“Venice in Kent” offers charming canals, a busy farmers market and a stately hilltop church with skeletons in the closet.
Hythe is a quaint Kentish town dotted with relics of its long and rich heritage as an important marketplace and the major harbor in the Cinque Port. The town features a distinctive waterway, the Royal Military Canal, which was intended to assist the town’s defense against Napoleonic invasions.
Stroll down the tree-lined path along the canal that runs through town and under the central Stade Street. On a sunny day, rent a boat from near the Ladies Walk Bridge and paddle among the swans. Join the town’s festivities every second year at the Hythe Venetian Fete and cheer decorated floats as they parade down the canal. Wander up the terraces to historic St. Leonard’s Church, the stately 11th-century cathedral-style church containing an ossuary with over 2,000 human skulls.
Visit Red Lion Square, the old market square which brought many merchants and townspeople from the surrounding East Kent villages in medieval times. The Farmers Market still operates in the square every second Saturday. Investigate the Red Lion Square’s ornate Victorian drinking fountain, donated to the town in 1866. If it's a nice day, wander down to the beachfront and enjoy a quiet and relaxing walk along the esplanade, and enjoy the clear views across the sea to the French coast.
Fun for the whole family can be found at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, located 4 miles (6 kilometers) from Hythe. Set in an early 20th-century mansion’s grand estate, the Animal Park has cared for an impressive collection of African and Asiatic animals since 1976.
Hythe is located 14 miles (23 kilometers) southwest of Dover. The East Kent Stagecoach service has a main interchange point in Hythe, making it a convenient place to visit while touring around Kent county. Hythe has a warm, seaside climate, but prepare for high chances of rain in the colder months. Thankfully, British pubs have been providing refuge from British drizzle for centuries, so enjoy a pint like a Kentish local.