Inside the Abandoned Wells Firework Factory, Dartford

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

Sometimes, the biggest adventures are right on your doorstep. There is a river that flows near my house and once you exit our estate, you can follow the river along a creek, onto Dartford marshes and right down to the Thames. There on the marshes is the abandoned Wells Fireworks Factory and one day I joined a Derelict London Dartford tour, braved the brambles and briars and took a look inside.

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

"When I was young, all I wanted was to be free".

The Remote London website gives some information on the famous Wells Firework Factory, which was abandoned in the 1970s:

Wells Fireworks was founded by Joseph Wells in Dartford in 1837, probably expanding onto this low-lying saltmarsh in the early 1950s. The explosive nature of the fireworks business required isolated work units, rather than one big factory, and Dartford Marshes provided the space. If one building went up, the hope was that others would survive.

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

"No one will ever know I was here".

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

This was taken inside one of the many buildings, looking out across the land.

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

"General Rules for Factories Licensed Under the Explosives Act, 1875"

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

It was a very good job that I wore long sleeves and jeans on the day because my legs and arms would have been shredded otherwise.

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

One of the things that impressed me was how quiet the site is. It's a frozen snapshot of time and a sign of how much work we do in the modern world to stop the relentless attempts of nature to reclaim human spaces.

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

Many of the buildings were too far gone to explore.

Abandoned and Derelict | Wells Fireworks Factory | Dartford

A rose amongst the ruin.

After 3.5 hours walking and 24,000 steps, my big adventure was over. I've never returned to the Wells Fireworks Factory but run out onto the marshes several times a month.

A Perfect Spring Day in Whitstable

Whitstable is one of my favourite towns on earth. I don't quite think I could ever live there (or afford to) but I do love visiting as often as I can. The last time I went, I expected it to be a beautiful, warm spring day. We were blessed with blue skies and sunshine but it was definitely not warm.

Our first stop was the Lobster Shack, which I wrote about in 2016. We shared a platter of oysters, fresh out of the sea. 'Mouthwatering' doesn't even come close to describing it.

The food here is so good, there is a reason it's packed nearly every day of the year.

For our main course, we both had half a lobster tail with fresh chilli and chorizo, for £14.95. I swear I'm going to splurge out on a full tail next time I'm there.

We went for a long walk through Whitstable after our meal. We definitely needed it after eating every last crumb on our plates.

This town is lovely in summer when everyone is sailing their boats on the sea. Then again, I've never actually managed to get a table at the Lobster Shack during the warmer months, so swings and roundabouts!

I love this little boat. I haven't yet visited the restaurant to which it's attached but I must do so one day!

After a long, brisk walk, we came in from the cold and huddled, shivering in the famous Whitstable Old Neptune.

I can't remember what we were planning on drinking but it all fell by the wayside when we discovered they had Baileys Hot Chocolate on the menu. That is, hands down, the yummiest, most welcome drink I've ever had.

All too soon, it was time to head back to the car, past some pretty seaside cottages that I definitely couldn't afford. I shouldn't complain, I'd find it too busy in summer anyway.

I love towns like Whitstable. Do you have a favourite seaside town?

An Afternoon in Chiddingstone, Kent

Chiddingstone Post Office, Kent

I love Kent and tiny little Kentish villages. On a sunny, wintery, February day, we travelled down to the village of Chiddingstone, one of the best preserved Tudor villages in England and said to be home to England’s oldest shop.

Classic English confectionary in the Chiddingstone Post Office

The Chiddingstone Stores and Post Office date back to a deed of 1453 and according to Kent Life, was later owned by Thomas Boleyn (father of Anne), who owned Hever Castle. Stepping into the Chiddingstone Post Office was a trip down memory lane. There were rows of classic English confectionary, cards, gifts and classic toys.

Inside the Chiddingstone Post Office

My step-mum owned a post office in the 90s and this reminded me so much of sneaking downstairs into the shop after hours to buy a 10p bag of sweets.

The Tulip Tree Tea Rooms, Chiddingstone

After stocking up on sweets and cards, our next stop was The Tulip Tree Tea Rooms located behind the post office.

Inside The Tulip Tree Tea Rooms, Chiddingstone

The tea rooms are located in a converted coach house and are warm, cosy and inviting.

Homemade sausage rolls, The Tulip Tree Tea Rooms, Chiddingstone

When we walked in, we noticed the most amazing smell. I can't remember what we thought we were going to have for lunch but as soon as we discovered the source of the aroma, we decided on the homemade sausage rolls. They were delicious.

Footpath to the Chiding Stone

Sufficiently warmed up and with full, happy bellies, we went in search of the famous Chiding Stone.

The Chiding Stone, Chiddingstone, Kent

The National Trust tells us that The Chiding Stone may have been used by ancient druids for judicial purposes. Then again, it might also have been used during Medieval times to chide "nagging wives, wrongdoers and witches".

Fields behind Chiddingstone

One of the main reasons we went to Chiddingstone was because there is a great 5 mile walk from Chiddingstone that will take you past Hever Castle and Markbeech. Sadly, illness prevented us from taking a long walk on the day but we'll definitely return.

St Mary the Virgin Church, Chiddingstone

Our last stop in Chiddingstone was the St Mary the Virgin Church, which dates back to the 13th century.

Chiddingstone High Street, Kent

We had a fabulous afternoon. We'll definitely return to Chiddingstone one day, not only for the circular walk but also because Chiddingstone Castle and The Castle Inn pub are said to fabulous.

Directions to Chiddingstone Post Office
3 The Village

A Brunch at the Duck & Waffle, London

The View of London from Duck & Waffle

It’s scandalous how often we take luke-warm reviews seriously without trying a place out for ourselves. Although, if I’m honest, my reason for never having visited the Duck & Waffle in Bishopsgate had more to do with never successfully getting a weekend brunch booking than it did reviews. We finally got to visit Duck & Waffle for my bestie’s birthday on a cold January morning and it was worth it for the delicious food and fabulous views.

St Mary Axe from Duck & Waffle

The views and surroundings might not be as good as the Sky Garden, my favourite place from which to get fabulous views of London, but they are fine nonetheless and make for a lovely dining experience.

The famous Duck & Waffle

I tried out the Duck Benedict - braised duck leg, waffle, hen’s egg & Sriracha. It was absolutely delicious. Duck & Waffle isn’t the cheapest restaurant but I was much happier paying £18 for this mouth-watering treat than being robbed of £18 for a full English breakfast at London City Airport recently.

Looking down from Duck and Waffle

Alas, our time at the Duck & Waffle was soon over. We were very pleasantly surprised that no matter how busy they were, we were made to feel relaxed and welcome, with great service and attention to the child in our group.

Lloyds Building, London

One of the best parts about Duck & Waffle is the location and I took everyone on a tour of my favourite sights in the City of London after our breakfast. Above is the Lloyds Building, with a conveniently placed husband for scale.

Willis Building London

I’ve always loved the Willis Building, especially when you capture the reflection of the Lloyds Building in its curved facade. This shot is infinitely more lovely on a sunny day!

Leadenhall Market

We walked through Leadenhall Market which dates back to the 14th century. Today it is more famous for its Harry Potter connection – Harry and Hagrid walk through the market and then enter the Leaky Cauldron.

St Dunstan in the East

Our final stop was the bombed-out church of St Dunstan-in-the-East. Destroyed in the Blitz, the site is now home to a garden surrounded by the original church walls. The garden is beautiful in summer – see Revisiting St Dunstan-in-the-East.

Duck & Waffle
110 Bishopsgate