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   (2.9 miles from the centre of Sandwich)
    Prices from
    £50
    per person per night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 329 reviews
    Rating from 329 reviews
    Grade II Listed manor house B&B near Sandwich with four poster suite and luxury rooms, large garden with swings & slides, award-winning breakfasts and evening meals.
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  • Sandwich   (0.1 miles from the centre of Sandwich)
    Prices from
    £85
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 65 reviews
    Rating from 65 reviews
    Set in a 17th-century building, St Peters Bed and Breakfast is located in Sandwich’s historic town centre. The Church of St Peters dates back to the 13th century and is just a 2...
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    Rating from 65 reviews
  • Sandwich   (1.7 miles from the centre of Sandwich)
    Prices from
    £68
    per person per night B&B (2 sharing)
     
    Modern guest rooms and apartments on Sandwich Bay within Prince's Golf Course complex. Free parking, WiFi and Brasserie Restaurant with views. Family friendly. Ideal golf break.
     
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Accommodation in New Romney

  • 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 144 reviews
    Rating from 144 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...
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    Rating from 144 reviews
  • 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.
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Accommodation in Deal

  • Deal   (0.2 miles from the centre of Deal)
    Prices from
    £40
    Per person B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 58 reviews
    Rating from 58 reviews
    Deal B&B guest house providing welcoming family-run accommodation on the Kent coast. Steeped in history, with lovely rooms and excellent food. Book online now.
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    Inn
  • Deal   (0.1 miles from the centre of Deal)
    Prices from
    £30
    Per person per night B&B (2 sharing)
     
    Historic inn with rooms in Deal with terrace, sea views and 14 en-suite rooms. Locally brewed beers and bar menu, family & ground floor rooms, WiFi & award-winning flower displays
     
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  • Dover   (5.3 miles from the centre of Deal)
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    £85
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 115 reviews
    Rating from 115 reviews
    These apartments are in The Cider Works – where homemade cider is produced, there is a country shop, and a charming café – surrounded by beautiful countryside.
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    Rating from 115 reviews

Accommodation in Hythe

  • Hythe   (1.4 miles from the centre of Hythe)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £315
    Per Week (Seasonal)
     
    Special Offer
    DISCOUNTS for ONLY 2 PERSONS AND SENIOR CITIZENS
    Comfortably furnished self catering holiday bungalow on the edge of Hythe with an extensive garden, sea views and well equipped throughout. Families welcome. 2 bedrooms.
     
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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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  • Hythe   (1.1 miles from the centre of Hythe)
    Prices from
    £59
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 70 reviews
    Rating from 70 reviews
    This comfortable B&B is set 300 metres from Hythe Bay seafront and promenade. It offers cosy rooms, most with en suite bathroom and sea views, 2.5 Miles from the Channel Tun...
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 70 reviews
    Rating from 70 reviews