Hellfire Corner: England’s Front Line.
Stay at the magnificent Hythe Imperial Hotel on the seafront of south-east England and explore 2000 years of history at the nation’s front line of defence, from the Roman invasion to the Battle of Britain and two world wars.
- Stay at a magnificent 4-star seafront hotel in Hythe.
- Dover Castle’s Wartime Tunnels.
- The Battle of Britain Museums at Hawkinge and Manston.
- Roman forts at Richborough and Stutfall.
- The National Memorial to the Few and the Scramble Experience.
- Romney Marsh and the Royal Military Canal.
See the ‘Itinerary’ tab above for full itinerary details.
With only 21 miles separating England from France, the south-east corner of England has always been the nation’s front line of defence. The Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Normans all landed here to begin their conquests, and since then this stretch of coast has successfully defended the realm. It has also pioneered developments in the armed forces, first as the cradle of the Royal Navy, and then in aviation as the front line in the skies during both World Wars. This was the scene of the Battle of Britain, where Spitfire dogfights raged overhead, it was Doodlebug Alley where thousands of flying bombs fell, and it was Hellfire Corner where massive guns fired at each other across the English Channel.
Our tour explores 2000 years of military history and heroism, visiting the defences, airfields, museums and memorials of both the First and Second World Wars, the preparations for attack by Napoleon, the Cinque Ports of Norman times, and some of the rarest types of Roman remains in the world.
The tour is based in the Kentish coastal town of Hythe, staying seven nights at the 4-star Hythe Imperial Hotel, a luxurious Victorian edifice with a commanding position on the seafront. Your tour leader is archaeologist Dr Christopher Cole, who has lived in this area all his life and has an unrivalled knowledge and passion for it.
Dates & Prices:
07 – 14 September 2020. Only £999
07 – 14 July 2021. Price held at £999
Single supplement £270.
Sea-view room upgrade £175 per room (subject to availability)
This tour is limited to 15 participants only. Early booking is recommended.
- Seven night’s hotel accommodation at the Hythe Imperial Hotel.
- All breakfasts and two evening meals. Additional meal options available (see below).
- Daily excursions with all transport, entrances and guiding.
Meals: We have included 3-course evening meals in the hotel on the first and last nights of the tour. Additional evening meals can be taken in the hotel but we leave these as optional so that you can make your own choices and perhaps enjoy some of the excellent local restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel.
All of Hidden History’s tours include a host of fully guided excursions and interesting talks to create an enriching travel experience. They also include some luxury and leisure by choosing great hotels and keeping the itineraries fairly relaxed and varied. For more on what to expect click on the box below…
This tour is not especially demanding and all the sites are quite easy to visit with short walks. The walking tours of Folkestone and Hythe are a little longer (a mile or so on even ground) but the pace is gentle and will present no problems for participants with a reasonable level of mobility and fitness. Please feel free to ask us for more details.
Your Tour Director
Dr Christopher Cole is a very experienced and popular tour director who holds a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the University of York. He has particularly strong research interests in his home area of Kent in southeast England, where he runs an archaeological field school as well as leading this Hellfire Corner tour and our Romney Marsh tour, both of which he has designed exclusively for Hidden History.
What to expect
More UK Tours
Make your way to the attractive seaside town of Hythe in Kent, southeast England. See the ‘Location’ and ‘Hotel’ tabs above for more details.
How To Book
Reservations & Enquiries: To reserve your place or enquire further simply enter your details in the form on this page, or call us on (UK) 0121 444 1854. There is no commitment and no payment at this stage; reservations are purely provisional until we have confirmed availability and proceeded with booking and payment.
Booking & Payment: Once you have checked availability and reserved your place, we will require your full details and a deposit of £100 per person to secure your booking. This can be done with a credit/debit card over the telephone (0121-444-1854) or by sending us a completed booking form and cheque. To print a booking form click here.
See our booking conditions for further details.
Click on the ‘Gallery’ tab above for more images.
- Departure Time07 September 2020 and 07 July 2021
Day 1: Arrivals.
Make your way to the attractive seaside town of Hythe, Kent. Check-in at the Hythe Imperial Hotel and meet your tour director, Dr Christopher Cole, for a welcome talk and included 3-course evening meal.
