Beautiful nearby churches, a gorgeous beach and the historic Military Canal at its heart – but what else do locals rate about the town? We find out …

Great British Life: Kim McLachlan-King courtesy of Kim McLachlan KingKim McLachlan-King courtesy of Kim McLachlan King


Living with her husband Kerry, Kim has called Hythe home for the past 12 years.

Kim’s local life

‘Quite honestly, living here still makes me feel as if I’m permanently on holiday. I love that you can get as involved as you want to with all that’s going on, but if you like your own space, here, too – that’s fine.’

A church with a surprise

St Leonard’s church looks down over the town and is a beautiful spot. Concerts are staged here throughout the year, but the ossuary in its crypt is the real surprise: it contains the largest, best-preserved collection of bones in Britain.

Great British Life: St Leonard's Church in Hythe is known as 'The Church with the Bones' due to the ossuary in the crypt. (C) GettySt Leonard's Church in Hythe is known as 'The Church with the Bones' due to the ossuary in the crypt. (C) Getty

A drink and more

Henry’s wine bar and chocolate café in the high street has such a great atmosphere – really friendly, and with a pretty garden to enjoy. Henry’s chocolates are the best!

Indie shopping

There are rich pickings to be had on our high street, with plenty of independent shops to enjoy. Elysian Treasures is great for all sorts of gifts, from vintage crockery to furniture to contemporary jewellery. People come from outside town to the Clothes Cupboard; a dress agency that sells high-quality preloved fashion as well as new French labels, with homeware and gifts too.

Singing together

I belong to the Hythe branch of Marsh Choir [], a network of rock, pop and soul community choirs run by the excellent Carly Bryant. It’s so popular there are branches throughout the area. It’s really inclusive – everyone’s welcome – and there’s something about singing together that’s so uplifting.

Great British Life: Penny Graham Courtesy Penny GrahamPenny Graham Courtesy Penny Graham


Ceramicist, local councillor and a couples’ therapist along with her husband, Jonathan, Penny has lived in Hythe for 22 years.

Penny’s local life

‘The sense of community makes things special. Walk down our high street – one of England’s longest – and you’ll bump into someone you know. And we actually have a Kindness Day In November, when we specifically support each other.’

Eating and drinking

Root serves delicious veggie food and whatever dietary requirements you’ve got from dairy- to gluten free, it can accommodate you. 24 Café and The Truffle Pig are favourite spots of ours for watching the world go by. My husband’s a real coffee connoisseur and he says the coffee at both is excellent.

Great British Life: Hythe Military Canal - at the very heart of town life (C) GettyHythe Military Canal - at the very heart of town life (C) Getty

Something for everyone

At the end of the High Street, the Malthouse is now home to loads of interesting stores – selling everything from books and semi-precious stones to bric-a-brac and antiques.

The Triangle

Bought by a community group to avoid it being developed, this sliver of land near the canal is now well worth a visit – in summer and beyond it’s a glorious wildflower meadow and it’s always a tranquil place to visit.

Watery ways

The canal offers so much, from the biannual Venetian Fete, where locals create a whole range of floats, to the chance to rent boats or take a trip on one – you might spot kingfishers! Then of course we also have our wonderful beach, great for regular swimmers, like me.

Great British Life: Tony and Margaret Drummond Tony and Margaret Drummond (Image: Tony and Margaret Drummond)


Retirees the Drummonds moved from Tonbridge to Hythe 17 years ago, having spotted their now-home in an estate agent’s window on a passing visit

The Drummonds’ local life: ‘It’s got a village-like feel, has the best of both beach and countryside and is the sort of place where people always say ‘good morning’ to one another.

Long-necked bonus

The footpath towards Port Lympne along the Military Canal makes for a lovely walk in its own right – but really special is that fact that you pass giraffes from the Port Lympne zoo as you go.

Great British Life: There can't be many places where you might spot a giraffe on an everyday walk - but Hythe is one of them Courtesy Port Lympne Safari ParkThere can't be many places where you might spot a giraffe on an everyday walk - but Hythe is one of them Courtesy Port Lympne Safari Park

A pub with history

Once the coaching house where the Duck of Wellington stabled his horses during the building of coastal defences built to repel Napoleon, the Hope Inn on Stade Street still serves a good pint.

Musical interludes

Throughout the summer there are free concerts to enjoy, either in Oaklands Park or on the grandstand, with chairs put out for people, or they can sit on the banks of the river. We play bowls nearby and often it’s a case of bopping while we bowl as the strains of, say, Elvis, waft across the lawn towards us.

Our steam railways

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway is run entirely by volunteers and a trip on a little train here is something visitors of all ages really enjoy. There’s a giftshop a good café that’s worth visiting, plus seasonal events, like a Christmas trip to Santa’s grotto.

Great British Life: Laura TaylorLaura Taylor (Image: Laura Taylor)


Retired schools librarian Laura moved with her husband, Malcolm, from south London to Hythe five years ago, and has subsequently got involved with every aspect of life in the town, from sea swimming and paddle-boarding to volunteering in local charity bookshops.

Laura’s local life:

‘It’s the water, the quaintness and the closeness to our children still in London that brought us here and I’m delighted to say that – with so much going on in the town – I’m more active now than ever!’

Hythe & Saltwood Sailing Club

Twelve of us meet for a sea swim a couple of times a week – actually, it’s more 10 minutes of shrieking at the cold followed by two hours of chat afterwards! Social membership of the sailing club on Marine Parade means we can enjoy both post-dip coffees there and its hot showers.

Great British Life: Michelin-starred food just up at the road at The Hide and Fox Credit Karuna Clayton/Hide and FoxMichelin-starred food just up at the road at The Hide and Fox Credit Karuna Clayton/Hide and Fox

Michelin-starred excellence

High on my to-do list is a trip to the Hide and Fox restaurant in the nearby village of Saltwood – friends tell me its excellent, and that the staff are really friendly. We’re so fortunate to have food of this quality right on our doorstep.

On yer bike

Not only are there lots of lovely walks round here, but Hythe is now on the Cantii Way ( – a 145-mile trail with a new, dedicated cycle path stretching all the way to Dungeness along the canal and sea front.

Futuristic farm fare

A first for the area is Honeychild Farm’s fully automated farm shop [] – from meat to milk, you just select what you want from refrigerated lockers, pay by card and off you go! A really simple idea and a great source of fresh, local food.