Defence of the Nation Museum & Education Centre

Discover Thanet's Wartime History

Situated within the Ramsgate Tunnels, the Museum identifies the Isle of Thanet, its people and its heritage, as a location of historical and strategic military importance.

The "Miracle of Dunkirk" witnessed the rescue of almost 340,000 British and Allied troops from the beaches of Northern france in a fleet of more than 8oo vessels that brought them across the Channel to the relative safety of the Kent coast. If ever there was one single story of human triumph over adversity, this was it, and it forms the bedrock of the exhibition.

For those unfamiliar with the story of "Operation Dynamo", naval vessels took many of the stranded troops, but it was the role of the "Little Ships" that stands as the most iconic symbol of the heroism that occurred during the nine day wonder of May 27th to June 4th 1940. The "Little Ships" comprised some 700 fishing boats, pleasure craft, lifeboats, and merchant vessels that somehow made multiple crossings amid ferocious attacks from the German forces.

The Museum's magnificent displays include many wartime artefacts donated or lent by Isle families, while others have narrated stories which would otherwise have been lost to the sands of time.

Early 2017 will see the start of a new exhibition "Ramsgate in World War One" which, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will commemorate those local townspeople who made the ultimate sacrifice to enable future generations to live in peace.




The museum, based within Ramsgate Tunnels, has at its core the intention to identify The Isle of Thanet, its people and heritage as a location of historical and strategic military importance.

Come to the museum and discover the story behing the military campaign code-named 'Operation Dynamo'  - The greatest maritime evacuation in the history of warfare.

The museum is constantly evolving and will hopefully soon feature a first world war exhibit along with other key Thanet-based military installations.


  • Coaches welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Step-free access
  • Accessible parking
  • Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome
  • Restaurant / Cafe / Tea shop