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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.