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Things to do in Romney Marsh, Dymchurch and Dungeness

There really is no where else in Kent quite like the Romney Marsh.

Just half an hour from Ashford, there are scores of activities for families to enjoy, especially the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway. The line stretches more than 13 miles along the coast with stops en route to Dungeness.

The ever-changing coastline attracts a wealth of wildlife and, in turn, animal watchers to see insects and birds in their natural habitat - and we don’t just mean seagulls.

Dungeness lies at the southernmost point of Kent
Dungeness lies at the southernmost point of Kent

With dedicated nature trails on the RSPB Dungeness reserve, hours can be spent learning about the fascinating landscape. In addition, guided tours are occasionally provided to intriguing wartime structures, usually blocked to the public.

Denge sound mirrors, which date back pre-Second World War, were an early aircraft warning system made of concrete. They still sit on an island on the back of a private gravel works at Lade Pits, near Dungeness, now run by the bird conservation charity, and attract scores of photographers every year, hoping to snap a rare sight.

Other military relics are the Martello Towers at Dymchurch. In the early 19th century, the British government built the chain of small defensive forts along the coast when faced with the threat of Napoleonic invasion.

The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway has been operating for more than 90 years and has a large fleet of one third size steam trains
The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway has been operating for more than 90 years and has a large fleet of one third size steam trains
These large sound mirrors at Denge Marsh, near to Dungeness, were an experimental idea in the early 1930s, to capture the sound of possible enemy aircraft flying over the English Channel and attacking mainland Briton. They were designed to act as giant sound ears, and were placed along various sections of the Kent and Sussex coastline. They were never used in action, because shortly after construction, radar was invented!
These large sound mirrors at Denge Marsh, near to Dungeness, were an experimental idea in the early 1930s, to capture the sound of possible enemy aircraft flying over the English Channel and attacking mainland Briton. They were designed to act as giant sound ears, and were placed along various sections of the Kent and Sussex coastline. They were never used in action, because shortly after construction, radar was invented!

The interior of Tower 24 has been restored to its original design and cannon and is open from 2pm to 4pm on weekends until the end of October.

The vast expanse of the Marsh made the area an easy target for invaders and illicit trade in days gone by. Nowadays, the tower sits next door to the Dymchurch amusements, complete with its two penny machines.

With several caravan parks, plenty of pubs to choose from and restaurants across the towns and villages such as New Romney, a former Cinque Port, it’s easy to see why this once hidden backwater region is so popular in the summer.

Fish and chips come in generous portions at the Pilot Inn
Fish and chips come in generous portions at the Pilot Inn

Grab a taste: One restaurant that’s a must is the Pilot Inn in Dungeness. It may feel like you’re driving to the ends of the earth, but it is worth the trip. With seafood as their speciality, it will probably be the most authentic fish and chips you’ve ever tasted. If you want something healthier, the seafood salad is also a big hit.

Dungeness RSPB Reserve with the power station on the horizon
Dungeness RSPB Reserve with the power station on the horizon

Fun for free: The Dungeness RSPB reserve is rich with fresh water pits, meadows and wet grassland. Expect to see swallows, bittern and smews grace the skies and the largest expanse of shingle anywhere in the world. It’s open daily 9am to 9pm, or sunset if earlier.

Dungeness lies on a headland on the south part of Romney Marsh
Dungeness lies on a headland on the south part of Romney Marsh

Don't miss: The annual multi-arts festival JAM on the Marsh has events going on across Romney Marsh right through to Sunday, July 14. There are exhibitions, children’s events, theatrical performances, poetry recitals and live music, as well as daily creations on Dymchurch Beach by beach sculptor Jon Foreman.

Find out what's on in Romney Marsh and across the county

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