Sandwich takes its name from the Anglo Saxon ‘Sandwic,’ meaning ‘market town on sandy soil’ and was likely named due to its proximity to the now disappeared Wantsum Channel. This body of water is what caused Sandwich to become the second most prominent port town after London during the Middle Ages, however its history dates back much further. In AD 43 the Roman Emperor Claudius ordered his men to land at Richborough. When they eventually withdrew years later, materials from Richborough were used to build the emerging town of Sandwich, now around two miles away from the Roman Fort.

In its prime, the town was known as Sandwich Haven and approximately 600 ships could assemble in its port. The Wantsum Channel was used for a multitude of purposes; ships carried stone to build Canterbury Cathedral, it was used to transport goods such as wine and spices, and armies from Britain used it to make their way to other countries. This was Sandwich in its heyday, but it did not last as the channel began to silt and by the 17th century, it was unnavigable.

Due to the decline of its port, Sandwich’s history has been well preserved, so not only can visitors learn about the historic streets and buildings of this important town they can experience them too.


Museum & 16th Century Courtroom

Sandwich Guildhall Museum, positioned in the heart of the town, tells the rich and varied story of Sandwich through the ages, from its early beginnings to the present day.

The museum houses treasures including the 1300 Sandwich Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest, as well as other artefacts dating back to the Mesolithic period. Visitors can also experience the 16th century courtroom and learn about what life would have been like in the town over 400 years ago.

Sandwich Local History Society

Sandwich Local History Society offer guided tours of the town and hold talks and lectures within the historic Guildhall.

Sandwich Guildhall Museum

Sandwich Medieval Centre

A living history visitor centre located on the Quay in Sandwich, the Medieval Centre gives the opportunity to see demonstrations of medieval crafts and skills including blacksmithing, baking, boatbuilding, calligraphy, and wheat weaving.

White Mill Rural Heritage Centre

White Mill is a smock mill built in 1760 and restored around 1960. The Heritage Centre also has several other buildings. The cottage, dating from 1830, is home to the museum with exhibits of tools and equipment, as well as a wheelwright’s workshop and blacksmith’s workshop.



St Clement’s Church was expanded and rebuilt throughout the 12th to 14th centuries and has what is said to be one of the finest Norman towers in the country, with carved designs of figures and foliage. St Clement’s Church became the parish church for the town in 1948 after the union of the three parishes.

St Peter’s Church has had an eventful past. It was likely destroyed when the French attacked the town in 1216, but as Sandwich began to thrive, it was rebuilt. In 1564 after the Huguenots, known as ‘Strangers’, settled in the town, there was a severe plague and to reduce the spread of infection, St Peter’s became their church. Several years later, after the tower collapsed, the Huguenot community rebuilt it. A cupola, or dome shape, can be seen today at the top of the tower, and serves as a reminder of the Dutch influence within the town. The church is now used as a community hub, as well as a space to sell second hand items and crafts. You can also climb to the top of the tower for magnificent roof top views of Sandwich.

St Mary’s Church stands on the site of a convent. After the Norman conquest, the church was developed, until, in 1217 it was damaged by unrest between the English and the French, and again in 1578 by an earthquake. Today the church is known as St Mary’s Arts Centre, and hosts weddings, exhibitions, concerts, and other events.



The current Sandwich United Reformed Church building dates to 1706. It is among the earliest of the Independent Chapels, or Meeting Houses, which were formed by those who felt they could not comply with the Act of Uniformity. The wooden pillars on the building are masts from a Huguenot ship, which were given as a token of gratitude for how they were welcomed into the town. Today services are still held at the church, and it is also used as a meeting place.

Historic Buildings

As well as the Guildhall, museum, courtroom and churches, Sandwich is home to many other historic buildings, including Fishergate, the last remaining medieval town gate, the Toll Bridge and Barbican, which contains a list of tolls paid after the Sandwich Bridge Act was put in place in 1755, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, a historic hostel for pilgrims dating back to around 1190, St Thomas’ Hospital dating back to 1392, Manwood Court, the original home of Sir Roger Manwood’s School founded in 1569, as well as the town Gaol in St Peter’s Street and Holy Ghost Alley opposite.


