Tilbury Fort – Essex’s Historic Hidden Gem

Tilbury Fort – Essex’s Historic Hidden Gem

Tilbury Fort is something of a historic gem hidden in-between London International Cruise Terminal, a working dock and a pub.

It’s hard to grasp just how impressive Tilbury Fort is until you’ve experienced it for yourself. The history, the buildings and the stories are truly things to marvel at.

Ariel view of Tilbury Fort
Tilbury Fort

The History

Originally the site was home to a simple block house, a small fortification usually with one room inside, which, rumour has it, Queen Elizabeth I dined in before addressing her troops with her famous words,

I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm

Preparing the troops to fight off the Spanish Armada

In 1670, after the reformation, King Charles II modernised the fort into what you can see today.

Cannon and bridge looking out of Tilbury Fort
Cannon and bridge looking out of Tilbury Fort

Entry

Tilbury Fort is an English Heritage site, meaning if you are a member then your visit is already paid for. If you’re not the entrance fee is really very reasonable and you can find details on prices and opening hours here.

Tilbury Fort entrance
Tilbury Fort entrance

There is a small gift shop and an area with tables and chairs where you can sit with a cup of coffee and a picnic.

The people that work at Tilbury Fort are extremely knowledgable – they will really test what you know about your Kings and Queens – and very friendly. They will answer any of your questions, with patience and detail.

Inside Tilbury Fort

Officers barracks
Officers barracks

Once inside you can visit the little chapel and the old canteen, which served the soldiers based at the fort.

Gunpowder room
Gunpowder room

Explore the subterranean magazine tunnels, educate yourself in the gunpowder room and trace the smoothed out lines of graffitied bricks left by someone over 200 years ago!

Gunpowder room exhibition
Gunpowder room exhibition
200 year old graffiti
200 year old graffiti

Then walk along the walls that look out on to the river Thames at its narrowest point and take in the views of Gravesend in Kent as you play with the amazing range of guns on offer.

Guns at Tilbury Fort
One of the many guns to explore

Tilbury will undoubtedly surprise and amaze you and I am certain you will leave slightly more informed and impressed by the part Tilbury Fort has played in the making of British history.

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Looking for something else to do in Essex? Why not adventure on to Thorndon Country Park to meet the Gruffalo and all his friends!

Thorndon Country Park

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