The picturesque and bustling town of Sandwich boasts many treasures – from medieval houses and churches to riverside walks, boats trips and internationally renowned golf courses.
There really are surprises and treasures around every corner, with something for everyone in the small town. Take a stroll around the narrow streets to find a host of smart boutiques selling fashion, homeware and crafts, as well as there being quite a few antique shops.
Stop for a bite to eat or a drink at one of the many quayside cafes or restaurants, take a riverside walk, jump on a boat for a trip to see seals – and if golf is your thing, it’s definitely the place to go.
Golf and The Open
Sandwich boasts three internationally renowned golf courses. There is the Royal St George’s Golf Club, which is hosting The Open 2021 for the fifteenth time. It was last held there in 2011.
There is the Royal Cinque Port Golf Club, which has previously hosted The Open and there is Prince’s too, named as Britain’s finest course by one of the world’s top players in the 1920s and 1930s, American professional golfer Gene Sarazen.
The Open is golf’s most international major championship and is followed by millions of fans. It has been played since 1860. The Open 2021 will see something like 100,000 visitors descend on the small town, which has a population of just 4,500. It is also expected to be watched on television by 600 million households around the world.
Walk the narrow winding streets to see the timber framed buildings lining the streets, along with historic houses, churches and public buildings, which date back as far as the 12th century. Follow in the footsteps of one of the royal visitors from over the centuries, who included Henry VIII.
It was once a port and the embarkation point for kings and their arms, heading off for regular battles with France.
The Saxon name for the town means place in the sand. Sandwich also gave its name to the food, by way of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. It has been said that he asked for food between slices of bread so he could play card games easily without the need for a fork, plus not to get grease from the meat on his playing cards.
You could start your stroll at The Guildhall, which houses the offices of Sandwich Town Council, as well as a museum and a visitor centre. The Guildhall was built in 1579.
There is a pay and display car park just behind. It’s also only a five to ten-minute walk from Sandwich train station. If it’s a nice day, sit in the square and enjoy a cuppa and some people watching. Thursdays you will find market stalls there, selling artisan bread, fruit, fashion and trinkets.
Over the road, is the historic St Peter’s Church, which is more than 900 years old and has a bell tower, which you can climb to the top of, via a spiral staircase, if you have a head for heights. Alternatively, sit in the lovely garden, where you will find table and chairs and a corner of deckchairs in the summer, along with a pop-up café.
Head towards Sandwich Quayside if boats are your thing. Pick your boat for a trip along the River Stour. These include the USN P22, a gunship which featured in the blockbuster film Dunkirk. The USN P22 patrolled the Rhine during the Cold War.
Take a river-bus and head out on a two-hour seal trip to nearby Pegwell Bay, or perhaps just sit by the water, take some colourful photos and watch the world go by.
Walk across the quaint Sandwich Toll Bridge, which opened in 1755 on a site that had been a crossing for centuries. Tolls were abolished in 1977.
Just amble around the winding streets as the fancy takes you, or alternatively follow one of the official routes. Sandwich is located 60 miles into the Saxon Shore Way walk.
You can make your walk as long or as short as you like. There is a 30-minute circular route around the town walls, which takes in most of the historic sights, if you just want a short wander. Or follow the signs for the Town Trail.
If you like riverside walks, follow the River Stour, which is where you will find the boats, by the quayside. On the other side of the town, behind the Guildhall and the car park, is the Delf Stream, a large park and a cricket field.
On the outskirts of the town you will find a nature reserve and a bird observatory. If you are in Sandwich, you will also be very close to some stunning coastal walks, so why not relax and unwind and stay for a few days.