If you fancy visiting a small museum in the middle of a military firing range, then you may want to put some dates into your diary.

The Foulness Heritage Centre can be found deep inside a military firing range island on the far edge of Essex facing out to the North Sea. Being military grounds, the whole island is off-limits, save for a few farmers who still live there, and on just one Sunday per month during the warmer seasons, one road opens to the public.

After going through security, and a 5-mile trip through the firing range, a church will appear, and a small village — and a museum. Yes, here in the middle of the firing range is a museum. Foulness Island actually has a lot of history to show off and the museum is very good and worth a visit in its own right, but that it’s so difficult to visit and in such a strange place pushes it to the top of the list of desirability.

The MOD has confirmed that, unless Covid ruins things again, then the heritage centre will be open from April to October, on the first Sunday of the month.

Should you fancy a visit, then access is between 11:45am to 4pm, via the security gate at the entrance to Foulness Island. The only way to get to the museum from there is by bicycle or motor vehicle — they frown upon walking.

Get there very early, and if the weather is willing, then they can also offer tractor tours around the island, which you would never otherwise be allowed to see.

Entering MOD Shoeburyness via the security gate to visit the Heritage Centre permits you to use the main spine road to travel to and from the village, but for no other purpose or access and visitors must not deviate from this route.

If cycling there, then the nearest railway station is at Shoeburyness, about 2.5 miles away from the security gate.


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  1. Geoffrey Cohen says:

    How do I book Foulest visit or do I just turn up on the dates in question?

  2. Alan Simpson says:

    I visited back in 2019 and just turned up at the security gate and joined a queue about 30 minutes before the gates opened – no booking online. Arriving early is key to getting a tractor tour, which you must book in person at the museum: it’s ‘first come, first served’ so do that as soon as you arrive there.

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