Welcome to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway entry in the Trains For Kids Days Out Guide. Below you will find everything you need to know about this railway attraction. This includes what to expect during a visit, what facilities there are to make the day with the family run smoothly and what special activities and shopping can be found there.
About Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway may run steam and diesel locomotives that are a third of the size of normal but it is far from a small-scale operation. For a start, the railway runs for an impressive 13.5 miles along the coast in England’s southeastern corner. A round trip takes around two-and-a-half hours. There are seven stations on the line, with Dungeness the most southerly and Hythe at the other end. Four or five trains may be running at anyone time to keep the busy timetable. Furthermore, the sheer range of cafés, shops, attractions and exhibitions make it one of the best narrow gauge railways in the UK.
In truth, you could happily spend the day doing just half of the railway itself. Travelling between Hythe and New Romney would be best if doing that. Parking is free and easiest at Dungeness, though starting at New Romney or Hythe is better if you’ve not got the full day.
What you will see
The sheer variety of scenery makes Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway stand out, especially for a light railway. Cue a sigh of relief from parents with children that need regular points of interest. Setting out from Hythe, for example, you will run alongside the Royal Military Canal for some boat and duck spotting. Elsewhere, the line passes variously through shingle beachhead, farmers’ fields for grazing, wild meadow and other nature reserves, between back gardens of houses (the odd one with a model railway in it) and much else besides. The journey takes you across many level crossings – tots can listen for the whistle each time – and two main bridges that plunge you into darkness.
Hythe Station is the northern terminus for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The trains enter a large, covered platform area. The kids will enjoy watching recently-arrived engines reverse and then turnaround on the turntable here. If it’s not too busy, the top of the steps by the shop is a good place to take a photograph of all the platforms and engines. The shop is really well stocked with both Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway branded gifts and all the toys children would want. It also has a small cafe inside but one of the railway’s cafe’s is also just outside the doors.
The three stations, Dymchurch, Romney Warren and St Mary’s Bay, are smaller stops on the railway. Each offers interesting glimpses of the life of a seaside railway but probably wouldn’t feature much during a day out. Dymchurch has a small shop and a family amusement park is walkable from the platform.
New Romney station is the heart of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The first thing that strikes you is the hubbub on the platforms and carriage sheds with other engines being prepared or maneuvered into position. A little farther away there are engine sheds, workshops, refuelling places, signal box and so on. The Heywood Buffet located here, with the Model Railway Exhibition just up the stairs. There are picnic tables and other places to sit and watch the trains go by, including a children’s playground to the east end of the station.
Romney Sands station is mostly used by people at the holiday park, or by those wanting to walk to the sandy beach. The station simply has a booking office and passing loop.
The station at Dungeness is in a desolate spot, standing on the shingle beachhead. This is one of the largest expanses of shingle in the world and is also classified as the UK’s only desert. A road, various houses and a power station (!) at least have been added since the railway was extended to this point. The Old Lighthouse stands tall near the station and can be climbed up. Aside from that, the Light Railway Cafe (apparently particularly good for fish and chips) and the small station shop are the main ways to pass the time waiting for a train. A particularly nice feature of this part of the railway is that the track loops around in a very large circle so the locomotive does not have to be turned around. With the land so flat, you can watch the train coming around from a long way off.
A video to get the kids excited
Special train events for kids
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway has the Bug Club, which is aimed at children under 11 years. This is named after Basil The Bug, a shunting engine that the railways uses regularly on Family Fun Days. Costing £7 per year, it gives free travel on these days, as well as various competitions, a newsletter, a birthday card and other offers. Other events are suitable for kids.
Don’t miss the Kids Eat Free vouchers during school holidays.
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway appears very well set up for birthday parties. A party involves a trip to one end of the line and back from New Romney, space and food in the Heywood Buffet and various other goodies. The railway also can provide themed partywear at an additional cost.
The main stations all have good eating options whether that is main meals or snacks. There are also toilets with changing facilities. Moreover, there are plenty of additional options not affiliated with the railway a stroll away. Each also has a decent shop, meaning you would do well getting away without buying some sort of souvenir for the day.
Pushchairs can be taken on the trains, either within the guards van or if quiet within the carriages (these seat 20 in a 6, 4, 4, 6 pattern so grab an end one for more space). Similarly bikes can be taken by the train for a small charge.
When to go
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway is typically open every weekend through the year in some capacity. However, the main season runs from end of March through to the end of October. A Santa Special is run during December. Make sure you check the timetable before you go however.
|Romney Rover (All Stations)||Hythe – New Romney (return)|
|Family (2 + 3, or 1 + 4)||£45.00|
Getting to Spa Valley Railway
Dungeness (TN29 9NA), New Romney (TN28 8PL) and Hythe (CT21 6LD) all have car parking at or nearby the station.
Key links and contacts
Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway,
New Romney Station,
Kent TN28 8PL
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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