The tiny 'country' off the coast of Suffolk with its own passport & international football team | The Sun

HAVE you ever heard of the tiny island that lies a few miles south of the UK coast?

While the micronation of Sealand is only half the size of a football pitch, it has its own government, passports, and international sports teams.

Sealand lies 12km east of Suffolk in the North Sea and became a self-declared Principality in the 1960s.

Originally an anti-aircraft platform built to house members of the Navy during the Second World War, the Bates family declared the fortress an independent island in 1967.

Despite this, it isn't officially recognised by any established sovereign state.

This didn't stop Roy Bates, his wife Joan, and their two children Michael and Penelope giving themselves royal titles such as Prince Roy and Princess Joan.

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The royal family of Sealand is also the island's 'government' with Prince Regent Michael acting as Head of State and Head of Government before Roy Bates passed away in 2012.

Sealand also began printing its own passports too, but these were revoked after thousands of fake passports were used illegally.

Fans of the island can still purchase Sealand Identity Cards for novelty purposes, and people from all over the world can buy noble titles too.

The island also has its own national anthem and stamps as well as gold and silver coins, which were dubbed the Sealand dollars.

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Sports teams like the Sealand National Football team have also represented the country in international matches – although these are few and far between.

This small platform has other amenities too such as a chapel and a gym.

But these facilities are very rarely used by tourists because visitors aren't typically granted access onto the island.

According to BBC Travel, arriving on the island isn't easy.

Visitors have to be winched onto the platform via a crane from a boat.

This is something Youtuber Zac Aslop discovered first-hand when he was granted access to visit the island.

In a video on his channel, Zac met Prince Liam of Sealand who explained that winching people onto the island was "quite tricky".

Liam also stressed how members of the public are rarely allowed onto the platform.

Despite what seems like a missed tourism opportunity, Sealand isn't the only UK island that restricts access to visitors.

Eel Pie Island, which is found on the River Thames in Twickenham, can only be visited by tourists twice a year.

Despite being home to 120 people and hosting performances from the Rolling Stones, The Who and Pink Floyd, the island is rarely open to the public.

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Meanwhile another tiny UK island could soon become a holiday resort with hotels and other attractions.

Drake's Island is situated just south of Plymouth in the Plymouth Sound and already welcomes tourists but the island's owner has confirmed plans to build two hotels, a museum and a well-being centre on the island.

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