On the coastal path near Kingsdown you can sometimes lose track of time, especially if you’re relying on your mobile phone.

As you ascend along the coast above the beach of pebbles, the trail passes dream houses facing the Channel. At the horizon, there is a faint silhouette France. One moment you may look at your phone and it’s 10am. One moment, it might be 10am. Then the next you’ll see that time has jumped forward to 11.

In this peaceful part of the Kent coast, you are so close to French shores — about 20 miles away — that technology sometimes thinks you are in Calais.

Tom Chesshyre says that 'you can sometimes lose track of time' walking on the coastal path at Kingsdown (pictured at the far left of the image). The village on the right is Walmer. This stretch of coastline is only about 20 miles from France. 'This is about as close to "going abroad" as you can get, without actually doing so,' Tom adds

Tom Chesshyre said that it is possible to lose time while walking along the Kingsdown coast path (pictured in the bottom left). Walmer can be seen on the right. The French coast is just 20 miles away from this stretch. Tom says, “This is as close as you can get to going abroad,” without actually being there. 

Historic: Walmer Castle was built by Henry VIII in 1539-40 to protect Britain from different invaders

Historical: Henry VIII built Walmer Castle in 1539-40 as a defense against different invaders.

‘It’s caught me out many a time,’ says the barmaid at The Coastguard pub, a few miles on in St Margaret’s at Cliffe. This pub claims to be the nearest one to France in mainland Britain, according to a sign.

‘A votre sante,’ we say, toasting our hike with Kentish ale. This is about as close to ‘going abroad’ as you can get, without actually doing so — and you can understand why Noel Coward and Ian Fleming were both drawn to live here. 

The cliffs and the French ferries give you the feeling of being at the edge.

Kingsdown is a village with 1,750 inhabitants, a first-rate butcher’s, a grocery shop, a church and three fine pubs of its own: the Kings Head, the Rising Sun and — maybe the best of the lot, as it’s on the beach — the Zetland Arms.

Tom describes the setting of Walmer Castle, pictured above, as 'one of England’s most historic spots'

Tom describes the setting of Walmer Castle, pictured above, as ‘one of England’s most historic spots’

Since the 18th century, Walmer Castle (pictured) has been the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

Walmer Castle, pictured (pictured), has been Walmer Castle’s official residence since the 18th Century.

This is a hostelry-to-population ratio that, if matched nationally, would mean we’d have 115,000 pubs across the UK (in reality, there are just over 40,000). 

It is also a great base for those who enjoy a drink at the end the day, such as walkers on the coast path.

And there is plenty of path upon which to tramp — plus all sorts of interest, including one of England’s most historic spots.

Walmer Castle is run by English Heritage and has 'gorgeous gardens'. Pictured is the Queen Mother's Garden

English Heritage runs Walmer Castle and boasts ‘gorgeous Gardens’. The Queen Mother’s Garden is shown in the picture

The Queen Mother, pictured, stayed at Walmer Castle as Lord Warden from 1978 to 2002 and 'loved the place'

A hallway at Walmer Castle. 'Nearby Deal and Sandwich have their own castle remains to explore, too,' Tom notes

Pictured on the right is Queen Mother. From 1978 to 2002, she was Walmer Castle’s Lord Warden and “loved” the castle. To the right, you can see a corridor at Walmer Castle. Tom points out that Sandwich and Nearby Deal have their castles to explore.

In 55BC, Julius Caesar landed in Kent, coming to blows with squadrons of ‘barbarians’ (us), who were waiting with spears. Caesar was defeated by his ships after skirmishes. The next year, he returned with more troops and encountered less resistance. He also experienced an increase in his strength as he sped inland. However, again, the bad weather thwarted his plans.

Just north of Kingsdown is a plaque that marks Walmer as the place where Romans might have arrived. Walking enthusiasts will find Walmer a delight. Henry VIII built the castle in 1539-40 as a defense against French invaders.

However, since 18th-century, it was the official residence for Lord Warden, who oversees the Cinque Ports block, which includes the ports of Kent, Sussex, and Essex. From 1978 to 2002, the Queen Mother served as Lord Warden and loved this place. 

Pictured is the Walmer Castle room that is preserved as it was when the Duke of Wellington, the then warden, died there in 1852

This is Walmer Castle’s room, as it looked when Duke of Wellington died in it in 1852.

English Heritage runs the castle with beautiful gardens, and the room that was the Duke of Wellington’s bedroom when he died at the castle in 1852.

Sandwich, near Deal, has its own castle to be explored. The biggie is the medieval Dover Castle to the south.

Zetland Arms are the ideal place to visit when the sun goes down. Get out there and start walking. Don’t worry what time your phone may think it is — and bon soir.  

Medieval Dover Castle, pictured above, lies to the south of Walmer. Tom describes it as the 'biggie' of the region's castles

The Medieval Dover Castle is located to the south-east of Walmer. Tom calls it the “biggie” of all the castles in the area.