This Blue Water tour is a 3 week tour with starting point Willemstad (NL) and end point London. From this point route 3 starts to the south east UK and Channel islands.
Route 2; Eastern UK and London
The star-shaped Willemstad lies on the Hollands Diep. The popular harbour in the old town centre has everything you need, such as luxury sanitary facilities and free WiFi. You can sail to Zeeland via the Volkerak locks or to the North Sea via the Haringvliet. Willemstad is also close to De Biesbosch National Park, where you can go on beautiful boat trips. The small fortified town in the shape of a star is named after William the Silent (prince William of Orange). It was William himself who commissioned the town to be built. The glorious past has left its mark: cannons on the quayside, old city walls, cobblestones, bunkers, forts and windmills. The Mauritshuis, the Oude Raadhuis (Old Town Hall) and the Koepelkerk (Domed church) are the most striking buildings. Het Rozemarijntje combined bookshop and gift shop has published in-house a beautiful booklet about Willemstad. For food, drinks and snacks as well as overnight accommodation, you can go to Mauritz, a grand café that brings Paris to mind.
Breskens marina is located at the mouth of the Western Scheldt. The marina provides 580 fixed moorings and 100 moorings for passers-by and is a popular marina for both sailing boats and motorboats, with excellent facilities. The 'Looplijn' walking trail starts at the marina. This is a maritime pedestrian route that connects the marina, the fishing port and the town centre. The actual highlight of Breskens is the unique cast iron lighthouse 'Nieuwe Sluis', where the light has been burning since 1868. The Nieuwe Sluis is the oldest cast iron lighthouse still standing in the Netherlands. This octagonal, black and white lighthouse is located on the seawall at the mouth of the Western Scheldt and is still in use. Breskens also has a fishing museum that covers a variety of themes besides fishing. Beautiful cycling routes with stunning views of the sea, the dunes and the polders can be found in the surroundings of Breskens. The neighbouring villages such as Groede, Nieuwvliet, Sluis and Cadzand are also full of charm.
Nieuwpoort seaside resort has various marinas that together make up the largest marina in Northern Europe. All the facilities you could wish for are present. The small town lives and breathes fishing and water sports. It's the perfect destination for surfers, divers, paddle boarders, kayakers and sailors. The town is connected to Veurne, Diksmuide and Ghent via an intersection of waterways. Many people are familiar with the Battle of Nieuwpoort from the history books. But the reminders of the first World War are much more abundant here. The Westfront Visitors' Centre and the King Albert I monument are impressive storytellers of the flooding of the polder area. A story about the force of seawater and the clever management of locks. The old town has narrow streets and an attractive market square. From the centre, you can walk along the promenade past the harbour channel to the wide beach. The lighthouse with its red stripes draws your attention at various points along the promenade.
Dover Marina lies in a sheltered corner of the harbour and provides 400 moorings and all sorts of facilities. As the crow flies, this marina is the closest of all British marinas to France. Although many travellers go through or pass Dover on their way to elsewhere, numerous sights make a visit to this historical town worthwhile. Such as the old town hall, Maison Dieu Hall, built in 1203 by Hubert de Burgh as an inn for pilgrims. Many remnants from Roman times, including the remarkable lighthouse on Castle Hill and the Roman Painted House can be seen in Dover. And everyone is familiar with the white cliffs of Dover. Lovely walks can be taken over the steep white cliffs. The views of the Channel are beautiful and on a clear day, you can see France. Pine Gardens is situated in St Margaret's Bay, 6.5 km from Dover, and consists of six hectares of sustainable gardens with a waterfall, a lake, a grass maze and a popular tearoom.
Ramsgate is a popular destination for tourists. The only 'Royal Harbour' in the United Kingdom is located here. King George IV bestowed it with this status because he was so impressed by its hospitality. The harbour has a wide range of facilities and offers a view of the town's multi-arched quay walls and the Clock House, which houses a maritime museum. Ramsgate has many traditional shops and exclusive boutiques as well as bars, restaurants and hotels. The beautiful coastline features chalk cliffs and sandy beaches. A unique place to enjoy high tea or afternoon tea is The Italianate Glasshouse in the centre of the wooded King George VI Memorial Park. The Italianate Glasshouse is a unique building with a half glass dome and a castle wall with battlements. There are numerous tropical and other plants both indoors and outdoors. The climate in Ramsgate is more Mediterranean than it is British.
