Hythe was, at one time, a port and an inland sea came up as far as the High Street. The town was part of an important trade route and on the pilgrim route to Canterbury. In 1278 it became one of the towns forming the Confederation of the Cinque Ports. In the late 16th century the harbour began silting up, and the town soon lost its status as an important port.
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When Napoleon threatened to invade England, a 28-mile military canal was dug between 1804 and 1809. Today, running in both directions from Hythe, it provides an enjoyable waterside walk and bike path, a habitat for wildlife, and a venue for pleasure boats.
Hythe’s high street is a long one. Here is an old town hall of 1794. The town has a modern supermarket for grocery shopping, several chemists, and a couple of lovely tearooms. Walking up the hill from Two Centuries you pass a 17th century manor house, where Saxon and Norman remains have been found.
A 20-minute walk from the High Street brings you to the oceanfront and rocky beach. Here a bracing walk along the promenade provides fresh air and sea views. Hythe Civic Society offers guided walks around the town June-Sep on Thursdays. Tel. 01303 267111.
Insider Tip: Stay at Two Centuries House in Hythe for a great self-catering experience.