Royal St George’s – Founded in 1887 and intended by its founder, Dr William Laidlaw Purves, to seek to emulate the ethos and traditions of St Andrews in the South of England, St George’s is consistently ranked amongst the leading courses in the World.

The Club occupies a unique place in the history of golf, for it was here in 1894, that the Open Championship was first played outside Scotland.

In all there have been 15 Open Championships played at St George’s, more than any course outside of Scotland.

Collin Morikawa was crowned ‘The Champion Golfer of the Year’ in July 2021, winning his first Open and second major championship since turning professional in 2019.

Prince’s – At the beginning of the last century, Sir Harry Mallaby – Deeley, founder and first President of Prince’s Mitcham and a regular golfing visitor to East Kent, decided to establish a new Links at Sandwich that would, in particular, welcome lady, junior and family golfers.

With his Cambridge University friend Percy Montagu Lucas, he put up most of the capital for the enterprise, the land being donated by the Earl of Guilford. Charles Hutchings, the 1902 Amateur Champion, was engaged as architect and he and Percy laid out the course in 1904. It was completed late in 1906, P M Lucas became the club’s first Secretary and A.J. Balfour (Prime minister 1902-05) drove the first ball as Club Captain in the Founder’s Vase in the following June. The new course was the first designed to counter the new Haskell ball and at just under 7000 yards was enthusiastically received by the golfing fraternity. Just five years later it hosted the 1912 English Ladies Open, won by Miss M Gardner.

1914 saw the foreshore and links become a coastal defence and training area with barbed wire entanglements and anti-aircraft batteries. P M Lucas kept the greens cut throughout the war and the billeting of members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the clubhouse no doubt contributed to sympathetic treatment of the course. It was they who gave Percy’s son his nickname of “Laddie.”

The course was quickly restored and hosted the 1922 Ladies Open, won by Joyce Wethered. The club thrived during the 30’s and 40’s. It was a regular venue for the Parliamentary Golf Society and Inter Varsity golf matches, with Henry Longhurst making his first appearance for the Cambridge side in 1928. The Prince of Wales became Club President in 1930, and two years later the club staged the Open Championship, Prince’s hosting of the Championship was rated a great success, but before it could stage the event again, the country was once more at war.

The links and club premises were soon requisitioned by the military, this time as a battle training ground and the course was all but obliterated. Its use for target practice was likened by Lord Brabazon to “throwing darts at a Rembrandt.” The

Royal Marines considered retaining the course as a permanent rifle range, but it was finally derequisitioned in 1949 and Australian property developer Sir Aynsley Bridgland came to the rescue.

In 1950 Sir Guy Campbell and John Morrison were engaged to redesign and restore the course. Despite the wartime damage it was found possible to incorporate 17 of the original greens into a new layout of 27 holes plus two practice holes. The “Shore,” “Dunes” and “Himalayas” courses, each starting and finishing beside the clubhouse have held competitions and Championships, through several combinations of course.

Other attractions

There are a wide range of other attractions in and around Sandwich including –

· The Quay where you will find coastal boat trips on the River Stour.

· Gazen Salts Nature Reserve and Monks Wall Nature Reserve, there you will see created habitats and a collection of wildfowl.

· Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory where you will find many varieties of birds, flora, and fauna.

· Sandwich Coarse Fishery, a peaceful countryside setting with far reaching views which caters for all anglers.

· Richborough Roman Fort



The popular annual events include:

· Sandwich Salutes the 40s

· Le Weekend

· Sandwich Folk and Ale Festival

· Sandwich Fifties Festival

· Sandwich Festival

· Sandwich Arts Week

· Sandwich Christmas Community Lights

· King Street Christmas Party


Sandwich Town Council:

W: sandwichtowncouncil.gov.uk
T:  01304 617197