10 good reasons to visit Hythe

With its Royal Military Canal and great beach walks, Hythe is an excellent choice for an autumn break

10 good reasons to visit Hythe

Guided walk with Hythe Civic Society

There’s no better way to get to know this attractive small town than to take a guided walk. You can hear a brief history of the town, whose High Street was once at the very edge of the sea. Centuries, on Dental Street, parallel with the High Street, still has the stone which boats moored at. The guided tour will take you to the St John’s Almshouses which from 1562 accommodated the poor and you will also obtain entry to the Crypt at St. Leonard’s. The guided tour leaves the Town Hall at 10.30am and is available in the winter for parties of 10 by appointment. Tel: Sally Chesters 01303 266118

St. Leonard’s Church

Hythe’s church, which enjoys a fine position up on the hill overlooking the town, has one of only two ossuaries in England, with bones dating back to before the Norman Conquest There are many theories about their origin, but it's probable they were dug up when the church building was extended into the surrounding churchyard in the 13th century. Several concerts will take place here this month. On 9 November, there’s a lunchtime recital by Russian organist Konstantin Volostnov, who will be playing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E minor and works by Schumann. Tickets �5 on sale at Brandon’s Music Shop, 55 High Street, Hythe, tel: 01303 263108 or on the door. Admission free to those under 18 in full-time education. On 13 November at 7.30pm, local chamber choir the Shepway Singers performs works by Bach, Brahms, Bruckner and the Beatles! Tickets �7 (details as above). For further information, contact Bryn Hughes, tel: 01303 264470, Church warden and Chairman, Friend of St. Leonard’s Church, Beech House, Castle Road, Hythe CT21 5EZ

The Royal Military Canal

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There are extremely pleasant walks down the Royal Military Canal, both in Hythe and stretching down through West Hythe and on to Cliff End in East Sussex. If you walk along from West Hythe, you can see the remains of the old Portus Lemanis, the original Roman port, now high and dry. The Canal was dug between 1804 to 1809, in the hope that it would defend Kent from invasion by Napoleon and halt a march on London. As it happened, Napoleon never invaded and the Canal was derided as a waste of State money. Now it is an essential aid in the drainage of Romney Marsh and an excellent place for bird-watching and enjoying nature.

History and a peaceful spot

Back in Hythe Town Centre, you can visit the local history room in Hythe Library and learn about the town, which has quite a history as one of the historic Cinque Ports.

In front of the library there is a small sensory garden where you can sit when it’s fine and enjoy the peaceful park. Oaklands also houses the Town council, where you can get information on the town: email: admin@hythe-kent.com, or tel: 01303 266152.

Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway

A must for railway enthusiasts and families, the light railway will carry you down as far as Dungeness, on an entrancing journey across the Marsh and down to the pebbly area of Dungeness with its lighthouse. In November trains will be running on the weekend of 6 and 7 November to coincide with the Crafts Fair at the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, with connections from Romney Warren and Hythe. For more details, contact Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway, tel: 01797 362353,

The Malthouse

At the east end of Hythe High Street, you will find the Malthouse, Hythe’s famous centre for bric-�-brac, which is open Fri-Sun throughout the year. This is a great haunt for seekers of historic items. The Malthouse itself possibly dated back to 17th century and used to be part of the Mackeson’s brewery, which brought considerable employment to the town until brewing there finished in 1968. Mackeson’s Milk Stout was the one competitor to Guinness! The antiques market is open Fri and Sat,9.30am-5.30pm. Contact the founder of the antiques market, Robert Maxtone-Graham, tel: 01304 613270 for more information.

Fisherman’s Beach

Now a controversial site in the town for the possible building of flats and fish restaurant, you can still go down to Fisherman’s Beach and view the Martello Towers on the beach along the seafront. And best of all, pop into Grigg’s the famous fishmonger and supplier of fish to restaurants up and down the county.

Hythe Mercure Imperial Hotel.

Both accommodation and entertainment can be found at the Mercure Imperial Hotel on Prince’s Parade. There’s a murder mystery evening on 29 October (contact the main reception, tel: 01303 267441) and an ESPA pampering night on 18 Nov from 7pm (contact the Leisure Centre, tel: 01303 233724). Or just come down and enjoy a Carvery lunch, at �12 per person Mon-Fri, and �14 on Sun, from 12 noon to 2.30pm.

�— Claire, the Leisure Centre’s manager, can offer use of the swimming pool and spa facilities for just �5 for the day if you also eat at the Carvery, a special offer for Kent Life readers in the month of November. Hythe Mercure Imperial, Prince’s Parade, Hythe CT21 6AE

Port Lympne

Just up the road out of Hythe, you’ll find the Port Lympne safari park. Here there are a fantastic range of animals, with the particularly famous (notorious!) gorillas, as well as also some impressive Siberian tigers. Visit also the Port Lympne Mansion and gardens: the Mansion has wonderful murals, a must to see. There are also conference and wedding facilities here. Port Lympne, Lympne, near Hythe CT21 4PD, email: info@howletts.net, for weddings: weddings@totallywild.net, or for the Mansion House enquiries@totallywild.net.

Hythe Farmers’ Market

This takes place on the second and fourth Saturday of the month in the Methodist Church Hall, Chapel Street, Hythe. With the town of Hythe being so close to excellent local producers, you can find meat, bread, vegetables and other goods at this now well-established market. Contact Sally Chesters for further information, tel: 01303 266118