Image: On the Goodwin Sands by William Edward Frost


The Goodwin Sands have been painted, photographed, written and spoken about for centuries.  Paintings by EW Cooke, William Edward Frost (header photo), WH Macklin and WL Wyllie all create a rich tapestry of this famous landscape.

JMW Turner painted two beautiful watercolours whilst living at Margate in the mid 18th century – Cricket on the Goodwin Sands and Wreck at Sunset.  We are allowed to reproduce the lovely painting of the cricket match by kind permission of the Yale Center of British Art.

The copyright to Wreck at Sunset is held by The Morgan Library in New York.  When we have more funds we will buy permission to publish it here.  The same applies to the copyright to another lovely painting On the Goodwin Sands by WL Wyllie ARA that is held by the Russell-Cotes Museum in Bournemouth.

WH Macklin c 1840, courtesy of Kent County Cricket Club
Cricket on the Goodwin Sands, JMW Turner 1851. Courtesy of the Yale Center of British Art.
EW Cooke, Rescue by the North Deal Lifeboat


Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

From the Rolling English Road, GK Chesterton

The Goodwin Sands have been the subject of plots, poems and references in literature for centuries:

  • Shakespeare described them as ‘very dangerous flat and fatal’ in the Merchant of Venice.
  • Hermann Melville mentions them in Moby Dick
  • W H Auden quotes them in his poem In Sickness and In Health
  • Ian Fleming refers to them in Moonraker and the children’s story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  • Daniel Defoe mentions them in Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain
  • G K Chesterton mentions them in the Rolling English Road


  • The Goodwin Sands by Judith Nicholls
  • Goodwin Sands by William Canton

Rudyard Kipling, Victoria Holt and Patrick O’Brian are other well known authors who have featured the Goodwin Sands in their writing.

In 1929, they were featured in the film The Lady from the Sea also known by the title Goodwin Sands.


Plenty of wonderful photos have been taken by local photographers and archaeologists of their trips to the Sands and beach finds.  We are working at collecting these into albums on our Facebook page so people can engage with them.