Ship Spotters

Ship Spotters

In Felixstowe, a seaside town in England, watching container ships is a tradition, and a time for taking stock of life.

Published February 7, 2017

A two-hour drive along the A-12, northeast from London, England, lies Felixstowe, self-described as a charming Edwardian town on the Suffolk coast. There, tourism operators encourage visitors to stroll the seafront promenade, try their luck at the slot machines on the pier, or play a round at Adventure Golf. But there’s another activity that some locals have a passion for: ship spotting.

This village of over 20,000 hosts Britain’s busiest and biggest container port. Upward of 3,000 ships from 400 international ports stop at Felixstowe, a key distribution hub in the United Kingdom, to unload and load goods. A small group of enthusiasts regularly comes to the port to watch the ships—and have a little think.