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13 things to do in Sandwich

Planning the perfect day in this achingly pretty town? Discover waterside wildlife, age-old pubs, ancient history and more great things to do in Sandwich, Kent

Sandwich in Kent, England
Photograph: Joana Kruse/Alamy Stock Photo

Sandwich might appear to be the ancestral home of everyone’s favourite lunch, but it’s unclear how much credit the town can really take for the savoury snack. The fourth Earl of Sandwich, who popularised shoving food between two slices of bread, didn’t have much to do with the place itself. Lucky then, that there’s much more to this ancient and achingly pretty town on the Kent coast than just carbs. Crust us.

RECOMMENDED: Explore nearby Deal, Ramsgate or Margate too 

A perfect day in Sandwich

Cottages in Sandwich, Kent
Photograph: Philip Bird

First up

Sleepy Sandwich is full of cute cottages and perfectly preserved medieval buildings. Grab coffee and a fresh French pastry from No Name Shop and wander to the quayside, eyeing half-timbered houses and antiques shops as you go.

Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve.
Photograph: Ellie Walker-Arnott

Soak up the vibes

Head ten minutes out of town to explore the wilds of Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve. It’s all stunning salt marshes, wild flowers, mudflats and golden sea cliffs, with trails for windswept coastal walks and places to pause and (attempt to) spot rare birds and butterflies.

Dining room of The Hop and Huffkin

Stop for lunch

If you’ve been daydreaming about bread, order generously filled sausage and mustard sandwiches with a glass of local Chapel Down wine from The Hop and Huffkin, where all the food and drink hails from Kent. Supersize your lunch with enormous club sarnies at The Bell Hotel.

Gardens at The Salutation in Sandwich, Kent

Get back to nature

Stop loafing around and take a boat trip from the quay. If you’re lucky, you’ll spy the local seal colony. Prefer to stay on dry land? Explore the lush gardens at The Salutation. Document the greenery – the symmetry is a photographer’s dream – or book on to a propagation workshop.

Cottages in Sandwich, Kent

Drink like a local

There’s no shortage of historic pubs in Sandwich. Step back in time at The Crispin Inn, which was built in 1491, or warm up next to a roaring fire inside the half-timbered Admiral Owen. On a roll? For soothing grub and ales from independent Kent breweries, cosy up inside the teeny Mermaid’s Locker.

Richborough Roman Fort in Kent
Photograph: English Heritage

If you only do one thing

Thought Sandwich was super old? It’s not compared to the ruins of Richborough Roman Fort, just outside of town. Said to be where the Romans first set foot on British soil, it was once home to an arch marking the official entrance to Britannia. Roam around the crumbling walls and grass ditches in this impressive and peaceful place.

The Salutation, Sandwich

And if you stay the night, wake up here

A grand country house with gardens is the last thing you expect to find in the centre of Sandwich, where the streets are narrow and houses tightknit. But space, light and high ceilings are what you get at The Salutation. Rooms are elegant, with punchy, unusual artworks adorning the walls. The hotel was once run by ‘Gogglebox’ couple Steph and Dom, but with new owners came lush decor, botanical toiletries made on site and a fancy restaurant. Book the tasting menu to watch head chef Shane Hughes craft heavenly mouthfuls in the glass-fronted kitchen. From £136 a night. 

Staying in Kent?

Lavender fields Kentish Lavender
Kentish Lavender
Things to do

The 13 best things to do in Kent

Dubbed the "garden of England" and home to numerous farms, breweries and fishing towns (not to mention all that exceptional greenery across the South Downs and beyond) it's not hard to figure out why the best things to do in Kent are considered some of the most exciting across the country.