Places to visit in the south/southeast?

Discussion in 'WW2 Museums. Events, & places to see.' started by Chris C, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Hi all,

    I am plotting (muhaha) a short solo vacation to the UK in the early off season next year. There is far too much to see and do, and I am not an experienced traveller, so I am thinking of restricting myself to a week or week and a half (so that I don't have to plan as much).

    I was thinking about going to the Tank Museum again (to do research this time) although it may just make more sense to keep sending them money to make copies of documents. Also after a couple of messages' exchange with someone at the Sharpshooters' Museum at Hever Castle I am thinking of going there too.

    So that made me think of an itinerary involving Dorchester, Portsmouth, and a place or two further east. Any recommendations on the best places to visit to see any things WW2? I guess the Museum of Army Flying is out as it will still be under construction.

    Although not WW2, it seems like it might be interesting to go to Hastings, but I imagine it would be rather damp in February-March.

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Winchester has a clutch of regimental/corps museums around the old barracks plus the Royal Hampshire's nearby but not well signposted. The latter is very traditional.
    The Keep in Dorchester (Devons/Dorsets) is well worth a visit.
    There's the new REME museum at ex-RAF Lyneham but not been there myself. There's a risk it's been degraded from it's previous 'Museum of Army Technology' status when it used to push its archives.
    Chris C likes this.
  3. hutt

    hutt Member

    Hope you enjoy your trip. Hastings particularly the old town and the area around the east and west hills are very attractive. There are two cliff railways and the West hill runs all year. Passed through a tunnel and rather interesting. The fishing sheds, lifeboat and recently restored pier are also worth a visit. The trip by train from London once South of Tunbridge is very pretty and wooded. If you are going for 1066 history you would be better visiting Battle itself about 15 miles inland deep in the weald.

    Also strongly reccomend Dover.
  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Thanks for the recommendations and corrections! Idler, I've now been to the Keep and a couple of the Winchester museums - I should have said, sorry. The Royal Hampshires Museum had an interesting side note for me.

    I understand from another forum that Dover Castle not only has the tunnels used during the war (and previously) but other WW2 items within the castle?
  5. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    If you head just a little further north-east from Winchester to Rushmoor there's the Aldershot Military Museum, The Museum of Military Medicine, Royal Army Physical Training Corps Museum and the Farnborough Air Sciences Museum all within a few miles of each other. All small places but worth a visit if you have time and are in the area, especially if you're hiring a car.

    If you go as far as London my nan will stuff you with sausage rolls and tell you about the Blitz (may only apply to me, check latest admission prices before travelling).
    Owen, CL1 and Chris C like this.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Didnt know she was into Taxidermy o_O:-P

    TD - my real name is Tatiana Desperado
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Do London

    RAF Hendon is a must
    Imperial War Museum is ok
    Chris C likes this.
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I'm still rather set on avoiding the big cities, and a pretty short trip.

    I'm thinking about ~3 days at the Tank Museum & archives (? not actually sure if this isn't more than I need...)
    About a day and a half in Portsmouth
    Visit Hever Castle and the Sharpshooters Museum (Dan Taylor who is a scale modeler and the curator offered to meet me)
    Fly to/from Gatwick as it's close to Hever, basically.

    Anyone have a recommendation for a place to stay in Portsmouth? Nothing too fancy or too uncomfortable, near the dockyards?

    I do wonder if I should try to get an extra day in Portsmouth. I'd like to see at least the D-Day museum (I shan't report that silly name it has), the sub museum, and the dockyards. That seems too much for a day and a half.
  9. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    I guess a lot depends on whether you have the use of a car. You have also chosen the worse time of year, so please check opening times for all of these suggestions.

    I'm with you on staying out of London.

    I seem to remember the Hever Castle museum is quite 'compact' although nicely laid out. But if you are going, you should also go into the castle, walk around the fantastic gardens, and try to get lost in the maze (there is also a water maze, but this probably won't be operational mid-winter...and anyway, you'd need to take a small child as 'cover').

    There are a few old forts you should consider:-

    Hurst Castle: Originally built in the 16th century, but also saw action in WW2. It is in a fantastic, car free, location. You either take a boat out there or walk all the way along a shingle spit from Milford. A trip to Hurst Castle

    Newhaven Fort: contains a lot of WW stuff spread around the various 'rooms' of the fort, but its history also goes back a few hundred years. They will even lock you inside a room if you want to experience an air-raid. Exhibitions | Newhaven Fort

    Chatham: there's the historic dockyard and Fort Amherst. We have only been to the fort, and only dropped in for an hour on our way somewhere else. But we did see a 3.7" HAA gun that my dad would have been very familiar with. And I understand that they fire some of these guns on selected days. Fort Amherst - Wikipedia

    But if it doesn't necessarily need to be a WW2 museum, I can thoroughly recommend Stonehenge. This site was a national disgrace until quite recently. You now park well away from the monument, at the new visitors centre which is full of interesting stuff (I love the "standing in the stones" 360deg audio-visual room). its a short walk to the actual monument, which reveals itself as you reach the brow of a hill.

    I hope this helps.

    P.S. there is no point in doing "a day and a half" at Portsmouth...the half day should be a full day!
  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your all your thoughts about where to go!

    I will be travelling by rail (and coach if I have to). You're right to check opening times... Hever Castle is closed in the first week of February at least.

    (Hm, maybe I should delay until early March?)

    At some point I have to travel from Dorchester to Portsmouth - which means either cutting a day at the Tank Museum short, or cutting into a day in Portsmouth. I can't just teleport from one city to the other! But I am definitely leaning towards adding a day to my trip so I can stay longer in Portsmouth.

    arrive Sunday at Gatwick and take the train to Dorchester
    Mon-Weds - Tank Museum
    Thurs - travel to Portsmouth. Submarine museum, or part of Dockyards
    Fri - Portsmouth Dockyards (and/or Sub museum)
    Sat - Portsmouth - some other things
    Sun - travel to Hever Castle, visit, end day at an airport hotel at Gatwick
    Mon am - fly home

    There are so many places I'd like to go (although at a warmer time of year). I was really interested in the idea of going to Suffolk, looking at the Suffolk Yeomanry photo archives, visiting the site of Sutton Hoo and West Stow Saxon village. And also of going to visit Battle. And Dover Castle. And and and...! Stonehenge would be fantastic... I have been to Avebury although it was decades ago.

    P.S. I have looked at the site for Chatham Historic Dockyard and I'd love to go there too...
    SteveDee likes this.
  11. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Yep, you can only do so much in a week.

    Probably better to do less [travelling] and see more!

    And yes, you should delay your visit until at least April, otherwise your train journey could be delayed by snow, leaves, or the wrong kind of rain on the tracks.

    Have fun with the planning, and I'm sure you will enjoy your trip whatever you decide to do.
    Chris C likes this.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Sod it make the holiday a month long then its no problem :whistle::-P

  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I agree!

    I don't know about my employer though. :D
    CL1 likes this.
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If you are that good, how can he object

    If you are that bad he'll be happy

    ozzy16 and CL1 like this.
  15. vestingjager

    vestingjager Well-Known Member

    Portland! The D day museum there and the Phoenix caissons of the artificial harbour. You might also consider the village of Tyneham, used as a training village for the invasion.
    CL1 and Chris C like this.

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