This is a route rich in maritime history, from smuggling to wartime defences – but despite its name, it’s not entirely coastal. Shaped by storms, flooding and human intervention, today’s shoreline cuts a very different path to the one of Saxon times and it’s this ancient seaboard that we’ll retrace.
From Dover, we head west along the top of the white cliffs (from where you can see France on a clear day). We’ll pass relics of wartime history, including the vast Abbot's Cliff sound mirror (used to detect approaching enemy aircraft during WW2), and stop for lunch at the Battle of Britain Memorial. East of Folkestone, we follow the old coastline inland, conquering a succession of hills before continuing to Lympne (the end of the Roman Road from Canterbury to the sea). With 17 miles in the bag, we stay overnight in Hythe (accommodation is a stone’s throw from the sea in simple ensuite single or double rooms), where we’ll have dinner at one of the town’s fine old pubs.
The next morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we resume our journey from Lympne – (look out for giraffes as we pass by the Port Lympne zoo) – covering a further 22 miles through idyllic and undulating countryside that sometimes feels as if it hasn’t been visited for years! We’ll check-in for lunch at a lovely Kent village pub before joining the canal that will take us the last couple of miles to the picturesque town of Rye, where the trip finishes.
Number of places: 12
Cost per person: £149
- Guiding, support and tips from two qualified and experienced coaches along the entire route.
- Vehicle support, including transport of and access to your bag (and a lift, should you require it!).
- Overnight accommodation and breakfast at Stade Court Hotel and dinner out in Hythe (set menu).
- Transfer to and from Lympne to our accommodation.
- Water top-up and energy snacks at 2-3 stopping points per day.
Trip duration: 11am Saturday until 4.30pm Sunday (approx).
Start point: Dover Priory Railway Station, Folkestone Road, Dover CT17 9SB (an hour from London St Pancras on HS1).
End point: Rye Castle, Gungarden, Rye TN31 7HE. (This is a 5-minute walk from Rye railway station).
Is it for you? There’s no doubt that 39 miles over two days is a challenge, but the fact that the distance is broken down into manageable chunks makes it more achievable than you might think. Anyone who's completed at least a half-marathon fairly comfortably (we're looking at under 2hrs 20 minutes, for logistical purposes) and doesn’t detest hills should be able to cope with and enjoy the Saxon Shore Adventure.