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Location - Western Europe; Capital - England - London; Population - England - 50.5 million; Currency - Pound Sterling MORE UK - NORTHERN IRELAND

Plenty of odds 'n' ends from south east England, as well as Blenheim Palace, all places within easy reach from London. Plus the founder of 'independent nations', the Principality of Sealand - 2017/19.


uknote20 Pounds Sterling










eng6264The Grain Tower, aka No 1 The Thames, is a 19th century gun tower at the mouth of the River Medway near Grain in Kent, south east England - Grain


eng6266It's on the market as a 5-bed house. Bring your own boat at high tide. No really! Grain


eng6273It was originally built to protect the Medway ports from French invasion in the 1850s. The top tower was added during the Second World War - Grain













eng6251The nearest city to Grain is Rochester, on the banks of the River Medway


eng6252It's a historic town with links to Charles Dickens. And it has its very own castle, built in the 11th century following the Norman conquest in 1066 - Rochester


eng6256A window on Rochester Cathedral from the top of the castle keep - Rochester















eng6254There's more vistas on the opposite side, overlooking the River Medway and the rather ramshackle town of Strood - Rochester














eng6282Rye and 'quaint' tend to go hand-in-hand when describing this historic town, only 75mins by train from London


eng6286Mermaid Street in particular is full of wood-timber framed buildings from the 15th century. And this one, The Mermaid Inn, is one where you can drink, dine and sleep in - Rye


eng6289Their website promises creaky floorboards and possibly a ghost or two - Rye















eng6294Mermaid Street has several quirky addresses - Rye















eng6291It's a cute town but the centre is very small, so while away the hours in pubs, tea rooms and bric-a-brac shops - Rye


eng6277A cannon stands outside Ypres Tower, a 13th century fort pointing towards the English Channel - Rye


eng6280Nestled beneath the castle is the Ypres Castle Inn - Rye















eng6305Ramsgate is one of several beach resorts on the north Kent coast, which stretches from Whitstable to Margate then on to Broadstairs and Ramsgate itself


eng6304The yacht marina is lined with stalls selling fishing trips & equipment alongside cafes and ice-cream parlours - Ramsgate


eng6312But I wanted to see the interesting War Tunnels, an extension of a disused Railway Tunnel protecting residents during World War II. Ramsgate was on the south coast's frontline, so the deep tunnels provided shelter for up to 60,000 people; at one point over 300 families were living permanently in the underground city where electricity, bunk beds, toilets and ventilation had been set up.



eng6337Also on the south east coast, between Ramsgate and Dover, is the ancient town of Sandwich















eng6330It's full of medieval buildings, cobbled streets and ancient monuments - Sandwich















eng6333No Name Street leads to the Guildhall and tourist information centre - Sandwich


eng6334The Salutation manor house is surrounded by the Secret Gardens, and also hosts a tearoom and small garden centre - Sandwich


eng6340The River Stour flows through Sandwich. In the Summer season seal-spotting boat trips are available














eng6343Boat trips also head a few kms north to the Roman fort of Richborough, site of the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD - Sandwich














eng6338Quikry old buildings on the route to the White Mill - Sandwich


eng6339The White Mill's sails are folded away during the tourist low-season - Sandwich


eng6351Climb the steps of the 13th century St Peter's Church for views of Sandwich














eng6352Grab a higher view of the Guildhall and No Name Street - Sandwich















eng6354Looking southwards along St Peter's Street and King Street - Sandwich


eng6355A couple of kms east of town and flanked by golf courses, is the pebbly beach of Sandwich Bay - Sandwich


eng6405The seaside resort of Felixestowe is the largest container port in Britain















eng6408The reason for a trip to Felixestowe was to get a look at this insignificant-looking platform on four legs, the eventful micronation that is the Principality of Sealand


sealandnote1sealandnote2A 1994 Sealand dollar. A limited edition coin celebrating 50 years of independence has recently been minted - check their website


eng6413Roughs Tower, its official name, is one of the disused Maunsell Forts, built as an anti-aircraft site in defence of the UK during World War II. In 1967 it was taken over by Paddy Roy Bates with the intention of broadcasting a pirate radio station outside British sovereign territory (Roughs Tower was beyond the three mile territorial water limit of the time). He then declared it an independent state complete with currency, passports, flag and national anthem - Sealand


eng6415In 1978 the fort was temporarily taken over by a German, taking Roy Bates' son hostage in the process. Bates retook the tower by helicopter, with negotiations between the German and British governments bolstering his claims to statehood.
Check out the official website - Sealand













eng6401About 30mins closer to London from Felixestowe is Ipswich


eng6396The liveliest part of the city is Neptune Marina. My tip is a visit to the sprawling 'Isaacs on the Quay', a quality bar on the waterfront - Ipswich


eng6377The white chalk cliffs of Folkestone, back on the south coast
















eng6382A bit of a mushy marina when the tide's out - Folkestone















eng6364The pebbly beach at Greatstone, south west of Folkestone, on the east coast of a promontory with Dungeness at its tip


eng6368And these were the bizarre structures I was seeking out. They're concrete sound mirrors, constructed in the 1920s & 30s as early warning acoustic mirrors to listen for approaching enemy aircraft. On the left is the largest at 61m in length followed by the 6m and 9m dishes. With the invention of radar they became redundant - Greatstone



eng6358Along the coast between Greatstone and Folkestone are several 19th century defensive forts known as Martello Towers - Dymchurch













england2191The world's most famous steam train the Flying Scotsman stops at Oxford Parkway on its way from London Paddington to Oxford


england2194The Flying Scotsman went into service in 1923, travelling between London and Edinburgh - Oxford


england2281The train still runs every so often so check the website - Oxford















england2204From Oxford Parkway we took a short coach-ride to Woodstock, home of Blenheim Palace


england2201Woodstock A small music festival was in full swing when we arrived, though nothing to do with the famous Woodstock Festival of 1969 (held in New York)


england2206Entering the huge grounds of the 18th century Blenheim Palace - Woodstock














england2209The Grand Bridge separates the Queen Pool from the Great Lake behind - Woodstock














england2217Walking up to Blenheim Palace - Woodstock


england2225The palace is home to the Dukes of Marlborough, however the most famous person to be born here is British wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill - Woodstock


england2245Inside the palace is the Long Library, and you can also see Churchill's birth room - Woodstock














england2224Through an archway to the palace - Woodstock

















england2230Behind the palace are cafe tables next to the fountains - Woodstock


england2231Gladys Deacon, Duchess of Marlborough, who died in 1977, is represented as a winged sphinx. Kind of bizarre - Woodstock


england2250Crosssing beautiful gardens near the waterfall and pump house - Woodstock














england2251The Great Lake, in the grounds of Blenheim Palace - Woodstock
















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LINKS - England tourist board - Britain's official website - guide to south east England - train information across Britain - National Express coaches cover Britain


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