Chatham Dockyard built ships from the 16th to the 20th century, the last one launched in 1966. Many of these were Royal Navy warships, including HMS Victory. This maritime heritage and many of the original buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries have now been preserved as a visitor and educational attraction. Covering 80 acres, the Dockyard has land-based displays such as the Wooden Walls, describing the 18th century navy, and the Ropery, and also three different types of ship to visit: a Victorian sloop, a World War 2 destroyer and a 1960s submarine. There is also a lifeboat display.
The site has a shop, café and car park. It is open daily from February to October; hours vary, details are on the website. Land displays are accessible for the disabled, but visits to the ships are difficult. Virtual tours are available as an alternative.
The Hop Farm
The Hop Farm is set in 400 acres of the Kent Countryside and has a museum where you can see old farming traditions and some of the machinery that was used. There are around 12 Oast houses which are located in the Oast Village and here you can see how they used to make beer. They still grow hops purely for demonstration purposes.
There is also a small farm holding area where you can walk around and visit pigs, sheep, cows and many other animals. Facilities also include a new Skypark which provides activities for visitors, a gift shop, craft centre and tea rooms. Car parking is available and free. Opening times are 10am to 5pm (last admission at 4pm) and they are open year round,except between 24th-31st December
Braintree District Museum
Braintree District Museum takes the visitor on a journey through the past of the town. Starting with the earliest findings in the area which date back to the Bronze Age it displays items of daily use. A special section of the museum is dedicated to the textile industry which was a main issue for the development of the town.
The museum is located in a Victorian schoolhouse and one room has stayed completedly furnished as a period classroom.
A statue of one of the most famous sons of the town, the naturalist John Ray, can be seen in the old schoolyard in front of the main entrance to the museum.
The museum offers a gift shop, toilets and a cafe and disabled facilities.
For temporary exhibitions and events please refer to website.
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
Parking available (fee)
Visitors can tour Charleston Farmhouse - once home of the author Virgina Woolf and other members of the Bloomsbury Group - and its gardens. Part of the house shows a display of art by members of the group such as Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The house is as it was originally decorated with pieces and fabrics designed by the artists themselves.
The gardens are also open to the public at a reduced cost.
There is limited disabled access to the house though some facilities are accessible.
The house is open to visitors for organised tours between March and October. Unaccompanied visits can be made on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays. See the website for comprehensive opening hours.