please empty your brain below

Fifty years ago people would drive to Gravesend in their thousands. That would be before the Dartford Tunnel opened and Blackwall Tunnel was still a single bore.

Oh the hours I would be forced to spend sitting in the car as a small boy waiting in the long queue at Gravesend for the car ferry to take us over the river to Tilbury in order to endure a visit to grannie in Suffolk.

Although this early memory is forever embedded in my brain I have no recollection at all of ever having to wait at Tilbury.
I took a trip to Gravesend last year to see the pier. I had earlier in the day spent some time sitting on Erith Pier so took a bus to Gravesend to see how the pier there compared with Erith. In my opinion the Erith one was nicer. Will have to try and return and get the ferry across to Tilbury now it goes from the pier again. I'll try to time it for when a passenger cruise ship is in port at Tilbury.
In living memory, Gravesend had an exceptional number of pubs, a trade supported by the fact all ships heading for the London docks had to stop there to pick up a pilot and, more often than not, wait for the right tide. When I worked there in the 1990s a local said there once 97 in the town centre alone. Even then I can still name more than a dozen within two streets from the office door. Although there's less commercial river traffic, there are still tugs and the Port of London authority pilots at Gravesend, together with a Customs team with their own "Queen's Drain" for disposing of seized liquor.
"Part of the underground magazine is open to the public at weekends, but only from April to September so alas I missed out."

Why didn't you go tomorrow then dg? Did you get a commission from the tourist board of Gravesend to just mention it and force us lot to travel to Gravesend and explore?

dg writes: Because tomorrow isn't a weekend. The fort opens for the "summer" on Saturday 6th April.
Oh,'s depressing.

But in a different way from that in which Tilbury is depressing. More urban (higher density of population), and not quite so run down to quite the same degree.

Which is more depressing of the two, I couldn't quite say. Gravesend, though, like Woolwich or even Thamesmead, promises more from the opposite bank than it delivers.
The The Ship and Lobster used to serve food - last time i was there they didn't and I couldn't get much sense out of the staff as to whether they still do. As you say its a surprise its still open. Nice photo of Tower Bridge being built on one of the pub walls.
There are some Kent-Essex train fares where there's a cheaper fare if you get the Tilbury Ferry (although the cost of the ferry isn't included in the ticket cost). An example:

TridentScan | Privacy Policy