Located on the Kentish coast where the English Channel meets the North Sea, Deal’s history is entangled with its location. Nearby Walmer is supposedly where Julius Caesar first touched Britain. Its proximity to France, often visible just 25 miles away, made it England’s busiest port during the 13th century. Offshore lies the notorious Goodwin Sands, a ten-mile sandbank that has claimed numberless ships, but which also protects a sheltered anchorage called The Downs that has been a strategic maritime resource for centuries. Henry VIII built three castles here, including the Tudor Deal Castle boasting a rose-shaped floor plan. Although it was a garrison town in the past, with a bustling Navy Yard and barracks of Royal Marines, today it is a seaside resort with a charming historic seafront and the last remaining leisure pier in Kent. As they have since the town was a “limb” of England’s medieval Cinque Ports, the boatmen of Deal maintain a watchful eye on the sea from lifeboat stations along the Kentish shore.