Cinque Port Sandwich Heritage Trail

Cinque Port Sandwich Heritage Trail

The five original Cinque Ports around 1050 were Dover, Sandwich, Hastings, New Romney and Hythe, with ‘limb’ towns like Winchelsea, Rye and Deal supporting the main Cinque Ports from the 12th century. Walmer Castle near Deal is still the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Together these power ports provided ships and manpower to King Edward the Confessor – essentially Britain’s only defensive fleet. The name ‘Cinque’ is after the French word for five and is pronounced ‘sink’. Only Dover today retains its stature as a working port.

Quayside at Sandwich

Quayside at Sandwich

Exploring Sandwich

Sandwich, one of the original five Cinque Ports in Kent, is today a Conservation Town with a large number of surviving Medieval and Georgian buildings and a charming quayside flanked by Medieval buildings including the Barbican, Tollbridge and Fishergate.

Pick up a boat trip along the River Stour and explore the town’s heritage trail winding around a network of old narrow streets. The Guildhall Museum is on Cattle Market and you’ll find the UK’s longest stretch of timber-framed buildings on Strand Street.

Long House, Manwood Court and the King's Lodging date from the 16th century and you can explore some of the remains of the old town walls -The Butts, Ropewalk and Millwall. Pick up town trail guides from Sandwich TIC at the Guildhall.

Walmer Castle near Deal - official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

Walmer Castle near Deal - official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

‘Limb’ Town Deal

By the 12th century the original five Cinque ports were unable to service all the Crown’s demands so ‘limb’ towns including Deal (serving Sandwich) and others including Winchelsea and Rye sprung up as support. In the age of wind, tide and sail power the stretch of water around Deal was a busy anchorage point. Winds that brought ships up the Channel past South Foreland would not always take vessels on and round the North Foreland stretch. Ships then had no choice but to anchor at Deal awaiting favourable winds. Lower Deal grew up to serve the increasing volume of shipping.

From the mid-15th century, after the silting up of the Stour Estuary closed the Wantsum Channel, a favoured inland crossing route for the Romans, Deal really began to take off . Deal, Walmer and Sandown Castles, built by the order of Henry VIII, made the Downs waters a particularly safe and well defended anchorage. Find out more at the Deal Maritime Museum.

Romney Marsh - reclaimed from the sea over centuries

Romney Marsh - reclaimed from the sea over centuries

New Romney & Hythe

Before the great medieval storms the whole of Romney Marsh was underwater. The great storm of 1287 almost destroyed New Romney, filling the harbour and town with mud, sand, silt and debris. New Romney today is about a mile and a half inland, when once it was a seaport.

Hythe was one of Kent’s first Cinque ports – its name derives from the old English world Hithe meaning landing place. The two castles of Lympne and Saltwood were built nearby to defend the port town. Find out more on how Romney Marsh has been reclaimed from the sea over centuries at the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre.

Where to stay

The old Kent Cinque Ports and ‘limb’ towns offer a wealth of accommodation to suit all. Many like Deal and the Romney and Hythe areas are popular family holiday bases close to great beaches. A wide choice of cottages and holiday/ caravan parks are available in these areas. Base yourself in the beautiful old Cinque port of Sandwich and choose from a selection of award-winning heritage B&Bs and hotels as well as numerous character cottages with original features. Explore Kent's historic Cinque Ports and book online with iknow.

Accommodation in Sandwich

  • Sandwich   (3.1 miles from the centre of Sandwich)
    Sleeps 7
    Prices from
    £697
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 7
     
    Pretty self catering holiday cottage in Hammill, just four miles from the coast. Mature garden and furnished terrace with barbecue. Parking for three cars. Five bedrooms. Sleeps 8
     
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    Self Catering
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  • Sandwich   (0.3 miles from the centre of Sandwich)
    Prices from
    £80
    per room per night (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 397 reviews
    Rating from 397 reviews
    Grade 1 Listed Queen Anne manor house in Sandwich surrounded by country gardens. An Alastair Sawday special place restyled by Lutyens and Jekyll. Perfect for that special wedding.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 397 reviews
    Rating from 397 reviews
  • Sandwich   (0.1 miles from the centre of Sandwich)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £314
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 2
     
    Self-catering cottage in Sandwich, providing affordable accommodation close to the Kent coast and local popular attractions. One or two well-behaved pets welcome. Courtyard garden.
     
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Accommodation in New Romney

  • New Romney   (2.2 miles from the centre of New Romney)
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £208
    Per week (seasonal) Sleeps up to 8.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 494 reviews
    Rating from 494 reviews
    Romney holiday park with direct beach access, onsite fishing lake and indoor swimming pool. Restaurant and bar, crazy golf, WiFi and tennis. Caravans, bungalows and apartments.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 494 reviews
    Rating from 494 reviews
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  • New Romney   (0.8 miles from the centre of New Romney)
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £59
    3 & 4 Night Caravan Breaks
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 465 reviews
    Rating from 465 reviews
    Kent family holiday park between New Romney and Dymchurch with an indoor swimming pool, entertainment venue, playground, kids club and mini mart store. Stylish caravans Sleep 2-8.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 465 reviews
    Rating from 465 reviews
  • New Romney   (1.4 miles from the centre of New Romney)
    Prices from
    £70
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 142 reviews
    Rating from 142 reviews
    With a seafront location, the Romney Bay House Hotel offers a bar and a restaurant, along with free Wi-Fi throughout and free private parking. It is situated just 2 miles from N...
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 142 reviews
    Rating from 142 reviews

Accommodation in Deal

  • Walmer   (1.5 miles from the centre of Deal)
    Sleeps 16
    Prices from
    £1,610
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 16
     
    Beautifully presented 7 bedroom Walmer holiday rental with large garden, kitchen with Aga, conservatory, Sky TV, parking for 5 cars & 4 bath/ shower rooms. Pet friendly. Tennis.
     
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  • Deal   (1.5 miles from the centre of Deal)
    Sleeps 10
    Prices from
    £960
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 10
     
    Grand period home in Walmer with drawing room, conservatory, tennis court, Wi-Fi and parking for 5 cars. Pets welcome by arrangement. 4 bedrooms, 3 bath/ shower rooms.
     
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  • Deal   (0.6 miles from the centre of Deal)
    Sleeps 7
    Prices from
    £550
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 7
     
    Delightful Grade II listed Deal cottage ideal for family seaside breaks. 3 bedrooms, 2 bath/ shower rooms, modern kitchen & on street parking. Period features & log burner.
     
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Accommodation in Hythe

  • Hythe   (3.6 miles from the centre of Hythe)
    Sleeps 13
     
     
    Luxurious Kent country mansion set at a wildlife safari park. Private safari tour, bespoke catering service, champagne on arrival & party/ games room. 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms.
     
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  • Port Lympne   (3.6 miles from the centre of Hythe)
    Prices from
    £1,575
    Per week (seasonal)
     
    Sumptuous hotel style suites in the heart of Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. Perfect romantic retreats for couples with Full English breakfast included. Restaurant dining onsite.
     
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  • Hythe   (0.4 miles from the centre of Hythe)
    Prices from
    £350
    Per week (seasonal)
     
    Coastal fisherman's cottage gem in Hythe with 2 bedrooms, WiFi and pets welcome. Fully enclosed garden. Free on-street parking. Close to golf course, swimming pool and shops.
     
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