Faced with the challenge of organising a day of activities in the south east of England for my most favourite acquaintance from the lighthouse tour (see previous post for full details), I decided that as we had met at the most north westerly point of the UK mainland, we should visit the most south easterly point. It also just so happened that there were some lighthouses lingering around in the area that still needed to be visited.
My initial plan was to head for the White Cliffs of Dover and walk across to South Foreland lighthouse (pictured). This plan worked rather well and we reached the lighthouse with plenty of time to sample what the tearoom had to offer and sign up for the tour. It’s a lovely little lighthouse and, as the guide told us, although it is actually very short – 73 steps to the top, so we were told – the height of the cliffs it sits on means that it ranks among the tallest in England based on the height of the light from sea level. It was a great tour, which seemed to me to be very good value for money. They try to make it as interactive as they possibly can and, at one point, I was volunteered (by Bob) to wind this very heavy lever which makes sure the lamp continues to rotate. We were fortunate enough to reach the top between the bouts of sea mist that kept appearing. A second lighthouse sits a little way off near the cliff edge, but this one is not accessible, unfortunately.
Getting into the true lighthouse tour spirit, Bob then suggested we continue to head northwards to check out a few more lighthouses that I hadn’t seen. So, our next stop was the surprisingly pleasant Ramsgate. The lighthouse here is on the end of a pier and is in remarkably good condition with some subtle little touches including small fish sculptures. It was a quiet, but lovely little place.
Our next stop was the lighthouse at North Foreland, which is now used for holiday lets. I, once again, demonstrated my amazing ability to spot a lighthouse (I’m always on the lookout). Although we weren’t allowed into the grounds you can still get close enough for some decent photo opportunities. The lighthouse is very “Trinity House” (they have a look about them – it’s the white and green paint more than anything), but was still very pretty. It’s in a rather well-to-do area so the Mercedes Bob had (very cheekily) managed to upgrade to at the car hire place fit in perfectly!
It was quite the opposite situation in Margate, unfortunately. We drove along a road heading towards the seafront and there were groups of kids sitting on steps outside the houses (the kind of thing they seem to do a lot in films set in The Bronx in New York!). The lighthouse, which is on the end of the pier, was also a little disappointing, but we’d seen some beauties elsewhere and must not get too picky!
All in all it was a really great day and a good opportunity for Bob to get a real insight into the true lighthouse hunting experience. Of course, I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a Merc then, but Little Car got the task done (albeit slower) nonetheless. Good times continue with more from Scotland this weekend! 🙂