Our guide to living on the Isle of Sheppey

Dubbed Kent’s Treasure Island, the Isle of Sheppey is full of gems waiting to be discovered – from history and heritage, to natural beauty spots, and of course its golden sandy beaches. With quick and simple journeys to London and the mainland, there’s no reason not to take advantage of island living.

Our Guide to living on the isle of Sheppey
Our Guide to living on the isle of Sheppey
Sheppey Beeches


The Isle of Sheppey provides a wide selection of shops, with a good mix of independent sitting alongside national chains. Sheerness town centre in particular offers a winning combination of local retailers, eateries, cafes, and coffee shops, and also welcomes a market to Rose Street every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the year, boasting a selection of stalls to suit every taste.

For sports fans there are plenty of facilities to take advantage of. From biking round the island’s nature reserves, taking to the waves at Sheppey Sailing Club, to enjoying a range of activities and classes at Sheppey Leisure Complex – including swimming, tennis, badminton and football. Golfers can enjoy the challenging course at nearby Sheerness Golf Club.

Short Brothers

The Isle of Sheppey’s history

Separated from the rest of Kent by a narrow arm of sea called the ‘Swale’, The Isle of Sheppey was known by the Saxons as ‘Sceapig’, meaning ‘Sheep Island’ – named as such due to the number of sheep continually feeding on its land!

You might be surprised to learn that the Isle of Sheppey is the birthplace of British aviation. The Short Brothers constructed their first aircraft factory on land next to Muswell Manor in Leysdown-on-Sea and it is also the site where the first circular mile in Britain was flown in 1909.

The island is also proud of its nautical heritage. It’s said that Admiral Lord Nelson learned many of his seafaring skills in the waters of Queensborough Harbour, while he also shared a house nearby with his mistress, Lady Hamilton. The area has been a hub of maritime activity throughout its varied life – Sheerness established itself as a Royal Navy Dockyard in the 17th century and served as such until 1960.

Sheppey also has a royal connection with King Henry VIII often staying at Shurland Castle, and he also chose the island as the place to celebrate his honeymoon with Anne Boleyn. 

Sheppey Beach Huts

Properties to buy on the Isle of Sheppey

If you are thinking about making a move to the Isle of Sheppey, rest assured that there are a range of properties available, from 1 bed flats and holiday homes, up to 5 bed+ detached family homes.

Sheerness is the largest town on the island, the site of a former Royal Dockyard, and is where you’ll find a seaside vibe – especially along Marine Parade. The villages of Minster and Eastchurch are also popular locations to call home.

Investors take note that the rental market on the island is booming and many are taking advantage of the range of accommodation available.

Sheppey Crossing

Transport links from the Isle of Sheppey

The Isle of Sheppey is well connected with two train stations located at Sheerness and Queenborough, meaning you can get to Canterbury and Rochester in less than an hour and London in around an hour and a half.

There are excellent bus routes across the island, in addition to easy access to the M2 and M20, which make for quick and simple journeys to London and the mainland.

There is also a popular boat to Southend which hosts regular themed nights.


Isle of Sheppey schools

Those with school-aged children will be pleased to know there are some good schools in most of the villages across the Isle of Sheppey, including Minster-in-Sheppey Community Primary School in Brecon Chase, and St George’s C of E Primary School on Chequers Road, amongst others.


Things to see and do on the Isle of Sheppey

The Isle of Sheppey is so much more than a seaside holiday destination. Alongside its award-winning beaches, is a whole host of things to see and do – from biking and bird-watching, getting emersed in its rich history, to enjoying fine food, and so much more!

If you enjoy dining out, then the Isle of Sheppey certainly won’t disappoint. Rose Cafe Greek Cuisine on Sheerness High Street serves great authentic food. If Turkish and Mediterranean is more to your taste then Mem’s Mezze on Half Way Road serves delicious delicacies, or if you prefer oriental cuisine then book a table at the popular Dragon Palace on Minster Road, also in Sheerness.

Sheppey’s low-lying marshes make it one of the best places in the UK to see birds of prey. A paradise for artists, photographers, fossil hunters, and cyclists alike, Swale National Nature Reserve and Elmley National Nature Reserve are internationally renowned for protecting a range flora and fauna, including water birds, birds of prey, hares, dragonflies, and bees.

The history buffs amongst you will likely want to visit Minster Gatehouse Museum which displays articles from Victorian times, fossils and artefacts from local archaeological digs. Aviation history fans can also get their fix at the Muswell Manor, a 16th Century Grade II listed building, and Eastchurch Aviation Museum – both steeped in unique early aviation history and representing the first aviation manufacturing facility in the UK.

Heritage and entertainment come together at the Blue Town Heritage Centre and The Criterion Music Hall and Cinema. The Centre contains memorabilia and artefacts referencing Sheppey’s broad and varied history – such as aviation, maritime, war time, and natural history – while the music hall and cinema located within it host films, tribute acts and live music. Combined with the tasty snacks and cream teas served in the tea room, it makes for a fantastic day out!

We couldn’t not mention the more traditional past time for which Sheppey is known – seaside shenanigans! Enjoy the award-winning and Blue Flag beaches right on your doorstep to relax and breathe in the sea air – including Leysdown beach, Minster beach, and Sheerness beach, to name but a few. Or the more adventurous among you can take to the waves at the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club in Sheerness, or go kayaking, boating, and kiting at Barton’s Point Coastal Park.

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Talk to a trusted estate agent

Are you thinking of moving to the Isle of Sheppey? At Harrisons Homes independent estate agent, we pride ourselves on our local knowledge – we’d be pleased to talk to you about what makes the Isle of Sheppey a great place to call home. Call us on 01795 474848 or email hello@harrisonshomes.co.uk for a chat.