Day 37 – Southend-on-Sea to Sittingbourne

We are travelling 104 miles today as we drive first along the north side of the River Thames and estuary, then back along the south side.  One of our busiest days for traffic too as we skirt around the edge of London.  However, there was a mid-October heatwave, so at least we are lucky with the weather!


Photo of the day

Coastal Road Trip, Gravesend, St George's Church, Pocahontas, Statue, Princess,
Pocahontas statue (yes, you read that right!) in a graveyard in Gravesend.



Coastal Road Trip, Shoeburyness, Gunners park, Shoebury East Beach
We started off with a short detour east from Southend-on-Sea to Shoeburyness at the mouth of the River Thames Estuary.  Views northeast from Gunners Park towards Shoebury East Beach.
Coastal Road Trip, Shoeburyness, Gunners park, Shoebury Ness, Graffiti,
Interesting welcome signs at the entrance to the Thames.  It is a shame that the war defences were covered in graffiti, but at least it brought some colour to the concrete.
Coastal Road Trip, Shoeburyness, Warrior Square, Horseshoe Cresent, Clock, Gates, Garrison
Shoeburyness was a pleasant surprise, with smart military avenues and squares, mixed with newer developments.   We also tried to continue further north past the St Nicolas Church at Great Wakering, but found ourselves heading into a Ministry of Defence area, so did a quick u-turn.



Coastal Road Trip, Southend-on-Sea, Beach, Ness Road Slipway, South-on The Sea
Heading back into Southend-on-Sea, we made a short stop at the beach by the Ness Road Slipway with views towards Southend-on-Sea.
Coastal Road Trip, Southend-on-Sea, Pier
The longest pleasure pier in the world at Southend-on-Sea, stretching into the hazy sunshine.
Coastal Road Trip, Southend-on-Sea, Pier, Train
It is so long (1.34 miles) that you can take a train to the end!
Coastal Road Trip, Southend-on-Sea, Adventure Island, Roller-coaster, Rage, Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter
The entrance to Southend Pier flanked by roller-coasters at Adventure Island.



Coastal Road Trip, Leigh-on-Sea, Leigh Marshes, Boats, Thames Estuary
Abandoned boats in the marshes on the edge of the Thames Estuary at Leigh-on-Sea.


Canvey Island

Coastal Road Trip, Canvey Island, Canvey Point, Smallgains Marina
Driving through Canvey Island (basically a large housing estate) we arrived at Canvey Point and the nearby Smallgains Marina.


East Tilbury

Coastal Road Trip, East Tilbury, Coalhouse Fort
More Thames defences at Coalhouse Fort.  The original fortifications date back to the 15th century.  More recently it has been used for a variety of purposes, including being featured at the start of the ‘Batman Begins’ film.  It is now a pleasant park overlooking the Thames, where today families were enjoying the sunny afternoon.



Coastal Road Trip, Tilbury, The Worlds End, Pub, Tilbury Fort
The Worlds End Pub on the way to Tilbury Fort.  Aren’t British pub names great?!  This pub was haunted too!
Coastal Road Trip, Tilbury, Tilbury Fort, Gun
Guns at Tilbury Fort.  The first fort was built here by Henry VIII in the 16th century, and continued in use until after World War II.
Coastal Road Trip, Tilbury, Tilbury Fort, Cruise Ship, Thames, CMV, Wind Turbines
Looking west up the Thames from Tilbury Fort to the cruise terminal and a wind farm project.
Coastal Road Trip, Tilbury, Tilbury Fort, Boats, Yachts, Thames, Gravesend
The Thames was busy with yachts, making the most of the lovely weather.


Dartford Crossing

Coastal Road Trip, Dartford Crossing, Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, Cable-stayed Bridge
Heading south over the Queen Elizabeth II Darford Crossing Bridge.



Coastal Road Trip, Gravesend, St George's Church, Pocahontas, Statue, Princess,
Probably the biggest surprise of the day, finding a statue of Pocahontas in the graveyard of  St George’s Church in Gravesend.  Pocahontas had died on a ship on the River Thames close to Gravesend, and her remains are thought to be buried somewhere close to St George’s Church.


Hoo Peninsula

Coastal Road Trip, RSPB Northward Hill, Thames Estuary, Autumn, Colours, Fall Colors, DP World London Gateway Port, Stanford-le-Hope
Heading across the Hoo Peninsula, we decided to stop at the quiet RSPB Northward Hill nature reserve.  Along the track there were lovely views over apple orchards turning autumn red, quite a contrast to the shipping port at Stanford-le-Hope across the Thames.



Coastal Road Trip, Upnor, Upper Upnor, High Street
A quaint cobbled lane leading down through Upper Upnor to the River Medway.
Coastal Road Trip, Upnor, Upper Upnor, Upnor Castle, River Medway
Upnor Castle had just closed for the day, so we took in the views across the marshes on the edge of the River Medway.



Coastal Road Trip, Rochester, Rochester Castle, Julian, Jarno
Another selfie moment at Rochester Castle, its orgins dating back to the 12th century.
Coastal Road Trip, Rochester, Rochester Castle
The castle towering an impressive 113 feet high.
Coastal Road Trip, Rochester, Roofs
Red roofs of Rochester.  Rochester was a well preserved historical town, and we learnt it had actually been inspiration for many of Charles Dickens’ novels.
Coastal Road Trip, Rochester, Rochester Cathedral
The Norman Rochester Cathedral.  Apparently Jools Holland is a big fan of the acoustics.  We then made our way along the Medway to Chatham Historic Dockyard for dinner, before heading to Sittingbourne for the night.


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