfix kit, which was of a Ferguson tractor. It was used to promote the sale of the tractors.

After our visit to the museum, Sue and I had a snack lunch in the café before venturing into the shop. I kept my wallet very firmly in my pocket, otherwise I would have left very much poorer than when I had arrived! I did buy a few small items, but I could easily have spent a small fortune.

As we were quite close to the Westwood Cross Shopping Centre, Sue wanted to spend some time there ... so we did. She bought several items, and we then had a drink in the local branch of Costa Coffee before driving back to Worth via Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

We retuned to Sandwich that evening for dinner, which we ate in Luigi's, an Italian restaurant that we have used before.

We returned home on Thursday morning. The journey only took ninety minutes, and on the way home Sue and I discussed the various places we had visited. In the end we came to the conclusion that if we did sell up and move, it would probably be to Deal as it seemed to best meet our particular needs.

20 comments:

  1. BOB,
    Thank you for posting your recent Travel Log- amazing- we just do not have that type of history here so I'm impressed greatly. Good to see you made it to the Hornby Museum - yes, Hornby own Scalextric - so I'm glad you both had a go at the Slot Cars. When were you thinking of moving to Deal- have you a dwelling in mind already? Best Wishes. KEV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      One place we were not able to visit was Richborough Roman Castle as it is currently closed for essential work to be undertaken.

      That part of Kent has a lot of historical sites, and we only scratched the surface during our visit. Places that I want to visit next time include RAF Manston (which has its own museum and one dedicated to the Spitfire and Hurricane), Dover Castle, and the other Cinque ports … and Canterbury is only thirty minutes drive away as well!

      We are hoping to find a bungalow or a two-storey house that can take a stairlift as both Sue and I are experiencing trouble climbing stairs. We would like one with a sea view or one that is within five minutes walk from the beach, not too far from local shops and a medical centre, and in a town with its own small hospital. We haven’t found anywhere yet … but we are looking!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. BOB,
    Good luck with looking for the Dwelling at Deal- at least you know what features and location you want- that is half the battle. Best Wishes. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      Cheers! We now have to prepare our own house for sale … which will take some time.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. A suitable area to retire to as Costa Coffee is always there!

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  4. Bob,
    I don't know how house-hunters are selected for the TV show Location, Location, Location but I'm sure Phil and Kirstie could find you a suitable new home! Perhaps you should apply for the next series?
    There is a Costa Coffee not far from our new home in Swansea - but that played no part whatsoever in our decision to purchase.
    We had seen a house nearby in Waterloo Place, but it seemed to require a lot more refurbishment than we thought this one would need. Alas, we had to spend a lot more than anticipated, so perhaps we should have not been frightened off by the all too apparent problems with the former; I would have loved to have Waterloo Place as my address!
    Good luck with your hunt.
    Arthur

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    Replies
    1. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

      I suspect that ‘Escape to the Country’ might be a better choice … mainly because I cannot stand Kirsty Allsopp!

      Costa Coffee might not be the best in the world (Tim Horton’s in Canada is better) but they are consistent, unlike some of their main competitors.

      Waterloo Place has a certain ‘ring’ to it … and if you’d been in a position to buy it, renovated it, and then live in it, it would have been a very appropriate address for you. Perhaps the opportunity will arise in the future.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. That's my kind of trip! Deal & Walmer Castles, River Stour, coast AND Hornby. What's not to like?

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    Replies
    1. Nundanket,

      It was a great mini-break, and I would thoroughly recommend you to do something similar.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. That Hornby centre/museum looks really interesting - a place to relive ones childhood .

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    Replies
    1. The Good Soldier Svjek,

      I must admit that whilst looking at many of the models that were on display, I may well have said ‘I made one of those’ numerous times.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Really good to read that you have been out and about again Bob, you clearly both had a good time and the weather has been great down here in Kent. Once again you visited places that I know very well, Deal, Walmer, Sandwich etc and Deal would be my choice as a place to move to probably because my parents have lived in Deal for about 30 years now and are very happy there (both are in their 90's now). Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing them. All the best, Lee.

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    Replies
    1. ‘Lee,

      I’m very pleased that you enjoyed this blog post.

      Part of the reason we went was to see if I could drive for more than an hour without experiencing problems.

      The weather was very kind to us whilst we were away, and it meant that we could explore the area without experiencing any difficulties. Worth was a nice place to stay, but getting anywhere (like the shops) meant that one would be reliant on driving a car or going by bus. As I am getting older, this sort of factor becomes of greater importance.

      We decided that Broadstairs and Ramsgate were too hilly and Sandwich was just a bit too twee, but Deal felt like it was a real town, with a range of shops and restaurants and where nowhere was too far from the town centre and the sea. Walmer was a bit quieter and a bit further to go to reach the shops etc., but the range of houses available was more suited to our requirement.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. Excellent report, Bob. Good to see you ‘out there’, and such a lovely part of this sceptred isle.
    Good luck with the house hunting.

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    Replies
    1. Martin S.,

      It was good to have a break … especially to such great part of the country. There was so much to see and do in what is a relatively small area … and what we did not see gives us an excuse to go back there again soon.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  9. My suggestion would be to strike while the iron is hot and not having to regret waiting too long.

    My parents desperately want to move, but their health turned in recent years and with some other considerations, they are now essentially stuck in place. I live 1500 miles away, so cannot be of help to them.

    Were you and your wife to move sooner, you'd both be able to enjoy the attractions that appeal to you. Would this be true if you left it for 5 or 10 years?

    I'm approaching a similar decision, in that if I do not move to a new and final home within 10 years, I will be very unlikely to be able to do so after.

    Funny that life seems to have plenty of time for us to enjoy, until one day it doesn't.

    Best wishes on your decision-making and also your recovering health.

    Justin

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    Replies
    1. Justin Penwith,

      You are right about not leaving it too late. I want to get my prostate cancer sorted out first because I trust the team dealing with me and changing hospitals mid-treatment would not be a good idea.

      One big plus for moving now is the opening of London’s Crossrail/Elizabeth Line. One of the stations on this fast line into central London (and then on to Heathrow and Reading) is about a mile away, and house prices are expected to go up as a result. This would mean that we could sell our house, move to somewhere on the Kent coast, and have sufficient money left to do whatever remodelling our new home needed.

      I suspect that had I not had colon cancer in 2020 and now prostate cancer, we would have moved by now. All we want is to be able to enjoy whatever remains of our lives in comfort.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob,

      I do hope your recovery is soon and sufficient so that you can enjoy all that you'd wish to.

      And...aren't Postie's Rejects based out of Kent? You'd have a ready-made group to game with, should your wife acquiesce. You could call it "therapy."

      All the best to you.

      Justin

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    3. Justin Penwith (Justin),

      Cheers! If everything goes according to plan, my prostate cancer treatment should start within a month or so. If it is successful, I should know by the end of September.

      The Rejects are based in Gravesend, which is about twenty miles from our present home. I get to see them at shows, but they tend to have group projects whilst I like to plough my own furrow. I understand that there is a wargames club in the Deal area, and if we move to that part of Kent, I might well get in contact with them.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete

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