Day 2: Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and Richborough Roman Fort.
RAF Manston was an important airfield in both the First and Second World Wars, and is now home to the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum where we see these iconic fighter planes and many other exhibits. In the area around Ramsgate, an important harbour in the Dunkirk evacuations, we find the likely landing sites for both the Roman and Anglo-Saxon invasions of England. We visit Richborough, where the Claudian invasion is thought to have landed and which also boasts one of England’s rare Saxon Shore Forts.
Day 3: Dover Castle & Wartime Tunnels.
As the ‘key to England’ Dover has been fortified since Iron Age times. Its medieval castle is one of the largest in the country and has a labyrinth of wartime tunnels below, cut into the famous White Cliffs of Dover. It was from here that Vice Admiral Ramsay planned the Dunkirk evacuations. Our full day visit gives you time to thoroughly explore this most distinguished frontline fortress with its excellent exhibitions and panoramic views of the Dover Strait.
Day 4: Battle of Britain Museum, National Memorial and Cemetery.
Pay your respects to the heroes of the Battle of Britain at both the National Cemetery and the National Memorial to the Few, a peaceful spot atop the White Cliffs. We include the Scramble Experience which gives you a feel for what it was like for the airmen of the battle. Stop for lunch at the historic Jackdaw Inn which was a filming location for the star-studded 1969 film ‘Battle of Britain’. At nearby Hawkinge we see the world’s largest collection of Battle of Britain memorabilia and full-sized aircraft.
Day 5: Folkestone and Hythe.
Folkestone’s Memorial Arch and Road of Remembrance honour the millions of First World War troops who embarked from here for the Western Front. At Shorncliffe Camp we discover a major component of England’s frontline for over 200 years, and at Hythe we learn about the military history of this Cinque Port town since medieval times, including a stroll along the Royal Military Canal, constructed to stop Napoleon.
Day 6: Lympne, Stutfall Roman Fort and Romney Marsh’s ALGs.
At Stutfall we see a rare example of a shore fort, built to defend Roman Britain from Saxon invasions. RAF Lympne featured in both World Wars and was involved in a daring plot to kidnap Adolf Hitler. Continuing onto Romney Marsh we visit two small airstrips, known as Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs), which were built to provide air cover for the D-Day landings. At Newchurch we also see a Hurricane fighter pilot’s grave, and at Brenzett we visit its unique aeronautical museum.
Day 7: Lydd, Dungeness and Dymchurch.
Romney Marsh’s accessible beaches and flat hinterland have put it on the front line whenever invasion has threatened. We explore its fascinating military heritage, from Napoleonic Martello Towers to anti-doodlebug batteries, Operation PLUTO, sound mirrors and a range of beach defences designed to oppose Hitler’s planned invasion, Operation Sealion. We even learn about German spies, an unfortunate Luftwaffe pilot, and the mystery surrounding a Romanov Princess.
Day 8: Departure.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before checking-out and making your way home.
By car Hythe is 10 minutes from junction 11 of the M20, about an hour’s drive from the M25 on the southeastern edge of London. By train, there is a frequent, high-speed service between London St. Pancras and Folkestone Central Railway Station, which is just 4 miles from Hythe.
Use the + and – buttons on the map below to zoom in and out.
The 4-star Hythe Imperial has stood at the heart of the beautiful seaside town of Hythe for hundreds of years. Replete with Victorian splendour, the hotel is a majestic landmark set in 44 acres of land very close to the town centre and right on the coast, a stone’s throw from the beach. It has undergone constant development and improvement over the years, the most recent of which was completed in 2019 and has placed it at the top of the AA 4-star band rating.
The hotel offers guests the chance to bask in the coastal air and panoramic sea views while enjoying friendly and attentive service. There are 92 bedrooms with no two being the same but all with en-suite bathroom, tea and coffee facilities and satellite TV. The leisure facilities include a variety of dining options and bars, an indoor, sauna, steam room, squash courts and a 9-hole . The hotel’s centre piece is a magnificent 11 metre high chandelier, made up of 25,000 individual crystals and believed to be the tallest chandelier in Europe!
Hythe Imperial Hotel, Princes Parade, Hythe, Kent, CT21 6AE.