A little bit different from your usual seaside town
Hythe had been on my list of places to visit for quite a while, not only as it’s on the coast and I love anywhere with a shoreline.
But Hythe has an ossuary, and if you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know that I have a bit of thing for visiting cemeteries and churchyards.
This was going to interesting!
An interesting read
If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".
You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
Hythe beach, what no sand?
The Pebble beach at Hythe
Griggs of Hythe for seafood
The seashore is awash with pebbles and is still used by the local fisherman to haul their daily catch across.
So, definitely, a place to visit for some fresh fish.
Where have you been?
Hythe's Martello Towers
You can certainly sit on the beach and enjoy the sunshine and sea; I’m just saying you’ll need sandals. Take a stroll along the coastline, and you’ll see the working fishing boats and also two of Hythe’s Martello Towers.
The working shoreline
Once there were 74 Martello Towers all along the coastline from Folkestone in Kent to Seaford in East Sussex. They were originally built as a defence against an invasion by Napoleon and then later used to combat smuggling, a trade that was quite prevalent along this coast.
Martello Tower on the shore at Hythe
Town signs at Hythe
Interested in the coast around England?
We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.
Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England. It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.
Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.
Different from the norm
When wandering into Hythe from the coast, you stroll through some quaint streets and lanes passing by cottages that were once home to local fishermen, traditional pubs and businesses from an era gone by.
Row, row, row your boat
Then what also gives Hythe its unique character is the Royal Military Canal that runs through the middle.
Boats on the Military Canal in Hythe
This 28 mile (45km) stretch of canal was also built as a defence against Napoleon. It runs from Seabrook near Folkestone to just outside Hastings in the south. Nowadays it has a tree-lined walkway along its edge, and you can hire a boat to enjoy the canal first-hand.
Strolling along the canal is really pleasant, there are some delightful statues and memorials, children’s play areas, gardens and it’s a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by.
Hythe Old Town
Crossing over the canal, we arrive at Hythe’s historic market town centre.
The Old Post Office & Malthouse in Hythe
There are so many delightful shops and old stores. It really does make you wonder how some of these businesses survive when there is so much competition from the “Big Boys”. It proves that local support is still thriving in some towns and villages.
The historic High Street of Hythe
King Head pub & Hendricks of Hythe Chocolaterie
Along the main High Street is Hythe’s Town Hall a former Guildhall built in 1794. There are some beautiful half-timbered buildings, traditional old pubs and I certainly wouldn’t say no to the chocolaterie.
Hythe's Town Hall
If you head up the lane to the side of the Town Hall, you’ll discover some of the lovely little streets, with beautiful cottages and manicured gardens. Also, the 12th-century ragstone building ‘Centuries House’, which was the birthplace and home of the Bishop of Rochester. In 1336 he founded St Andrew’s hospital for the poor in this same building.
Off to Hythe Ossuary
The Crypt was created as the chancel was to be extended. Therefore, graves were dug up to accommodate for this.
The earliest written evidence of this collection is from 17th-century.
It is the largest and best-preserved collection in Britain. Just within its four arched alcoves are 1,022 skulls. Go take a look is fascinating.
Ossuary “All you need to know”
Additionally, there is a stack of bones and skulls measuring over 25 feet (7.8 metres) in length by around 6 feet (1.8 metres) in width and height. It is believed that the total number of individuals represented is about 2,000.
Inside the Crypt
A look inside the Ossuary
I must confess
More things to do in Hythe
Hythe has a railway and not just any old railway, it runs a route named the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (RHDR).
The train isn’t full size though, it’s a one-third size steam & diesel locomotive. It runs along a 13½ mile line, stopping at seven stations en-route.
Starting from Hythe and terminating at the very intriguing coastal Nature Reserve of Dungeness. The locomotive has been chugging through the countryside since 1927, today it is run by a very friendly and enthusiastic group of volunteers.
You can buy your tickets online in advance and save 10%. The prices vary depending on how far along the route you want to go.
Or if you just wanted to have platform pass and take a look at the locomotive, then it is only 25p.
Would you like a little more?
Inspired to visit Hythe?
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