Days Out: Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway

As part of T’s birthday treat, we decided to take T to the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway in Kent. We’d never heard of the railway before, but after passing it a few times on the way to the in-laws we decided to give it a go!

Based near Romney Marsh, the railway runs between Hythe and Dungeness and is one of the worlds smallest public railways! Not knowing much about the railway prior to our visit, there were several surprises during our day – including the realisation that the carriages were rather small!

Worlds smallest public railway

If someone told me that the railway was a miniture railway I would have automatically assumed it was going to be one of those railways you find at garden centres or zoo’s. The railways where there is no room for your backside, let alone your knees.

So it’s a good thing I didn’t read much about RHDR before our visit otherwise I probably would have given it a miss. I read the leaflet, saw a steam train, and went with it. I had no idea there were different variations in miniature railway! Therefore, arriving that day and seeing how small the carriages were I was somewhat apprehensive.

Once we bought our tickets we went to our first platform for the day. By this point, T was mega excited and was pleased to be able to see every part of the train. Other steam railways we’ve visited have, obviously, always been too big for T meaning he’s limited with what can he see. This is not the case with this railway. He was able to see everything, and I think he loved it.

Once our train arrived, we scored a carriage to ourselves (the good thing about getting there for the first train of the day!) and took a journey from New Romney to Hythe. It’s a good job too as there really isn’t much room to stretch out. That being said, T found everything to be perfect for him. He didn’t have to scramble on and the windows were his height.

Arriving at Hythe a few minutes later, we took a mooch around the local area and then went to the local tea room and treated T to a hot chocolate. This was a gorgeous tea toom as the decor was ultra vintage.

After inhaling our drinks, we then got back on another train and took a longer journey all the way to the other end of the line – Dungeness. This was also the perfect opportunity to eat our picnic and enjoy the scenery, although a lot of the views are of open marsh (obviously) and farm land. That being said, it was still nice to look at as we’d never been to the area before.

During our visit, we could have stopped at the other stations along the line or get off and walk to the beach, for example, but we thought we’d stick to the main sites and dedicate our time to riding the railway. T preferred this clearly as it was sometimes difficult to get him off the train!

Dungeness

Arriving at Dungeness with a full stomach, we had a walk around the area and then headed to the beach. I cannot stress how eery and barren Dungeness is in a post-apocalyptic-meet-western style outback. There are a variety of beach houses to look at, some of which have been converted to galerries, but the majority of the area is beach. This is probably due to the power station on it’s doorstep. That being said, I found it fascinating. Plus it was great to see undisturbed landscapes and beaches as far as the eye could see. There was also the one pub on site as well as a decent cafe and gift shop attached to the train station.

After an hour or so exploring, we made our way back to the platform to catch the train home. This is where we were lucky enough to catch on of the diesel trains (there are fewer diesel trains to steamies). Riding the train home, you could tell had exhausted himself with excitement as 15 minutes into the journey he was on my lap and falling asleep to the rocking of the train.

Arriving back our New Romney wasn’t the end of our day trip – we still had time to visit the MODEL railway! Located above the on-site cafe we were treated to a history of the railway as well as the chance to view a large variety of working model railways of varying sizes. I know I sound nerdy right now, but I actually love model railways. I think they’re a pleasure to look at. There’s no way I’d have the patience to build it. 

This particular museum was actually to a very high standard. There were platforms and stools to stand on as well as interactive pieces. There were even themed displays, such as one dedicated just to Thomas the Tank Engine. I also appreciated it not being too cramped. It meant T had room to run around and jump between the displays. At one point it was really busy but we still found another display to visit whilst the one he wanted was in use.

Despite being somewhat apprehensive about the railway when I first arrived, I was pleasantly surprised and had a grand day out. T certainly had a brilliant time and I would say that this railway is PERFECT for his age. In addition to the quality of the trains and platforms, staff clearly love what they do and made the experience really special – especially when they found out T is bit of an anorak.

I would definitely recommend paying the railway a visit, even if you’re not in the area. From Brighton, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive via the motorway or shorter if you travel via Battle and Rye. We will no doubt visit again as I feel T will experience something new each time he visits or at least top up his love for steamies.

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