Coalhouse Fort is located on the banks of the Thames in the village of East Tilbury in Essex. Constructed in the 1860s, this impressive fortification was designed to protect England from seaborne attack by the French. Coalhouse Fort was also in use for the two World Wars, its defences updated accordingly - for example, a Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun was installed on the roof of the fort in 1943. If you're staying in any nearby Essex hotels, Coalhouse Fort makes for a fascinating day out and a great place to learn about Britain's defensive history.
Explore Britain's Military Past from Hotels in Essex
Today, Coalhouse Fort is run entirely by volunteers who took over management of the site in 1983. Thanks to the Coalhouse Fort Protect, the fort is open to the public every last Sunday of the month between March and September and most bank holidays, so if you're staying in nearby hotels in Essex you should time your visit accordingly. As well as guided tours and displays of military paraphernalia, Coalhouse Fort runs a series of open days throughout the year, including a classic vehicle day in July.
In Easy Reach of Essex Hotels
Thankfully, you don't need to mount a seaborne attack to reach Coalhouse Fort and it is easily reached wherever you're staying in the county of Essex, with good access to road and car parking facilities. East Tilbury, the nearest village, also has a railway station, and it is a roughly 15-minute walk from there to reach the fort. The are many Essex hotels close by, including the Bell Inn, located in nearby Stanford-le-Hope, and the Ibis London Thurrock, located in West Thurrock.
The nearest village to Coalhouse Fort is East Tilbury, a small settlement with a unique character. One of the first villages in the UK to adopt a modernist aesthetic, it was originally designed and built by the Bata Shoe Company, whose founder Thomas Bata was a leading proponent of the modernist movement. For this reason, it's worth visiting East Tilbury if you're after a unique day out and have had your fill of afternoon teas!