Wondering where Hoo got its name? Hoo is a Saxon word which means “spur of land.”
While visiting India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty, you may be interested to learn a little about the area. Who knew there was so much to do and see on the Hoo Peninsula?
But first a bit of background. The Hoo Peninsula lies between the River Thames and the River Medway. And it has a pretty impressive history! Roman pottery has been found at Cooling, and there is evidence to suggest that the Romans tried to build not one, but two sea walls! They also drained the marshes to create pastures for grazing sheep.
Since then the area has been continuously occupied and fortified from the Romans to the Tudors, the Restoration to Dickens and everyone in between! Right up to the present day the Hoo Peninsula has evolved with the times. During outbreaks of the Plague the desolate marshes were used as a quarantine area. These same marshes were well known to Charles Dickens who took much literary inspiration from them.
The Hoo Peninsula’s location on the North Kent coast made it vulnerable to invasion. It therefore became strategically important to the defence of Britain and there are several fortified buildings to explore.
Hopefully we don’t have to worry about invasions anymore, but there are other reasons for being here apart from India Gillan. There are good pubs, a few of which are identified below. Similarly the parish churches are too numerous to mention. However, pubs and churches are easily spotted. So keep an eye out on your travels around the Hoo Peninsula for these and other landmarks.
India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty is in Hoo St Werburgh. Not to be confused with St Mary Hoo a few miles further north-east!
Post Office – 11-17 Church Street ME3 9AH – Tel: 01634 250131.
Located in a Spar convenience store. Perfect for a quick grocery shop as well as all your postal needs. Store open Monday-Saturday 7am-10pm. Sunday 8am-10pm.
Co-Op – If you need to shop while you are visiting India Gillan, this is the place to be. 11-13 Main Rd, Hoo, Rochester ME3 9AA
Knights Pharmacy – 5 Main Road ME3 9AA – Tel: 01634 253780
Just in case… Open Monday-Saturday 9am-6.30pm. Closed on Sundays.
If you like Indian food, check out Pink Paprika at 2 Main Rd, Hoo, Rochester ME3 9AD
Everything from a quick cup of coffee to a leisurely Sunday lunch. Open Tuesday-Thursday 9am-4pm. Friday 9am-10.30pm. Sunday 12 noon – 4pm. Closed on Mondays.
McCoys Fish & Chips Bar – 2 Church Street ME3 9AJ – Tel: 01634 251909
Takeaway freshly sourced, deeply satisfying fish & chips! Open Monday-Saturday 12noon-2pm & 4.30-10pm. Closed on Sundays.
St Mary Hoo – approximately 4.5 miles from India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 244, falling to 238 at the 2011 Census. The first appearance of the name is in 1240.
St Mary’s Church – Hall Road ME3 8RH (or thereabouts!)
Although now a private house, it’s definitely worth a mention. This is where the Prince of Wales married Mrs Fitzherbert in December 1785. The marriage was illegal as the bride was a Roman Catholic widow. Anyone who’s seen the “Madness of King George” will know the story!
Fenn Bell Inn & Zoo – Ratcliffe Way, ME3 8RF – Tel: 01634 270422
Possibly named after one of the bells rung to warn of danger on the marshes. This is not just a pub with great pub grub. It’s also a zoo, the first in Medway to be granted a licence. There’s even a miniature railway! From this you can see some of the rescued exotic animals living in the grounds.
The Fenn Bell Inn is open Wednesday-Saturday 12noon-11pm, Sunday 12noon-10pm. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The zoo is open at weekends and during the school holidays. Check out the website for full details.
Allhallows – approximately 6.6 miles from India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty
Allhallows Golf Course – Avery Way, ME3 9QJ – Tel: 01634 271414
Continuing north-east on Ratcliffe Way from St Mary Hoo. This is a public, tranquil, 9 hole, pay and play golf course. It forms part of the nearby Allhallows Leisure Park which is a Haven Holiday Camp. Open daily 12.30pm-8.30pm.
