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Sheppey is one of Britain's top 10 places to visit, according to Time Out


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What do the Lake District, Snowdonia, Manchester and the West Highlands of Scotland all have in common with the Isle of Sheppey?

According to the revered London listings guide Time Out they all make its list of the top 10 places to visit. Yes, we had a bit of a gulp, too.

The Kingsferry Bridge still welcomes visitors to the Isle of Sheppey
The Kingsferry Bridge still welcomes visitors to the Isle of Sheppey
A quiet stretch of beach at Shellness near Leysdown
A quiet stretch of beach at Shellness near Leysdown

Don't get us wrong, we are great fans of Kent's own treasure island. But even we needed a double-take when we saw what else made the grade.

There was the whole of Norfolk, Lundy Island off Devon, the Shropshire Hills, the chocolate-box village of Dedham in Essex and all 2,800 miles of the English Coastal Path.

Sheppey comes in at number 10 in the publication's list of the best places to visit in the UK in 2022. Not bad for somewhere which had previously been labelled a "hellhole" on the rival ilivehere.co.uk site.

Writers Ellie Walker-Arnott and Rosie Hewitson defended their choice. They wrote: "Thanks to lockdowns and travel restrictions, more and more people have found themselves holidaying closer to home, getting to know the UK in a way that they never previously considered.

"Sure, the UK might be small but when it comes to amazing landscapes, world-class attractions and a good old fashioned pub, this place takes some beatings."

The busy beach at Leysdown during the summer
The busy beach at Leysdown during the summer
One of the first shepherd's huts at Elmley Nature Reserve, Sheppey
One of the first shepherd's huts at Elmley Nature Reserve, Sheppey

So what did they say about the sun-kissed Isle?

"We’re big fans of Kent. Not only is it handily close to London, it’s also got holiday destinations to suit all requirements: rural idylls in the Kent Downs, historic cities like Canterbury, jolly seaside resorts like Margate that’ll placate even those most reluctant to leave east London and weird, otherworldly spots like Dungeness.

"If feeling a million miles away from the city but if only having to travel around 50 is the aim, try Sheppey. Not cutesy, like nearby Whitstable, it has really unique island vibes with vast marshland and even vaster skies. A night or two in an Elmley cabin with floor-to-ceiling nature reserve views is a must-book."

Of course, we celebrate Sheppey's three award-winning beaches at Sheerness, Minster and Leysdown and marvel at its many historical connections.

It was the birthplace of British aviation the Short Brothers establishing the first aircraft factory. Charles Dickens spent a while in Blue Town and based some of his creations on Island characters. Turner painted his famous Fighting Temeraire with a Queenborough sunset as its backing.

Inside the fascinating Eastchurch Aviation Museum marking the birthplace of British aviation
Inside the fascinating Eastchurch Aviation Museum marking the birthplace of British aviation
The maritime room at the Blue Town Heritage Centre and Criterion Theatre is a mock-up of Lord Nelson's HMS Victory
The maritime room at the Blue Town Heritage Centre and Criterion Theatre is a mock-up of Lord Nelson's HMS Victory
Sunsets like this over Queenborough fascinated the artist Turner. Picture: George Poule
Sunsets like this over Queenborough fascinated the artist Turner. Picture: George Poule

Lord Nelson's body pickled in a barrel of brandy was brought to Sheppey after his death at the Battle of Trafalgar.

And Queenborough still holds the dubious honour of being the only part of England to have been taken over by a rival country, namely the dastardly Dutch, since 1066.

What do you think? Does Sheppey deserve its place in Britain's top 10?

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