Hythe is a small coastal market town on the edge of Romney Marsh, in the district of Folkestone and Hythe on the south coast of Kent. The word Hythe or Hithe is an Old English word meaning haven or landing place.
The town has medieval and Georgian buildings, as well as a Saxon/Norman church on the hill and a Victorian seafront promenade. Hythe was once defended by two castles, Saltwood and Lympne. The town hall, a former guildhall, was built in 1794, its fireplace designed by the Adam Brothers.
Hythe's market once took place in Market Square (now Red Lion Square) close to where there is now a farmers' market every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Hythe has gardening, horse riding, bowling, tennis, cricket, football, squash and sailing clubs. Lord Deedes was patron of Hythe Civic Society, and the hounds of the East Kent Hunt are kennelled in nearby Elham.
As an important Cinque Port Hythe once possessed a bustling harbour which, over the past three hundred years, has now disappeared due to silting. Hythe was the central Cinque Port, sitting between Hastings and New Romney to the west and Dover and Sandwich to the east.
Hythe has no coat of arms; but the corporation seal represents an antique vessel, with one mast, two men in it, one blowing a horn; and two men lying on the yardarm.
Hythe is also the birthplace of Mackeson Stout, a type of beer. Hythe Ranges is a military training ground that takes up a large section of the Hythe shoreline. Access to this section of the shore is restricted when red flags are showing.