Slough Fort – Allhallows, ME3 9QF – Tel: 07539 657676
A sort distance from Allhallows Golf Course. Slough Fort was built in 1867 when relations with France were reaching crisis point. During the First World War it became a command post. But it was decommissioned in 1920. It has been used as a stables since the 1960s. Tours of the fort are available at 11am on Sundays from 1st April. You can either book or simply turn up. Adults £4 Children £1.
Cliffe – approximately 6.5 miles north of India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty
Cliffe Fort – (8 miles from Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty) Mead Wall, ME3 7TG – Tel: 07963 703371
Perched right on the edge of the Hoo Peninsula opposite Tilbury in Essex. Cliffe Fort was built in the 1860s to protect London against invasion via the Thames Estuary. It is now derelict and closed to the public. But you can still walk around its impressive outer walls. It is notable as the site of the first wire guided torpedo in history. The Brennan torpedo. The torpedo is 100 years old and visible at low tide.
Cooling – approximately 4.5 miles north of India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty
Cooling Castle – Cooling Road, ME3 8DJ
Cooling Castle is under private ownership. However, it is of historical significance. It’s a quadrangular castle and was built by the Cobham family in the 1380s. It’s purpose was to guard against French raids into the estuary. So another fortified building on the strategically important Hoo Peninsula.
St James Church – ME3 8DG – Tel: 01634 220204
The church has a 500 year old wooden door complete with original hinges. And the vestry is adorned with thousands of cockleshells! It is therefore interesting in its own right. But its main claim to fame is the churchyard. This is where Dickens took his inspiration for the opening scene in Great Expectations. The church is open daily from 10am-4pm. Tours can be arranged by contacting the above number.
Horseshoe and Castle Pub – Main Road, ME3 8DJ – Tel: 01634 221691
Not far from Cooling Castle this is a traditional country inn. Offering all that this would imply including rooms! Close to the Horseshoe and Castle are not one, but two national nature reserves.
RSPB Northward Hill Nature Reserve – ME3 8DS – Tel: 01634 222480
On a ridge overlooking the Thames Northward Hill is a working farm. The birds are plentiful and include nightingales, lapwings, grey herons and whitethroats. It is also a great place for walking as well as birdwatching. Entry is free, but donations welcome. Open all year.
High Halstow – approximately 3.5 miles north of India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty
High Halstow National Nature Reserve – ME3 8TJ – Tel: 01634 222480
Part of the Northward Hill Nature Reserve. High Halstow National Nature Reserve has fabulous views across the Thames. With ancient oak woodlands it is a great place for walks. The open spaces provide perfect birdwatching conditions.
The Red Dog Pub – The Street, ME3 8SF – Tel: 01634 253001
After all that walking and birdwatching you might be feeling hungry! The food is good and reasonably priced. Dogs are welcome! There are bar games for those who prefer indoor activities! The atmosphere is cosy and casual. Opening hours are 12noon-11pm Sunday-Thursday and 12noon-1am Friday & Saturday.
Upnor – approximately 4.5 miles south of India Gillan Elite Permanent Makeup and Beauty
Upnor Castle – High Street, ME2 4XG – Tel: 01634 718742
An Elizabethan artillery fort on the River Medway overlooking Chatham Dockyard. It was built in 1559 to protect the dockyard and Royal Naval ships moored there. However, in 1667 the Dutch sailed past Upnor Castle’s defences. The British fleet was thus decimated. The castle is open from April 1st. Adults £6.40, Concessions & Children (5-16) £4. Family (2 adults+3 children) £16.80.
Tudor Rose Pub – 29/31 High Street, ME2 4XG – Tel: 01634 714715
Located next to historic Upnor Castle and the River Medway. This is a “quaint” pub with good food and friendly service. There is also a garden. Opening hours are 12noon-11pm Monday-Saturday and 12noon-10pm on Sundays. The restaurant is open from 12noon-3pm & 6pm-9pm Monday to Saturday and 12noon-4pm on Sundays.