What to do in Hythe and New Romney

PUBLISHED: 15:51 15 June 2020

Hythe'’s seafront and pebble beach- at the far end you'’ll find the fishermen’s landing beach where boats are pulled up with their daily catch (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Hythe'’s seafront and pebble beach- at the far end you'’ll find the fishermen’s landing beach where boats are pulled up with their daily catch (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Hythe and New Romney, with their peaceful marshes, abundant wildlife and beautiful coastline, are the perfect places to explore when we’re allowed to travel again


With New Romney set in the heart of the Romney Marsh and Hythe at the marsh’s northern tip, these towns were two of the original Cinque Ports, long ago given the right to self-govern in return for the use of their ships as naval defence.

During the 15th century, New Romney was considered the central port in the confederation and was used as the place of assembly for the Cinque Port Courts.

However, New Romney is conspicuously inland these days for a town once noted for its harbour. More than a mile from the sea, the topography of the town changed dramatically during a storm in 1287, which washed so much silt ashore that some of its oldest buildings still have steps down to their doors from street level.

St Nicholas Church, in New Romney, dates from the early Norman period and was once adjacent to the harbour. In fact, a mooring ring can still be seen outside and there are flood mark levels on the columns within the building. Other important historic buildings are the former almshouses in West Street, founded in 1610, Plantagenet House and No 3 Old Stone Cottage, built around 1300.

Hythe was another key port, its name derived from the Old English for ‘landing place.’ It was protected by Lympne and Saltwood castles, built in the 13th and 14th centuries and during the Napoleonic wars a chain of defensive Martello Towers was built overlooking the sea.

Hythe offers access to the Royal Military Canal, the 28 mile man-made 19th-century military defence that effectively cuts the marsh off from the rest of Kent (photo: Manu Palomeque)Hythe offers access to the Royal Military Canal, the 28 mile man-made 19th-century military defence that effectively cuts the marsh off from the rest of Kent (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Best bits

The area boasts two natural wonders; the stunning coast and Romney Marsh. While visiting them for a day out may seem far off yet, when we’re past the current coronavirus crisis there will be plenty of reasons to add Hythe and the Romney Marsh to your list of places to visit.

Hythe’s seafront and pebble beach is stunning in the summer and is rarely busy. At the far end you’ll find the fishermen’s landing beach where boats are pulled up with their daily catch.

Hythe also offers access to the Royal Military Canal. Stretching 28 miles, the man-made 19th-century military defence effectively cuts the marsh off from the rest of the county and is today much enjoyed by walkers and cyclists.

Other attractions to seek out in Hythe include the ancient church of St Leonard’s, famed for the collection of human bones in its crypt, and the nearby Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch heritage railway.

Meanwhile, New Romney is the unofficial ‘capital’ of the Romney Marsh, and is surrounded by marsh villages such as Lydd – the most southerly village in Kent – Old Romney, Brenzett, St Mary in the Marsh and Burmarsh. Famous for its Romney Marsh lamb, which is a delicacy thanks to the salty grasses the animals feed on, the marsh is considered one of the most important habitats for wildlife in Kent. There are plenty of stories about its mysterious past to explore too – from smuggling and plague to the important role it played in the Second World War.

Nearby is one of Kent’s most unusual places. Often called Britain’s only desert, Dungeness is a three-mile stretch of land jutting out into the sea. Barren and striking, set in the shadow of a power station, it has inspired artists and photographers for many years.

Planning ahead to a time when we can start exploring these special places again, a good place to start is the Romney Marsh visitor centre in New Romney. Explaining the fascinating natural and social history of the area, it’s set within a nature reserve and is run by Kent Wildlife Trust.


At the time of writing there was still a question mark over the local council’s planned Princes Parade development in Hythe. Built around a new leisure centre, the ‘seaside community’ would include 150 news homes, retail space and parkland, but it’s been met with strong opposition from residents.

Meanwhile, the opening of a new cinema on Romney Marsh has been delayed due to the lockdown. Cinemarsh was due to open in the Marsh Academy’s leisure centre in New Romney in April but plans have been put on hold. The independent cinema will have 46 seats and state-of-the-art equipment.

Property prices

As with everything, there is much uncertainty about the future of the property market. At the time of writing, prices started at around £150,000 for a one-bedroom flat, with three-bed semi-detached homes priced between £275,000 and £435,000. New Romney is the more affordable of the two. Large detached houses in Hythe are on the market for up to £1.4 million.

Getting there

Hythe is on the coast, close to Folkestone, with New Romney a short drive away. They can be accessed via the M20 or the A2070. The nearest station is at Folkestone.

Celebrating coronavirus local heroes

Three new community hubs have opened across the Folkestone district to support the vulnerable during the pandemic. The new networks, funded by Folkestone and Hythe District Council, are being run by hundreds of volunteers and community groups based in Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh.

Support includes emergency food and meal deliveries, help with prescriptions, help with pets or just someone on the end of a phone to talk to. The hubs can be found at Three Hills Sports Centre in Folkestone – supported by Citizens Advice and Kent Coast Volunteering – Age UK in Hythe and the Romney Marsh Day Centre in New Romney. Hythe Community Hub: 01303 269602, Romney Marsh Community Hub: 01797 208590.

Hythe Salvation Army Church and Community Centre has been one of the organisations supporting the hub and are running a foodbank. Search for them on Facebook.

New Romney Counselling Service, a local charity, is offering telephone support to anyone in distress, and are only asking for a donation – however small – in return. Call 01797 367809.

More from Out & About

Thu, 11:34

Take our quiz to see if you can decipher the town or place in Kent from the emojis

Read more
Tue, 11:40

You’ve got 10 minutes to identify where in Kent the likes of Raven gap, Hollow-dweller’s stream and Yew crossing place refer to - let us know how you do!

Read more
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Gardens across the county and beyond are offering virtual garden visits. So take a step into some of Kent’s most enchanting gardens from cottages to country estates with these virtual tours

Read more
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Our county can boast some of the most celebrated and downright unusual protected monuments in the country | Words: Jack Watkins - Lead photo: Historic England

Read more
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Can you distinguish your Colchesters from your Canterburys and your Margates from your Merseas? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of Essex and Kent!

Read more
Monday, November 9, 2020

From rambles through the Kent Downs to pretty village walks and urban strolls, this guide to some of Kent’s prettiest walking routes is essential for the intrepid adventurer

Read more
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Enjoy three of Kent’s best and most loved cycle rides which take in lots of the county’s beautiful coastlines

Read more
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Flint, ragstone and timber – these are the materials that built Kent and gave it its distinctive face. Here we explore some fine local examples

Read more
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Here are 10 tales to make you shiver as we celebrate All Hallows’ Eve | Words: Stephen Roberts - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Being so rich in history, it is hardly surprising that Kent is also a hub for hauntings and ghostly activity. We have gathered 9 of the spookiest locations in Kent to visit if you dare!

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