Coalhouse Fort is an artillery fort built in the 1860s to guard the lower Thames from seaborne attack. It stands at Coalhouse Point in Essex on the north bank of the river, at a location near East Tilbury that was vulnerable to raiders and invaders. It was the last in a series of fortifications dating back to the 15th century and was the direct successor to a smaller mid-19th century fort built on the same site. Constructed during a period of tension with France, its location on marshy ground caused problems from the start and led to a lengthy construction process. The fort was equipped with a variety of large-calibre artillery guns and the most modern defensive facilities at the time, including shell-proof casemates protected by granite facing and cast-iron shields. However, its lengthy construction and the rapid pace of artillery development at the time meant that it was virtually obsolete for its original purpose within a few years of its completion.A visit to Coalhouse Fort represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Tilbury trip planner to plot your vacation.
The fort's armament was revised several times during its seventy years of military usage, as its role evolved in the river's defensive system. It was initially a front-line fortification, supported by Shornemead Fort and Cliffe Fort located to the south and east respectively on the Kent shore. Over time, as batteries and forts further downriver became the front line of the Thames defences, Coalhouse Fort was stripped of its main weapons and its fabric was altered to support smaller quick-firing guns intended to be used against fast-moving surface and aerial targets. Its last military usage was as a training facility for a few years after the Second World War.
Coalhouse Fort Reviews
First time here and not the last. Great location, lots of history, easy parking, fab views of the Thames and even though the fort was closed we still had plenty to see, walking aroung the building... more »
The fort was closed so we walked around it. You can get close to the river. There is good ground for picnics and a play area for young kids. There is a cafe which is clean and just what you need. 2... more »
A fabulous park set in an historic and well maintained natural setting. There is a free car park on site and a well stocked cafe for drinks, breakfasts and snacks. There are also unisex toilets and a visitor information centre. This park circles Coalhouse Fort itself, which is only open to the public on a limited basis - check their web site for details. The park does get much busier when the fort is open, especially when they hold themed days or classic car events. At other times it is very adequately provided with seating and walks for those who just want to explore the park itself.
A beautiful place to visit with dogs and children. Can do crabbing, bike rides and perfect for scooters on the flat smooth hills. The walks along the Thames to the other Fort are all scenic and clean and amazing views for miles. We had the best childhood memories here, and now with my own kids... STUNNING PLACE.
Places to stay near Coalhouse Fort
Plan your trip to Tilbury
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Popular things to do in Tilbury
Plans to Coalhouse Fort by other users
53 days in England, Dundee & Glasgow BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA May, popular sights PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 2 days in Thurrock BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 16 days in France & Gravesend BY A USER FROM EGYPT December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 7 days in Gravesend BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, popular sights PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 1 day in Tilbury BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, popular sights PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 1 day in Benfleet BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium