Hythe is an Old English word meaning “haven” or “landing place” and historically was a major port on the English Channel. It was one of the original five Cinque Ports that provided naval support for monarchs in exchange for very useful privileges. Since those days, the harbour has silted up so it no longer functions as the busy port it once was, but it is a popular seaside town with all sorts of exceptional amenities.
Two castles were built to defend Hythe at Saltwood and Lympne. Saltwood was the ancestral home of Lord Deedes and later home to Lord Kenneth Clark and his son, Alan Clark who became the infamous MP and diarist. Port Lympne is now a wild life park dedicated to conservation of endangered species. Visitors can take an African Safari and, if they are lucky, will be able to see a new born elephant or rhino.
The views across to France are spectacular. Hythe is the Northern Terminus of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway which runs through Romney marsh to the wild shingle outcrop that is Dungeness. This miniature railway was set up by Captain Howey and Count Zborowski in 1927 and runs steam and diesel locomotives that are one third scale models of the real thing and is a great way to chuff through the unusual landscape that is Romney Marsh.
Hythe is also the starting point of the Royal Military Canal which runs to Winchelsea and was built as a defence against Napoloeonic invasion. It now provides a wonderful habitat for all sorts of wildlife including birds, frogs and aquatic plants. Every other year, the town holds a Venetian Festival on the part of the canal that runs through the centre with amusing floats, music and fireworks making for an entertaining evening.
Another form of defence against Napoloeon were 74 Martello Towers constructed between Folkestone and Seaford. Three towers survive in Hythe and one of them is a private house with splendid sea views! For a super cottage near the sea and close to all the attractions, give us a call on 01580 720770 and we will be more than happy to help.