“ The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway is Kent's mainline in miniature. „
The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway runs from Dungeness point to Hythe with 10 stops in between. The newest stop was added in February 2009 allowing visitors to hop off and visit the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre(free), a small wildlife reserve and education centre. The train itself is a miniature steam engine complete with miniature carriages which will enthral any children regardless of age (including those older children!).
The price varies from which stop you decide to get on at but an adult return for the whole journey of hythe to Dungeness costs £13.00 with a Childs fare costing £6.00 If you are planning on taking the whole journey and making a day of it for the same price you can buy a rover ticket which allows you to hop on and off at the various stops and haults. This makes it a great way to explore this part of the Romney Marsh and south Coast. At Dungeness you can hop off, have a bite to eat in the railway café and head up to the top of the old lighthouse which provides spectacular views on a clear day.
The full train journey itself takes in the region of an hour (one way) and if you are deciding to hop on and off then services run past approximately every 30 minutes. The railway runs everyday of the week throughout April until the end of October. Services run more infrequently throughout November until the end of February.
We have just come back from a weeks holiday in New Romney, my Mother in law has a caravan there and so it is somewhere we visit regulary.
We can hear the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway steam trains from the caravan and have often said "we should go on there one day" but never quite got around to it, well this time we did and here is my review ...
What is it ?
The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway was built in 1927 it is 13 1/2 miles of mainline except it is in miniature . It used to be know as 'The worlds smallest public railway' and it still operates a frequent service covering six stations along the kent coast seven days a week.
The steam trains travel from Dungeness to Hythe calling at Romney sands, New Romney, St Marys bay, Dymchurch and Hythe. It takes one hour and five minutes to travel from one end to the other.
How much is it ?
Ticket prices vary depending on where you are traveling to and from, An adult return from Dungeness to Hythe is £13.00 however if you are buying that you would be better off to get a RomneyRover ticket which allows you to hop on and off the trains all day as this also costs £13.00 for an adult, £6.50 for children or you can get a family ticket for £34.00. This rover ticket also allows you to enter the Model railway Exhibition at New Romney station for free.
The Experience ?
Well we have two children aged nine and four, our four year old little boy is train mad and was so excited about going on a real tank engine. All the staff are dressed as you would expect in dungarees and with dirty faces . We arrived at new Romney station just before the first train of the day was about to leave, I would recommend this as we got to see them filling the trains up with water and the drivers were talking to the children explaining what was going on and how a steam train works.
The trains are shiny and clean you can choose to sit in an open carriage or one that has doors. The trains make a brilliant sound, my little boy loved every minute of it chugging along whilst looking at all the views.
What facilities are there ?
All stations except Romney sands and St Marys bay have toilets, car parks, baby changing areas and a shop. New Romney and Dungeness have a cafe and picnic area.
Special carriages designed for passengers in wheelchairs are available on most trains and all stations have ramps and accessible toilets.
Is it worth it ?
For a one off or every-so-often treat I would highly recommend it, especially if there are children involved. But it is too expensive to use as a general commuter train or every time we go down there.
My husband and I decided to take a trip over the Easter bank holiday down to Hythe, in South East England. One of the main attractions here is the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway that lets you travel from Hythe down to Dungeness stopping at various points in between. The railway opened in 1927 and is a miniature steam train that used to be known as 'the world's smallest public railway'. You can purchase a ticket that covers the entire journey, covering 13.5 miles of the coast, and you can jump on and off at the stops in between or you can simply buy a ticket that takes you from your starting point to where you want to end.
~ Stops ~
Hythe - the most northern station which is close to Folkestone. Here you can take a walk into the historic High Street or hire a boat out on the canal.
Dymchurch - a seaside village well-known for its holiday camps where people flock to in the summer.
St Mary's Bay - offers a small sandy beach a few minutes away.
New Romney - at the railway's headquarters you can find the Model Railway Exhibition as well as a long stretch of sandy beach.
Romney Sands - the railway stops directly in the centre of Romney Sands holiday village which joins onto the long beach from New Romney.
Dungeness - the end of the line at a large shingle headland which houses an old lighthouse.
~ Fares ~
Adult return fares:
Hythe - Dymchurch £7.70
Hythe - New Romney £10.20
Hythe - Dungeness £13
New Romney - Dungeness £7.70
Children prices are half of the adult prices. Single fares are two-thirds of the return rate.
RomneyRover (unlimited day ticket all stations) - adults £13, children £6.50
FamilyRover (2 adults and 2 children) - £34
You can often find out about events that are going on nearby the railway's stops from the leaflets they give out at each station.
Personally, I thought the prices were rather expensive for this tiny stream train ride. It's a great and exciting thing to do though with children, travelling past lots of sheep and horses in the fields, with people waving at you as you chug past. It's quite a slow journey and takes about an hour to travel the entire 13.5 miles from Hythe to Dungeness. It was a fun little thing to do but if you've had a long day it's very easy to end up falling asleep on the journey back!
If taking a visit to this area, the stream train is great little attraction to get to from one place to the next or just for the attraction of it and kids really enjoy it. If you've not got any children with you though I wouldn't really recommend it, it's probably easier and cheaper to drive down but for kids, it's a great attraction.