Upnor Beach | Medway’s Secret Gem

The village of Upnor lies on the banks of the river Medway and at low tide you’re able to walk along the shore all the way to Hoo Marina. While we suppose Upnor Beach technically is a beach we wouldn’t like to sunbathe there or try to build a sandcastle!

The views are pretty spectacular, but the river banks at Upnor are very muddy and stony which don’t make for a very fun time if you’re looking to do much else but enjoy the scenery.

Upnor beach at sunrise
Photograph by @rowesk

Read on to find our top tips for visiting the beach and what to do when you’re here!

The beach is accessible from Lower Upnor and is part of the Saxon Shore Way walking path that runs much of Kent’s coastline. Due to the tide times, however, the full path towards Hoo isn’t accessible for much of the day and requires good timing should you plan on walking to Hoo and back without getting some wet socks!

Upnor beach is 1.6km long before crossing its narrowest point at Cockham Wood Fort – a point which takes roughly 40 minutes to stroll to and back from the start of the path in Lower Upnor.

The only public toilets for miles have been shuttered with the recent closure of the Arethusa Adventure Centre, which owned the land and the toilets which were primarily used by those at the club who were kayaking on the water along Upnor Beach.

If you continue along the road in Lower Upnor, you’ll eventually come across the Upnor Sailing Club. These boats launch from Upnor Beach and sail along the River Medway and beyond.

There are several interesting spots along Upnor Beach which you should keep an eye out for should you walk along our little portion of Saxon Shore Way, including a military pillbox built in 1940 which sadly has slipped from it’s standing on the shoreline to the beach (but makes for an interesting photo). It’s a FW3/22 class box, built to protect the UK from a potential enemy invasion during World War II.

Pillbox at Upnor Beach, Saxon Shore Way
Photograph courtesy of Edenbridge Fragrances

Is Upnor Beach dog friendly?

Absolutely! The local pubs may not be (check our updated guide to Upnor’s pubs for the latest information there) but our dogs always have a great time dashing into the water and digging in the silt. We must warn you though that the beach is always muddy, so remember to bring towels for your four legged companions!

Is it recommended for families?

It’s a short walk from the car park, so while we would recommend it for families, it really is a walking beach rather than a pleasure beach. If you’re expecting to make sand castles and get the beach chairs out, you may be sorely disappointed.

Jellyfish in Upnor

You may spot a few jellyfish washed up on Upnor’s beach, especially if we have had a hot summer. These jellyfish are usually the size of a small plate with four rings inside their translucent body and sometimes can blend into the rocks on the beach.

If you want to learn more about Upnor’s jellyfish, make sure to read our article: Should I be worried about Jellyfish in Upnor?

Nearby Attractions

Close to the beach are two pubs, The Pier and The Ship — both serve food, along with Upnor Castle a further 10 minute walk away. The Elizabethan military castle is a fascinating piece of history and highly recommended to visit if you’re in the area. You can find more out about the castle and its history here.

Upnor Beach Parking

There is parking available at a public car park close to Medway Yacht Club, but it is only open for limited periods throughout the day and year for safety and to prevent anti-social behaviour. With the sale of the Arethusa Adventure Centre however, this may change in the future, we’ll keep this page updated with any changes.

Otherwise, there is a free car park in Upper Upnor with limited spaces. However, this means you’ll need to walk to Upnor Beach (about 15 minutes). In addition, there are occasionally spots on the street around Lower Upnor, especially during the day when most people have left the village for work.

When’s the best time to go?

That really depends on the tide, but with a little planning you can walk all the way to Hoo from Upnor with some great views of the Medway river and even the boat graveyard in Hoo.

Check the tide table below to learn more.

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Comments (1):

  1. Bob

    October 18, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    This is a great website but it would be helpful to have some idea of how long the “window” is when the beach is normally accessible. For example, is it only at low tide itself or one hour either side of low tide or three hours either side of low tide. Thanks


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