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More Top Hotels Southend-on-Sea
Chatham Historic Dockyard
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.
Eastbridge Hospital and Greyfriars Chapel
Visitors to Eastbridge Hospital can see the Chantry Chapel, the Undercroft, the Refectory and the Pilgrim's Chapel. At Greyfriars Chapel and the Franciscan Gardens visitors can read about the history of the Chapel and take a stroll around the Franciscan Gardens. Eastbridge Hospital is open all year between Monday and Saturday from 10am until 5pm, but closed on Sundays. Greyfriars Chapel and the Franciscan Gardens are open from Easter to the end of September from 2.00pm until 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday but is also closed on Sundays. Entry is free but donations are gratefully received.
Secret Nuclear Bunker
Hidden behind the doors of an unpretentious bungalow lies what was once one of Britain's best kept secrets. Built in 1952 with 40.000 tons of concrete, 100 feet below, lies the bunker that was built with the purpose to give shelter to a devolved central government and military commanders if the UK would have been attacked and nuclear war broken out. The bunker consists of a maze of rooms that offered enough space to house 600 people, with own water supply and electricity generators. There is also a civilian operations room for Ministers or even the Prime Minister to organise survival measures following a nuclear attack, a scientists' centre, military operations command centre to organize retaliation, canteen, 5 dormitories, a sick bay and a BBC Studio. Visitors can take an audio tour through the bunker which was built under such secrecy that not even its neighbours knew about its existence. There are free parking facilities, a gift shop, refreshments and toilets. Please note that due to its design and purpose of the bunker there are no lifts and the three storeys are only accessible via stairs. It is recommended to wear flat shoes. Opening times : Summer Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm (last entry) Weekend and holidays 10am to 5 pm (last entry) Winter Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4 pm
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)