Queenborough Harbour is located where the Rivers Swale, Medway and the Thames meet and is the perfect base for cruises to or from the east coast of England, to London, Ramsgate or the continent. The marina is accessible at both low and high tide. When you visit Queenborough, a visit to The Rose Inn, a cosy pub in Queenborough High Street, near the church, is a must. The pub has an extensive beer menu and you can enjoy your pint in a large garden when the weather is good. The Admiral's Arm Micropub is also well worth a visit. It has a wooden interior with fishing nets and lifebuoys on the walls, and an extensive range of beers, gin and cider. Very near to Queenborough lies the uninhabited Deadman's Island. More than 200 years ago, the island was used as a burial ground for convicts who died of infectious diseases while on board ships. A nice walk can be taken along the docks in the direction of the small town of Sheerness, which has a colourful bell tower.
History can be felt on every street corner in Rochester. Rochester was already a settlement in Roman times and was on the route between Dover and London. Rochester Cathedral and Rochester Castle stand opposite each other and together form an impressive sight. The Medway Visitor Information Centre in High Street is a good starting point from which to explore the city. The Centre provides information about local attractions and events and also houses an art gallery and the Huguenot museum. High Street also has numerous shops, cafés and restaurants. The city can be explored on foot with a local guide during the summer months, or you can literally follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens. Many of the famous writer's stories were set here. The Port Medway Marina is located some distance from Rochester. It is the perfect base from which to explore the surroundings. Port Medway Marina is one of the largest marinas on the river Medway and it covers almost 28 hectares, with a picturesque view of the Kent countryside.
Burnham-on-Crouch is a small historic town on the banks of the River Crouch, on the east coast of England. It is a true sailing town, with no less than four sailing clubs that organise a sailing event, Burnham Week, annually in the last week of August. The red brick quay wall is typical of the town, as are the many seals that gather nearby. The town is the largest place in the Dengie Hundred. The Dengie Hundred is a peninsula that is bounded by the River Blackwater to the north, the River Crouch to the south, North and South Fambridge to the west and the mouth of the Thames in the North Sea to the east. A 'hundred' is a Saxon description for an area with 100 farms. It is a wonderful area to drive, cycle and hike through.
Brightlingsea Harbor is a small recreational and commercial harbour with a rich heritage, located in Brightlingsea Creek, close to the mouth of the Colne Estuary. The harbour is in a nature reserve that is of international importance. The River Colne is navigable as far as Colchester in Essex and the River Blackwater is navigable as far as Maldon. Brightlingsea is small and colourful thanks, among other things, to the coloured beach houses (which are not on a sandy beach but on a grassy one), and to the abundant flowers. Batemans Tower is located at the end of the promenade. It is a striking octagonal building with arched windows. But Brightlingsea's main claim to fame is its large outdoor swimming pool that was opened in the 1930s.
Heybridge Basin is a beautiful place on the banks of the River Blackwater. There is a basin behind the lock where you can always moor in sheltered and peaceful surroundings. It is the starting point for beautiful walks along the river, which is largely dry here at low tide, and along the canal. The Jolly Sailor and The Old Ship pubs have terraces that provide you with a great view of the boats sailing by while you enjoy your baked beans or fish & chips. Haybridge Basin is part of the historical town of Maldon. The town is also famous for Hythe Quay, the home base for many Thames Barges, a particular type of historical boat. Promenade Park is popular among both residents and tourists. It is an extensive park on the waterside with many places to eat and a mini zoo.
Pin Mill is a small town in the East of England, on the River Orwell. The town itself does not have a harbour, so you have to be on a mooring and walk to the riverbank through the mud. Luckily, The Butt & Oyster inn has a tap that can be used to rinse all the mud off your legs, so that you can then eat fish and shellfish, or have a pint with clean legs. Take a walk along the water's edge to the woods and back over the heather, or the other way round, from this restaurant (dogs allowed). You can moor in a 'proper' harbour in Woolverstone Marina, a little way upstream. The harbour is nothing special but it has good facilities. An absolute must is a walk from there to Pin Mill along the public footpath. This takes you through woods, across fields and along the River Orwell.
