Leaving Richmond we headed for Hythe in Kent eagerly anticipating a railway day out. Loads of fun because this is a scenic train ride like no other – “Kent’s Mainline in Miniature” means travelling thirteen miles on small scale fifteen inch tracks. The cute train has been part of the landscape of Romney Marsh for 87 years, during World War II it used to trundle up and down the coast looking for signs of invasion. The railway starts in Hythe, terminates in Dungeness and has four stations in between – best of all each station is within walking distance of a beach.
We arrived in Hythe, easily found the railway and made the Railway Cafe our first port of call. A bit like a trucker stop, but spotlessly clean with great food and an old fashioned ambiance, we loved it and the bacon sarnies and steaming mugs of tea got a massive thumbs up all round.
No problem with buying tickets for the train, but arriving half an hour before our scheduled departure time to check out the pint sized locomotive we were surprised to find all the open sided carriages already taken. A bit disappointed, we resigned ourselves to sitting in a closed carriage. Hindsight proved this to be the better option – far less crowded, we had a whole carriage to ourselves and with no health and safety rules in evidence you could open the doors while the train moved. Perfect views and plenty of fresh air we ended up opting for a closed carriage on the journey back. The carriages are to scale but we didn’t feel at all squashed.
The train trundled and rattled along the tiny track through the countryside. As we left Hythe we passed fields of wheat, corn and sheep and then lots of residential areas. Great fun to peek into the multitude of back gardens, it seemed to be washing day and most had lines of laundry flapping in the breeze.
One hour and fifteen minutes later we arrived in Dungeness, ready to explore this beautiful, windswept, shingle peninsula complete with nuclear power station.