It’s been a rough summer in England. Voters, some without understanding the issues, decided to leave the European Union. The prime minister immediately resigned as a result. While the soccer—sorry, the football—team lost to a country known more for its volcanoes than its sports teams. And it’s only July.
You need to get out of London. A trip to Kent, on the country’s southeast coast, sounds perfect. A little island, in the Thames Estuary, sounds even better. So you’re off to the Isle of Sheppey. A beach day may not be able to stop the chatter, though it should be able to drown out the headlines.
The Isle of Sheppey (the isle of sheep) is a low-lying island that was occupied by the Romans, the Vikings, and even the Dutch throughout history. A Benedictine convent was built on the hillside in the 7th century. King Edward III created a castle in what is now Queenborough. Sheerness, the largest town, was established as a fort to protect the river from a naval invasion. British aviation was even born on the island.
Today the island—lined with extensive marshland and filled with, yes, grazing sheep—is a peaceful escape. Holiday homes dot the north coast. A gently sloping, grassy bank and colorful huts sit at the edge of Minster Leas, a long, sandy beach. While sailors and windsurfers, kayakers and bass fishermen each find moments of solitude in the water. Hopefully you can too.