10 reasons to love Hythe & New Romney

PUBLISHED: 11:59 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 12 June 2018

The Old Lighthouse, Dungeness, dates from 1904 and is open to the public (photo: Visit Kent)

The Old Lighthouse, Dungeness, dates from 1904 and is open to the public (photo: Visit Kent)

Archant

The landscape of the Romney Marsh is so distinctive it’s been called the fifth continent

1. Unique space

Set between rolling hills and the coast, the Romney Marsh is 100 square miles, sparsely populated and flat. Known for its natural beauty, huge skies, diverse habitats and rich history, it is loved by walkers, nature lovers and bird spotters. Explore saltmarshes, farmland, dykes, coastline, beaches and salt lagoons then head for wild Dungeness, the shingle headland at the southern tip of the marsh that has inspired writers, photographers and painters.

2. Ride the rails

The trains are a little smaller than usual at the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, which has the world’s most complete collection of one-third size locomotives. Crossing the Romney Marsh, with stations from Hythe to Dungeness, you can hop off and explore the stops along the way. There’s a special Paddington weekend on 23-24 June, www.rhdr.org.uk

Brunch on the beach at Griggs of HytheBrunch on the beach at Griggs of Hythe

3. Eat and drink

The area is known for its food and drink, including Romney Marsh lamb and abundant fresh fish. Eat out at The Red Lion, Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant, The Hythe Brasserie, Coppers, Truly Scrumptious café, Torbay of Hythe and Indian fusion restaurant The Holy Pundit at the Hythe Imperial. Brunch on the beach is a treat at Griggs of Hythe, or try The Bistro at Lympne Castle, Mary’s Tea Room in Dymchurch, Kate at The Bistro in Burmarsh, The Coach House Coffee Shop in New Romney and The Woolpack Inn at Warehorne. And don’t miss Hendricks of Hythe’s chocolates.

4. Jam on the Marsh

Jam on the Marsh returns to Romney Marsh 5-15 July and with seven concerts, five exhibitions, four children’s events, two theatrical performances, three poetry recitals and a churches’ tour, there’s something for everyone, www.jamconcert.org

The waters off this part of Kent are popular with anglers (photo: Manu Palomeque)The waters off this part of Kent are popular with anglers (photo: Manu Palomeque)

5. Safari park

Nearby Port Lympne Reserve offers visitors a safari experience overlooking the Romney Marsh. Home to spectacled bears, gorillas and giraffes, conservation is at the forefront and January saw the birth of a critically endangered baby black rhino. You can stay in some of the park’s excellent accommodation, which ranges from budget glamping pods to a luxurious treehouse hotel and new addition Wolf Lodge. Visit www.aspinallfoundation.org

6. Pretty waterway

The Royal Military Canal runs for 28 miles from Seabrook, through Hythe, Appledore and Rye to Cliff End. Dug out by hand in the early 1800s as a defence against invasion from France, it effectively cuts the Romney Marsh off from the rest of Kent. Today, a public path creates leisure opportunities for cyclists, walkers, anglers and nature lovers.

Let’'s go fly a kite on the Hythe seafront (photo: Manu Palomeque)Let’'s go fly a kite on the Hythe seafront (photo: Manu Palomeque)

7. Creepy crypt

Hythe’s St Leonard’s Church is home to one of only two ossuaries in the UK. It contains Britain’s largest, best-preserved collection of human bones, dating back to between the 13th and 15th centuries and thought to have been removed from the churchyard during building work and piled up in the crypt.

8. Antique shopping

Hythe has one of Kent’s longest high streets, with several antiques shops for those who like to browse. The Malthouse in Hythe is well worth visiting, an arcade operating since 1974 that’s filled with more than 25 small businesses offering antiques, collectables and crafts. It featured on the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip last year. Visit www.themalthousehythe.com

The Royal Military Canal was built for strategic defence against invasions in the Napoleonic Wars with France (photo: Manu Palomeque)The Royal Military Canal was built for strategic defence against invasions in the Napoleonic Wars with France (photo: Manu Palomeque)

9. Nature’s finest

The diverse, unique habitats of the marsh are a haven for wildlife. To see the best, visit Romney Marsh Visitor Centre in New Romney, the RSPB reserve at Dungeness and the Dungeness National Nature Reserve. Apart from a huge range of birds, mammals, amphibians, fish and insects, the area is home to rare species such as the marsh mallow moth, water vole, great crested newt and medicinal leech.

10. Wild walks

Walkers are a common sight but at Alpaca Annie in Burmarsh you’ll spot some walkers with a difference. This alpaca farm has a shop selling all sorts of products made from soft alpaca wool and also offers trekking experiences with these fluffy, docile animals. Hour-long treks across the marsh are a great way of seeing the dykes and farmland and are a real treat for animal lovers. Visitors get a short talk about handling alpacas first and are allowed to hand feed the animals too.

Visit www.alpacaannie.com

A trip on the Romney Hythe & District Railway is a must for visitors (photo: Manu Palomeque)A trip on the Romney Hythe & District Railway is a must for visitors (photo: Manu Palomeque)

More from Out & About

Mon, 16:49

The easing of lockdown saw a huge growth in paddlesports, with people eager to get some exercise and explore the countryside, safely | Words: Caroline Read - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Mon, 16:42

The original trees that gave this popular town its name are long gone, but it still has a heart of oak. Take a closer look at superb Sevenoaks | Words: Caroline Read - Pictures: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Friday, September 18, 2020

The Greensand Way is one of the prettiest walks in Kent offering amazing views from the ridge right across the county

Read more
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Read more
Friday, September 11, 2020

If you love a bit of birding, then you’ll be in seventh heaven on this walk that meanders through the sand dunes and salt marshes and rich habitats of the Sandwich bird observatory

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In this strangest of years, the changing of the seasons is a reassuring constant. Let’s embrace the start of autumn | Words: Emma Ward - Photos: National Trust Images

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Heritage Open Days is back – with an emphasis this year on discovering previously overlooked green spaces | Words: Francesca Baker - Photos: courtesy of Heritage Open Days

Read more
Friday, September 4, 2020

Setting off from the beach at St Margaret’s, prepare to be amazed at the feast of delights that will unfold before you as you meander along across cliff tops

Read more
April 2018

Kent is blessed with fine and indeed famous country houses, but over the decades has lost as many of its grander houses as it retains. A new book by Martin Easdown reveals 120 examples that have simply disappeared

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life