Home Lifestyle UK’s only ‘desert’ with ‘captivating’ views has a rich history

UK’s only ‘desert’ with ‘captivating’ views has a rich history


Explore the sandy terrains of Dungeness (Picture: Getty Images)

If you want to star in your own personal version of Dune, you don’t need to go all the way to Arrakis.

The idyllic and peaceful landscapes of Dungeness, the UK’s only desert, should be all you need for an otherworldly getaway right without going abroad.

Based in Kent, Dungeness is described as a ‘history-filled natural paradise’ with sandy terrains stretching 16km long.

With views like that, it should come as no surprise that the place was identified by Jeep as one of the best ‘off the beaten track’ places to visit this Easter.

From seals, to Arctic terns, to porpoises, Dungeness is full of lively wildlife and unexpected treasures to discover.

‘At times, it feels like a ‘forgotten about film set,’ one visitor named Ashford28 wrote on TripAdvisor, while another, 863garym, described it as ‘a fantastically strange place,’ with beaches ‘full of history and things to look at.’ 

Similarly, @worldshirl dubs it ‘bleakly captivating’ while @BirdBrain99 said there was ‘scenery like nowhere else.’

Dungeness has a long fishing history (Picture: Getty Images)

The crumbling fishing boats, deserted shores, and the towering power station add a foreboding and gothic vibe to the landscape that would make Emily Bronte shudder.

It’s sea defenses also date back to the Roman era — although we can expect most of Dungeness to ‘return to the sea’ within 150 years.

So, arguably, there’s never been a better time to visit…

What’s the history of Dungeness?

Located in the Southern England, Dungeness has a rich history. According to the official Dungeness website, it’s been inhabited for thousands of years. In fact, there’s evidence of prehistoric settlement too, in the Mesolithic/Middle Stone Age era. 

The only people who loved Dungeness more than Tripadvisor reviewers were the Romans, who recognised the coastline’s importance in terms of military and defense.

Henry VIII emphasised the area’s strategic importance in the Tudor period, building two forts on the coast to defend against potential attacks from the French.

The Dungeness lighthouse was constructed in the 19th century (Picture: Getty Images)

Other notable moments in Dungeness’ history include the 19th century, when the Dungeness lighthouse was constructed, and it’s role as a military base in WWII, and the nuclear power station established in the 1960s, marking a huge industrial development.

But later on, there was a little less warring and a lot more fishing. Dungeness has, in fact, become renowned for its fishing community, with it being the primary source of income for a lot of residents, even today.

The best ‘off the beaten track’ places to visit this Easter

  1. Dungeness, Kent
  2. Wistman’s Wood, Devon
  3. Gaping Gill Cave, North Yorkshire
  4. Old Winchester Hill, South Downs
  5. Blakeney Point, Norfolk
  6. Watkins Path Pools, Snowdonia
  7. Chartists Cave, Wales
  8. Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea
  9. Porthgain Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
  10. Montgomery Castle, Wales
  11. Reelig Glen, Scotland
  12. Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye
  13. Eilean na Moine, Loch Eilt
  14. Schiehallion mountain, Perth and Kinross
  15. North West Iona, Inner Hebrides

How to get to Dungeness

From London, Dungeness is a on4 khour and 57 minute drive. It’s easiest to get there via the M20, though you can take some detours through A13 and A2.

But you’re probably best off going there directly.

Alternatively, if you want a more scenic journey, you can get to Dungeness by steam train via the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. Its nearest train station is Folkestone Central, which you can get to via Dover, London St Pancras, and Ramsgate, among other places.

Get to Dungeness via bus, train, or car (Picture: Getty Images)

There are also two main bus routes. The number 11, for instance, goes from Ashford International train station to Boulderwell Farm, followed by a short one mile walk.

The 102 bus runs less frequently throughout the day, but stops at key locations like Dover Priory train station, Folkestone bus station, New Romney light railway station and Lydd.

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