The Hythe Venetian Fete is a tableau of decorated floats in various themes, historical and topical.
Held on the Royal Military Canal in the Town of Hythe every second year on the third Wednesday in August, the Fete attracts an audience of thousands from far and wide.
There are two processions of up to 40 floats, first in daylight, and then again after dark illuminated.
At dusk between the two parades there is a grand firework display.
Take a walk on the wild side...
Port Lympne Anmal Park at Lympne near Hythe.
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park is a sister Park of Howletts near Canterbury.
Has the "Palace of the Apes", the largest family gorilla house in the world.
Discounted entry can be had by picking up the zoo leaflet from a tourist office or wherever you see tourist info in shops and restaurants.
Dem bones, dem bones.... them thigh bone's......
One of the wonders of the world, the ossuary (/ossyoori/ • noun (pl. ossuaries) a container or room for the bones of the dead. Source Oxford English Dictionary) under the 11th century parish church of St Leonard's.
Within the Crypt are the last mortal remains of some 4,000 men, women and children including around 2,000 skulls and 8,000 thigh bones.
The human bones in the Crypt date back to before the Norman Conquest and have been gathered together during the period from 800 to 900 AD up to early 1500 AD.
Time for Tea?
Out in what seems the countryside, but in reality on the edge of Romney Marsh, and close to the coast itself and the caravan sites of Dymchurch is Lathe Barn.
A small development of gift and craft shops with a splendid tea rooms making an excellent stop after a summer afternoon cycling on the not quite as flat as you might think marsh roads.
Take the Hythe Tour
Dotted around the town, especially by the Royal Military Canal are small tableaux depicting some part of the life on Hythe and also some information boards erected at the Millenium to explain in English and French some aspects of local history.
From the Musketeers (see http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Hythe) to the Navvies that dug the canal itself.
No matter what the weather, you can nearly always find the beach fishermen strung out along the beach from Seabrook in the east along to St Leonard's Road in the west.
Fishing off the beach can be rewarding with plaice, sole and more commonly mackerel being caught.
Tiny Train Trip
One of the first days of my vacation, we spent sightseeing in Kent. My first views of the Channel, tasting hard ciders at a winery, and a ride on the Romney, Dymchurch & Hythe Railway. A real coal-fired engine took us from Romney to the Lighthouse at Dungeness and back. When we bought the tickets, we weren't aware that the train was so small! Was an interesting ride, nonetheless.
Port Lympne Safari Park
This was as close to the real thing aka Kenya that I have experienced. As you know, I lived in Kenya for 3 years and went on safari many times. These guys have done us proud. You have the big safari vehicles which grind slowly around the suitably *African* roads, with lots of bumps and potholes. There is the Picnic Place that resembles the one in Nairobi National Park, overlooking the land, with wooden benches and reed roofs to the shades. All it lacks are baboons pooping on everything and rummaging through the waste bins.
You need to allow at LEAST 4-5 hours to get round it all, a great day out for the family!
There is a Sister park, Howletts. http://www.information-britain.co.uk/showPlace.cfm?Place_ID=1465 check it out.
I loved the fact that I could buy mealworms and walk along the road to the Meerkats' enclosure and throw the mealworms in and watch the lil darlings forage for them. I am sure you have all watched Meerkat Manor on BBC narrated by Bill Nighy (you know, the actor that played the Grandad of Rock in Love Acutually), super bloke, top narrator, good sense of humor. But I digress.
Port Lympne is a charity. Any donations gratefully received BUT you would be supporting some supremely male silverback gorrillas which are worth millions. They have rhinos, ostrich lion, although contained. Visit the website to get the full information.
Pics to come.
- National/State Park
Walk or Cycle the Military Canal
National Cycle Route 2 runs from the start of the Military Canal at Seabrook all the way to the other end in the depths of Sussex.
If you have a short time you can cycle along the Military Road from Hythe to West Hythe. It's not far, but since the money was spent from the millennium fund, it is an easier task.
Along the way there are information boards put up to explain local interests. Pictured is one at West Hythe.
Have an ice-cream
An institution in Hythe. Year after year Rio's van has been on the seafront at the end of Twiss Road opposite the entrance to the Imperial.
Soft ice-cream or perhaps an ice lolly? Rio will have it. The perfect reward after a long brisk walk along the seafront from the fishing boats to Seabrook and back.
Go for a wander around Dungeness and you'll see 70 or 80 shacks, a little railway, and the extraordinary gardens that have been created on the shingle here. Gardens without boundaries ...
The most famous garden was created by and was once the home of the late filmaker and artist Derek Jarman (pictured).
There are two lighthouses , the older (pictured) is sometimes open for visitors to look around, but this happens at irregular intervals: it is just a matter of luck! There is also a modern lighthouse of minimalist design.
The strange building looming out of the background is the nuclear power station. That, we are firmly told, in various posters, is "no longer open for tours".
A little further round the coast is a most odd place, of interest to military historians: Denge Sound Mirrors these are extraordinary structures that pre-dated radar - follow the link, as they are the most wonderful concrete dinosaurs!
Visit the gruesome ossuary
The ossuary in the crypt of St Leonard‘s Church is one of only two in England (the other being in Rothwell, Northants) and contains 2,000 human skulls, 8,000 thighbones, a few jaw bones and various other artefacts. The skull and thighbones were usually kept as it was believed that it would ensure physical resurrection.
The exact origin of the bones is unclear, legend has it that they are the remains of Saxon soldiers killed in a battle fought nearby that were dug up when the existing church was built in 1080. A more likely explanation is that they were dug up and stored in the Middle Ages when it was customary to re-use burial plots.
Open May-Sept, 10.30 to Midday & 2.30 to 4.00
- Historical Travel
Visit the Church with the Bones
St Leonard’s Church sits high up on the hillside overlooking the town and is well worth a visit. Built in 1080 on the site of a Saxon church it has a beautiful stained glass window depicting Hythe's role as a Cinque Port and defender of the coast. It is known as “The Church with the Bones” due to the ossuary in the crypt.
St Leonard's has a strong musical heritage and there are regular concerts and recitals held in the church.
- Historical Travel
Take a row boat on the Royal Military Canal
The Royal Military Canal runs parallel to the coast and was designed to be both a defence and a means of transporting supplies during the Napoleonic Wars. It was built in straight sections with a turn every 800 feet as this was the range of a cannon and therefore it was easier to defend.
Every two years (next one in 2007) a Venetian fete is held in the evening along the canal. Local companies and organisations decorate floats that are illuminated and sail up the canal accompanied by music and fireworks.
The energetic or romantic can hire a rowing boat by the hour and explore the canal.
- Family Travel
- Sailing and Boating
The Martello Towers
In total 74 of these towers were built in 1805 stretching from just along the coast at Folkestone to Seaford near Eastbourne. They were designed as a defence against possible invasion by Napoleon who, seemingly bored with waging war against most of mainland Europe, decided to have a go at England. The walls were up to 13ft thick and each tower held 24 men and had a huge cannon mounted on the top. They were known as Martello Towers named after a similar tower at Mortella Point in Corsica which the Navy had captured from the French after a long battle
Although never needed for their original purpose they were later used to combat smuggling and also as signalling stations and coastal defences during the two world wars. The two in Hythe are still in fairly good condition, others have been destroyed for development, some lay in ruins and a few have even been turned into houses, one of which can be seen along West Parade.
- Historical Travel
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