Come and explore the Isle of Sheppey
Beaches, Heritage and Nature on Kent's Treasure Island
Enjoy the Isle of Sheppey which is a relatively small island just off the north Kent coast, separated by the Swale. Two bridges including a railway connect the island, allowing easy access for visitors and locals alike.
Despite its small size (just nine miles by four miles), there is a fascinating variety of landscapes and wealth of places to explore. To the north-east of the island is the busy market town and port of Sheerness; to the west is the historic town of Queenborough and to the east of the island travel through the parishes of Minster and Eastchurch both with significant stories to tell on the way to the popular holiday destination Leysdown.
Fun on the Beaches
Beaches at Leysdown, Minster Leas and Sheerness boast 'Blue Flags' and 'Seaside Awards' from 'Keep Britain Tidy' for the summer of 2018, only the second time this has been achieved. Thanks to their stunning views and pristine sands, visitors flock to these beaches year after year to catch their fill of British sun and sea.
Discover the 'Sheppey Shoreline' (downloadable pdf) - a family guide to the wildlife that can be found on the island's beaches. Providing some wonderful opportunities, to discover some of the impressive marine and birdlife found along the shoreline.
Swale Borough Council and Minster Beach Hut Association (MBHA) are working together to provide beach huts on Minster Leas. The Council has recently extended the beach hut provision to Leysdown. If you are interested in either renting or buying a hut in the future, please contact us by emailing Swale Borough Council's Customer Service Team or calling: 01795 417580.
Significant Maritime and Aviation Heritage on the Isle of Sheppey
Sheppey has a rich history and is known as the birthplace of British aviation, visit the Eastchurch Aviation Museum where the story is told. Distinguished aviators such as Shorts, Rolls and Wrights were all based here and on 2nd May 1909 John Brabazon made the first flight in Britain - flying a total of 500 yards at a height of 35 feet at Leysdown. Other claims to fame include Nelson being based at the naval dockyard, and his body returned to Sheerness after he died at the Battle of Trafalgar.
JMW Turner also painted scenes of Sheerness, and nearby Blue Town has many historical links, which you can learn all about at Blue Town Heritage Centre. Other heritage attractions on Sheppey include Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities in Sheerness, Minster Gatehouse Museum and the Guildhall Museum Queenborough. Queenborough is a harbour town with moorings available, which evolved from a small Saxon settlement and is steeped in maritime history. It is known that Edward III built a castle there, but sadly only the earthworks are what remain today.
Minster's heritage stems from its royal Saxon Abbey which was originally a Benedictine convent, founded in the 7th Century by Queen Sexburga of Kent.
Home to a visiting bird population
The Elmley Conservation Trust and Raptor Viewing Platform at Capel Fleet give nature enthusiasts the opportunity to watch the stunning array of birds who visit the island. Sheppey has the highest population of marsh harriers and also supports lapwing, redshank and oyster catchers to name but a few. The Swale Estuary has now been designated as a Marine Conservation Zone and the Isle of Sheppey is a great place to view it.
Filming on the Isle of Sheppey
Visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras and capture many of the locations seen on the Big Screen such as Elmley Marshes, Swale Nature Reserve, Harty Ferry and Harty Church, The Swale and Sheerness Docks. Listings of all films shot on the Island can be found on the Kent Film Office website and include: Great Expectations, The Hide, Top Gear - The Sweeney.