Abandoned fishing boats, crumbling contorted tracks and weather-beaten shacks.
Dungeness in Kent is one of those places that when you first arrive, immediately you’ll want to venture off in every direction to discover what this strange and curious outcrop is all about.
Overwhelmed with so many questions from this untamed shoreline and nowhere near enough answers.
We’ve visited Dungeness several times and, on each occasion, it leaves us hankering for more. There’s just something about the brutal surroundings and the unforgiving shingle beach that makes it so appealing.
Gary has previously written a post on Dungeness; however, I wanted to add my ‘two penneth worth’ as I find Dungeness so absorbing.
I just love sitting wrapped up on the shoreline gazing out across the sea and letting all the worries of the world fade away.
A little bit of Dungeness knowledge
The idyllic stroll to paradise
Interested in the coast around England?
We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.
Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England. It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.
Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.
We have to mention it!
Shall we get the elephant in the room tamed, first of all, yes, there is a nuclear power station at Dungeness?
In fact, there are two nuclear power stations, one of which is still in use today. The original power station “A” built-in 1965 shut its doors 2006. Dungeness “B” is still going strong since 1983 and has been granted a licence until 2028.
Dungeness's Nuclear Powerstations
Located within a wildlife sanctuary, it makes for an unusual backdrop against the stark terrain of the weather-worn shoreline.
The nuclear power station may not be your main draw to visit Dungeness; however, it certainly adds to its character.
Kent coastal road trip
Not one lighthouse, but seven
Dungeness in Kent is such an unusual place to visit any time of the year. Not just for its bizarre landscape and abandoned boats strewn across the cobbled beach, but also for its lighthouses.
Not content with having one lighthouse, Dungeness has had seven in total. Five high lighthouses and two low.
Dungeness's first lighthouse was erected in 1615, it was constructed of wood, stood only 35ft tall and powered by an open coal fire.
The second lighthouse was built in 1635 this time it was constructed of brick and lasted over 100 years, until its replacement in 1792. The third was built by Samuel Wyatt. Today only the bottom two floors remain which were converted into lighthouse keepers’ dwellings.
Standing proud is the fourth tall lighthouse, built-in 1901, and now a visitor attraction and at its feet is the third lighthouse.
They are both lovingly cared for and stand as a wonderful backdrop to the curious skyline of Dungeness.
The quirky aspects of Dungeness
Another couple of weird and wonderful structures are the Coastguard Lookout Tower and The Fog Horn.
The Coastguard Lookout Tower has now been transformed into a luxury holiday home; however, prior to 2000, it was used as a radar monitoring station.
What I love about visiting Dungeness is the diverse, brutal landscape and architecture.
There are not too many places where Fog Horns, lookout towers, multiple lighthouses and a nuclear power station can be seen, amongst a miniature railway and charming pubs and cafés.
Dungeness has all of this and more.
Kent rural road trip
A harsh and wild landscape
The peninsular of Dungeness may be scattered with weather-beaten old vessels, abandoned rusty motors. However, there are still some fishing boats keeping the traditions going.
Their vessels devotedly maintained from whatever the often-harsh seas of the English Channel throw at them.
Prospect Cottage once owned by Derek Jarman
The black weatherboarded Prospect Cottage is now owned by an Art Fund and will hopefully be preserved and loved for many years to come.
On one side of the cottage in raised letters are the words from a part of John Donne’s poem, “The Sun Rising”.
Map, guides and more
When you’re nurturing the seed of a road trip, plotting your destinations across a paper map just brings the adventure to life. Whether it’s the touchy-feely aspect of the map or the rustling sound of mastering the art of origami while trying to fold it away, I’m not too sure. Nonetheless, the good old Ordnance Survey guys and gals always come up trumps.
Take a look at the vast array of maps you can choose from.
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
Now did you know that Dungeness had an exciting miniature railway too.
It runs from the Cinque Port of Hythe 13 ½ miles along the coastline, stopping at eight stations along the way, with its final stop of Dungeness.
An interesting read
If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".
You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
Where to eat in Dungeness
The Dungeness Fish Hut Snack Shack
One of our favourites is The Pilot Inn pub just before Dungeness estate entrance and has a lovely warm family atmosphere and serves some delicious food by the sea.
As long as you have a designated driver, why not try one of the local Kent ales?
A bit more info?
If you like to find out more about Dungeness and the history surrounding Romney Marsh, take a look at the Romney Marsh website.
Another great insight into this incredible part of the world was on the Paul O’Grady’s Great British Escape on ITV, aired in late 2020. If you catch episode 2, you’ll discover even more about Dungeness.
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