The RAF Wainfleet in Friskney, near Skegness, England, has had a long and distinguished military history. In the 19th century, the weapons range was used for artillery practice, though it closed before World War I. It reopened as a military firing range just before World War II for both artillery and bombing practice and was used to test the Stabilizing Automatic Bomb Sight. The control tower was built during this time.
Today, the control tower has been remodeled as a vacation rental. In this unusual building, the lounge is on the top floor, with the bedrooms below. Visitors can expect an uninterrupted view over the marshes through the massive windows previously used by the controllers. The tower has retained many of the features that hint its historical military significance.
After World War II, the site served as a NATO practice range for both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Some of the world’s most formidable warplanes could frequently be seen overhead. However, due to British defense funding cuts following the 2008 financial crisis, the range closed in July 2010, reopening in its new role in 2017.
The range area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the resident and migratory birds that frequent it. Notably, it attracts a large number of brent geese that stop there on their return trip from the Arctic. It’s also good for spotting seals, and there’s even the skull of a large stranded whale lying within the marsh. The odd accommodations are also very close to Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, one of the best in the country, making it prime real estate for wildlife enthusiasts.
Know Before You Go
While still in use, the range was supposedly cleared of ordnance by the RAF. However, there's still the likelihood of unexploded weapons lurking undetected beneath some parts of the site, so observe all the safety signs.