This little medieval market town in south-east England is truly a hidden gem. One of the original Anglo-Saxon Cinque Ports, it suffered the same fate as all the others. Its harbour silted up, the sea retreated, and the town is now 2 miles (3 km) from the coast.
Sandwich is no longer a busy port, but a delightful little riverside town. Its medieval character has been preserved with tiny winding lanes, medieval and other historic buildings conserved and the busy Quay running commercial boat trips along the River Stour.
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Barbican & Fishergate are gates in old town wall
Some of the town’s medieval walls remain but the Barbican and Fishergate are the only gates left in the old wall. Fishergate opens onto the Quay, and the Barbican, at one end of the bridge across the Stour, gives access to the Cattle Market in the centre of town. Here, in the black and white half-timbered Guildhall,is the town’s Tourist Information Centre.
Before the sea retreated, Sandwich Bay was a safe, natural harbour and an ideal landing spot for invaders. It was here that the Romans landed to invade Britain in 43 AD. The remains of their frontline fort at Richborough can be visited.
Sandwich became an important and rich port handling trade and passengers travelling between London and the continent. It was a favourite departure point for dissenters fleeing the Crown like Thomas Becket. It welcomed Dutch Huguenot refugees in the 16th century and farewelled English emigrants to the New World.
Old pubs abound especially on the Quay
The town is crammed with old pubs such as St Crispin Inn on the Quay, offering excellent food and drink and even sandwiches! Yes, this worldwide snack was named after the town. A busy Earl of Sandwich did order his servant to make him a snack of a slice of meat between two pieces of bread, but there is some debate as to whether he was busy gambling at the time or working hard in his office!
The wide open spaces left by the retreating sea now provide habitat for many waterbirds and several bird reserves have been established. Sandwich is home to the famous links golf courses of Royal St George’s and Prince’s.
British Open Golf Championship
The British Open Golf Championship in July 2011 was held at Royal St George’s Golf Course. Accommodation in Sandwich and the surrounding area is at a premium around the time of The Open. If you are planning to visit Sandwich at Championship times it is recommended that you book well in advance of your visit.
Sandwich a pretty and interesting town, surrounded by delightful one-name villages such as Ham, Finglesham, Worth, Eastry, and Ash.
As well as having delightful thatched cottages, Ham has the much photographed ‘Ham-Sandwich’ sign at West Junction. Finglesham just off the A258 road is a pretty hamlet with an award winning country pub The Crown Inn. Worth has another award winning restaurant at St Crispin Inn.
Ash, off the A257 road, was once the main route to Canterbury. It has a wonderful medieval church with fine memorial brasses and Ash Street contains 11 original manor houses. Nearby Barnsole Vinyard offers tours and tastings. On the Sandwich/Ash road is White Mill Rural Heritage Centre.
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Close to Canterbury, Dover & easy access from London
This charming part of Kent is only a 1½ - 2 hour drive from London, 15 minutes from the cathedral city of Canterbury and 20 minutes from the cross-channel port of Dover.
Tourist Information Centre
The TIC is located at The Guildhall in the Cattle Market, Post Code is CT13 9AH. It is open from April to October yearly.
Sandwich Town Council - TIC External Link
There is plentiful accommodation ranging from campsites to 5-star hotels. For more information visit the following links:
Discover Sandwich External Link
Open Sandwich - Accommodation External Link
Getting There From London
- By Rail
Trains to Sandwich leave from London St Pancras Domestic station and travel to Sandwich either through Ashford and Dover Priory stations or from London St Pancras Domestic station to Ramsgate and then to Sandwich.
Either route can involve a change in trains and both involve a total journey time of around 90 minutes. For train selection, times, cost and tickets go to Web: National Rail Enquiries Website External Link
- By Bus
Take the National Express hourly coach service from London Victoria Coach station to Canterbury with a journey time of around two hours – bookings are required. Go to Web: National Express website External Link
Then from Canterbury bus station, take the frequent Stagecoach East Kent bus service to Sandwich. Journey time is about 30 minutes. Go to Web: Stagecoach East Sussex website External Link
- By Road
The distance by road from Central London is around 75miles (120 km).
From the M25 London Ring Road, exit at either Junction 2 to the A2 towards Rochester and then either the M2 / A2 to Canterbury and the A257 to Sandwich or the alternate route from the M2 Junction 7 onto the A299 towards Ramsgate and finally the A256 to Sandwich.
Google Maps - Sandwich