Ipswich is located at the mouth of the River Orwell and is the capital of the county of Suffolk. Ipswich is the oldest Anglo-Saxon town in England, with a rich heritage and a proud history that is closely connected to the discovery of the New World. Visit the glorious Tudor Christchurch Mansion, which is situated in a beautiful park close to the town centre and which is free of charge. Also take a minute to admire the richly decorated Ancient House. The decorative stucco and wood carvings are impressive. The building houses a small art gallery. Ancient House is located in the pedestrianised Buttermarket, in one of the largest shopping centres in the town. Don't forget to look up when you're in the shopping streets. Sometimes the shop windows are not particularly special but when you look up, you'll see that the shop windows are part of old half-timbered houses with wooden shutters or remarkable signs. Although Ipswich is a real town, all the sights are within walking distance of one another.
Woodbridge is a lively market town with numerous shops, bars and restaurants. There is a market on almost every day of the week on Market Hill, in the shadow of the beautiful Shire Hall. The market specialises in local, seasonal foodstuffs but also has antiques and handicrafts. There is also a good selection of hobby, art and antiques shops. Immerse yourself in history with a visit to the National Trust Sutton Hoo, where an abundance of archaeological finds and replicas can be admired. Here is told the story of an Anglo-Saxon king who was buried along with his ship. Get your fill of nature and fresh air at Newborne Springs Nature Reserve. An area of woods, springs, streams and floodplains that makes you feel as though you are miles away from civilisation. The tidal harbour Tidemill Yacht Harbour is located just outside the town centre in a sheltered area.
Blackwater Marina is located in a natural, sheltered harbour between the historic maritime towns of Maldon and Burnham-on-Crouch. The marina has well-maintained pontoon moorings for 196 boats and hardstanding for another 150. Blackwater itself is a small town in the north-eastern corner of Hampshire, surrounded by nature.
Southend-on-Sea is a truly bustling events town. Southend-on-Sea is one of England’s iconic seaside resorts that has been welcoming holidaymakers since the 18th century. In Victorian times, it was a popular resort for fashionable city dwellers who wanted to get away from it all. Southend's most well-known building is the pier, which is the longest pleasure pier in the world. It stretches for more than 2 km over the mouth of the river, with a fantastic view over the water and the coast (and the theme park with its roller coasters and merry-go-rounds). The pier has a unique electric railway, for those walkers who don't feel up to walking all the way back. A museum at the pier entrance explains its history and use as a passenger terminal for French steamships in Victorian times. Southend has a lively night life and kilometres of sandy and pebble beaches. For a more authentic experience, visit the village of Old Leigh in the west. This village still has a flourishing fishing community. It is a pleasant place where you can watch the cockle boats being unloaded on the quayside.
The Thames Estuary is a unique area. It has wind farms and sandbanks that are difficult to spot. Moreover, it is a busy shipping lane. In other words, it is important to follow all the buoys properly so as to not get stuck on the sandbanks. In the distance you can see the striking towers of Shivering Sands Army Fort, which have been there since the Second World War and look a bit like giant three-legged insects.
St Katherine Docks is located in the heart of London and was completely renovated in 2017. It has 185 moorings in three basins, for ships up to 40 metres long. The marina offers excellent facilities and services, and activities take place on and around the water throughout the year. London has more charming districts, interesting museums and beautiful parks than you can fit into one holiday. Covent Garden is one of the most popular districts in the heart of the West End. It has an atmospheric covered market, numerous terraces, a charming square, artists selling their own work and street artists. You are guaranteed to be amazed by Fortnum & Mason's department store. It has a huge assortment of teas, but also wine, chocolate and tableware. Be sure to book a table in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Room there at around 4 o'clock. Another special place for the traditional tea and scones is the Victoria and Albert Museum. Want to see London from above? Take the Emirates Air Line, a cable car link of more than a kilometre long with a view of many of the sights.
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