A Taste of My Sandwich – Quaint and Quirky Medieval Town in Kent

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

My Kind of Town

I feel very lucky to live in picturesque countryside just outside the delightful market town of Sandwich in Kent. To pop out for some groceries or for a visit to the hairdresser means a walk through cobbled streets, passing some amazing architecture; Medieval timber-framed cottages, imposing Georgian townhouses, and even a Queen Anne style home, designed by the renowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, in 1911. Crossing the intriguingly named ‘No Name Street’ and an amble along ‘Potter Street’ or perhaps ‘Short Street’ brings me to the quayside overlooking the peaceful and very beautiful River Stour. You can enjoy a coffee, or late afternoon aperitif on a terrace, watching the pleasure crafts which could carry you out to see the seals on the sandbanks (which gave the town its name) where the river meets the sea. Alternatively, you might head up-river, and within moments you would arrive in Richborough, where the Romans landed in 43 AD. Here, they had their very first English supply depot and built a vast triumphal arch, and later a Saxon Shore Fortification, parts of which remain to this day.

 

What views from the Office!

So, not just my home but one of my places of work. As a South East England Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I love nothing better than sharing a taste of my Sandwich with visitors to our ancient town. As we wander along the quayside, we can imagine that 2000 years ago, Sandwich itself was an island, located on a sandbank. It later became a Medieval port – the original ‘Gateway to England’ where Kings and Archbishops, Pilgrims and Merchants, and even an elephant – a gift to King Henry 3rd  – would have arrived. I rather like to think that in the 12th and 13th centuries this important gateway was the London Heathrow Airport of its day. Our time machine conveys our imagination forward to the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, and her birthday visit in 1573. Also to the many Dutch and Flemish refugees to whom she gave sanctuary – we see their influence in the churches, houses and gateways throughout the town. During WW2, up to 5000 Jewish refugees stayed here in ‘The Kitchener Camp’ some say that we can thank these Austrian and German visitors for the rather good coffee we have in the town. You can hear all about coffee in the wonderful café called ‘Goats that Dance’!

 

Quaint and Quirky Tour

No wonder when the opportunity came to work on a tour which would appeal to visitors from all walks of life and from around the world, Sandwich seemed to be a prime contender.  Colourful characters, Kings and Queens, shipbuilders, battles, cargos of wines, silks and spices, anniversaries celebrated and festivals galore! – Whether we are enjoying ‘Le Weekend’ with French food and wines ( yes, after many battles, we are good friends now) or ‘Sandwich Salutes the ‘’40s’ with amazing music, costumes and even the shops look as they might have looked back in WW2.  I enjoy welcoming visitors for a 90-minute walk around the town or a half-day tour with visits to our wonderful museum which boasts a 1300 copy of Magna Carta, and, perhaps a visit to a Medieval boat builder.  It’s not difficult to spend a day in Sandwich, and choices for food? – Well, you could settle for a sandwich but the plentiful bars, cafés and restaurants, with local Kentish produce offer so much more. I do hope you will join me for ‘A Taste of My Sandwich’.

Contact Details: 

Email: Yvonne@Creativitytravel.co.uk

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About the guide

Name: Yvonne Leach

Qualifications: South East England

Languages: English