Last week after a long day exploring Sandwich, England my daughter decided we weren’t done on our day’s adventure. I suggested that we could stop in another city on our train route back home. I had heard great things about Deal, so we stopped in to see what we could see.
Deal is located on the English Channel, in south-east England. It was once the busiest port in England due to it’s close location to France, which is only 25 miles across the water. (A neighbouring small town called Walmer is believed to be the location where Julius Caesar first arrived in Britain.) These days Deal is a quiet city that comes to life a couple of months a year when the tourists come for some time by the sea. It is most known for the castle that remains here from the 16th century.
We went straight to the seafront. There is a large pier with a cafe at the end, that is open to the public. A walk down the pier gives some great views of the town, and was especially nice with the high tide.
Then we had ice cream at Deal Beach Harbour.
Finally we walked along the coast to Deal Castle. Deal Castle was built as an artillery fort, and was commissioned by King Henry VIII in 1539. Deal Castle is one of the best examples of a Tudor artillery castle left in England.
The best thing about visiting Deal Castle is that they give you total free reign on the property. Explore the rooms on your own, discover secret passages, walk the moat. Entirely unsupervised. It makes it feel like you have discovered your own special abandoned castle.
I especially loved the ‘dungeon’ area. The water was above our ankles in places, and there was no electric lighting. So much water has been dripping down there over the centuries that stalactites have begun to form from the ceiling.
Deal Castle is an English Heritage Site. If you buy one of their handy annual memberships, you can get into awesome places like this one (over 400 across the UK) for only £48 and kids go free. It quickly pays for itself as most of the historical places in England are outrageously expensive.
This post on Deal is part of my Visit England project. Check back every week for new and interesting places that I visit around England. Be sure and subscribe to The Fly Away American so you never miss a post and follow on Facebook and Twitter.