Weirdness abounds in Dungeness. A nuclear power station doesn’t usually form the centrepiece of a thriving little community but here on this remote shingle promontory you'll find simple, single-storey wooden dwellings, old fishermen’s huts reconditioned into artists' studios and even a couple of convivial pubs under the shadow of the brooding power station. With its huge skies and vast empty shingle beaches, dotted with bright wild flowers and crumbling flotsam and jetsam, it has a compelling charm, beloved of artists and loners alike: the late filmmaker Derek Jarman made his home here, and his famous garden still flourishes amid the wind-blasted shingle.
You can climb the old lighthouse for a small entrace fee during the summer months –the view from the top is spectacular, if vertiginous, but be prepared for the strong winds that inevitably whip around you. No visit to Dungeness is complete without fish and chips, and you can choose from two pubs to provide it: the Britannia, near the railway station, and the Pilot Inn, further up the coast, which has a pleasant garden. There is also an extremely good fish shop – Richardsons – just opposite the Pilot, if you'd rather cook your own.
Finally, if twitching is your thing you should make for the RSPB reserve on the main road out to Dungeness from Lydd. Many a rare bird gets blown off course and finds itself spending an unexpected holiday on Dungeness, which makes for excellent local bird-watching.
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