Visit Walmington on Sea

Walmington-on-Sea was the wartime home of George Mainwaring, Arthur Wilson, Mavis Pike and all the characters from Dad’s Army. It is located on the south-coast of England, in Kent or maybe east Sussex. Far removed from the mass tourism of Blackpool, or the sophisticated sheen of the ‘royal’ resorts Walmington is a small, modest resort, perhaps a little like nearby Bexhill.
The South Coast - Walmington-on-SeaRichard Webber describes the town this way:

“If you were looking for a little peace and tranquility by the sea, Walmington-on-Sea has all you could want from a seaside town. Time seems to stand still in this sleepy little resort, and not just because the town hall clock stopped at ten past three in 1939.”

The definitive description of the town comes from its creators, Jimmy Perry and David Croft:

“It is only a little place. People with not too much money can retire there to spend their declining years in small houses and bungalows. In happier times, a string of neat comfortable Georgian guest houses could accommodate well-mannered families during the summer months. Mother and father could listen to the band while the children played on the fine clean sand, or the whole family could watch the Pierrots. Hopeful fishermen dangled their lines from the Pier. Stones Amusement Arcade housed some slot machines where for a penny you could watch a fireman slide up a ladder to rescue a woman from a burning house or see a murderer hanged or a French aristocrat guillotined.

The Novelty Rock Emporium turned out crisp mint rock and giant humbugs. But all that is gone now. The Pier has a twenty-foot gap in the middle, the beach bristles with barbed wire, criss-crossed scaffolding, pill boxes and concrete anti-tank blocks. Stead and Simpsons and Timothy Whites still carry on — so do Jones the Butcher, Frazer the undertaker, Hodges the Greengrocer and the Marigold Tea Rooms and Mr Mainwaring’s Bank.

But the threat across the channel is never far from their thoughts. Hitler is there with all his military might and make no mistake about it, when he launches his attack against Britain, Walmington-on-Sea will be in the Front line.”

Walimington-on-Sea in wartime

28 thoughts on “Visit Walmington on Sea

  1. The map shown in the 2016 film shows Walmington-on-sea to be very close to Eastbourne, probably the Pevensey Bay area.

  2. Walmington on sea. The mystery deepens…… This eve, in a repeat of Dads army.
    When looking for fifth columnist. A couple of references was made, just five miles from Dover? And just down the road from Dymchurch just to confuse the issue.

  3. I think Walmington can only be Pevensey Bay area. Eastbourne is to big, Rye is to rural, so if not Pevensey then one of the small villages on that Eastbourne / Hastings stretch of coast.

  4. I believe Wilmington-on-sea is a fictional town its name is made up from Walter & Birchington-on-sea.Both on the Kent coast ,I think one of the writers had family or holidays in both towns.

  5. Isn’t it obvious. Warmington-on-Sea is Hastings. The giveaway is in the theme tune “Mr Brown goes off to town on the A twenty One” The A21 is the road from Hastings to London. Listen to the words, it is definitely A21, not the 8.21 as often miss reported as.

    1. Rye is too hilly, too up itself (see “Mapp & Lucia”) and too far from the sea proper to be Walmington. Hastings is far too large – and commuting to London & back by car/bus pre-war from Hastings would be ridiculous (it takes long enough nowadays – I’ve tried it). Mr. Brown takes the 08:21 train (as per the official lyrics).

      Anyway, both are in Sussex and the lads wear the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment badges – which even if “wrong” for the south coast is distinctively Kent (of which the writers/designers would have been well aware). …
      For my money it’s envisioned as a small, Birchington-on-sea type place, but in the Hythe-Sandgate area – i.e facing France…. But you pays your money and you takes your choice…

  6. I think Walmington is in Kent because they have the Invicta cap badge of Kent. I remember as a child all our exercise books had this printed on the back

  7. The funny thing is, Walmington-on-Sea and its surrounding area look absolutely nothing like Sussex or Kent. The terrain is totally flat and the buildings completely wrong. Its very obviously East Anglia!

    1. Yes the series was filmed in and around Thetford in Norfolk; the 1971 film mostly in the Thames Valley and the 2015 film in Yorkshire. Poor old Kent and Sussex seem to miss out each time.

  8. I loved watching dads army so when i googled where was walmington on sea i was so disappointed it was a fictional place coming from Australia

    1. It is a shame the place is not real, but the humour of the show was fantastic. Have a lovely day/evening as to what ever time you read this. Lol sally. Robin hood country. England.

  9. Excellent link to Martins Bank archive. I never knew this site existed. Great to see Walmington on Sea branch recognised in this way.

  10. In the episode Son’s of the Sea they have rowed down the river and out to the coast and end up on a train to Eastbourne

  11. Walmington-on-Sea is clearly Bexhill which is positioned in the right place on Pevensey Bay, as a satellite of Eastbourne but with its own little England atmosphere and lots of independent shops. If one were to commute from there to London, which one cannot, as it takes 2.5 hours even now even with bits of motorway, one does indeed cut across to Battle and take the A21 from Battle to London. Interestingly, the de La Warr Pavilion areas (which is v shallow sand ideal for landing craft when the tide goes out and with a ‘helpful’ pebble beach) is where the Nazis were planning to invade. What use Dad’s Army would have been, one wonders!

  12. Uncle Arthur says that Walmington – on -Sea is a real place…so stop all this silly talk…it’s upsetting my mum.

  13. As a writer of fiction who has created places and characters, I think insisting that WoS is one particular town is unhelpful. The contradictory clues suggest to me that the screen writers drew on multiple locations and created a composite that met their needs. The debate makes no more sense than an argument over whether Father Christmas lives in Lapland or at the North Pole.

  14. It was a brilliant work of croft and Perry’s imagination , it so good it’s got people wondering about its precise location , from what I read in one of the many books I have about the subject it’s on the Sussex and Kent border in the South coast it’s been noted in bill letters making of a television legend of being close to Eastbourne , the cap badge is of royal West Kent so I’d put it as a Kent town close to the Sussex border , the shoulder flashes don’t help as the c.p on them stand for croft and Perry Sussex shoulder flashes were sx, where as ments were kt, it’s a credit to the writers that people are still interested and guessing

  15. In one of the Episodes (the one with the drunk brother) the train announces Eastbourne and then moves on to the fictional Walmington-on-sea. So that eliminates Eastbourn. The next stops on the line are Pevensey followed by Bexhill-on-sea, St Leonards then Hastings. Hastings is to big. So I’d put my money on it being based somewhere around pevensey to bexhill.

    Down the A21.

  16. Its obviously based on Birchington-on-Sea – Birchington’s local rivals are the village of Westgate (Read Eastgate).

    The blog description above could be any British seaside resort on the south coast, but the mention of Bungalows is telling ad the first ever British bungalows were built in Birchington.

  17. As others have said it’s clearly an amalgam of locations.
    – Birchington-on-Sea with the local rival of Westgate
    – With a pier like Deal (all the other seaside towns in the area that have a pier are big)
    – Facing France and in Kent but simultaneously located somewhere either side of Eastbourne in East Sussex
    – On or near a river that you can drift out to sea from. Got to go right round to Seaford for that (based on google maps rather than local knowledge)

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