St Leonard's Church

St Leonard's Church, Hythe

St Leonard's Church
4.5
Churches & Cathedrals
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
About
Medieval church with an extraordinary "ossuary" (the largest and best-preserved collection of ancient human skulls and bones in Britain). The ossuary (also known as The Crypt) is now closed for the winter season, re-opening at Easter 2019. The church is a wonderful example of how English parish churches have grown and changed through history, with a a variety of architectural styles and features. There are some remarkable medieval "pilgrim graffiti" in the church, too. The church is open during daylight hours every day. Sunday services normally include Parish Communion at 9:30 (with choir, organ, hymns), and Choral Evensong at 6:30 (cathedral-style with robed choir of boys and men, and sung prayers from the Book of Common Prayer). Check our website for up-to-date information and any changes to our service times
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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4.5
93 reviews
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Cherriesfan99
Cheltenham, UK280 contributions
Sep 2021
We were so very fortunate to rent a cottage in the steep hill at Church Walk overlooking this wonderful medieval church. Listening to the bell ringing out the hour whilst still in bed was enchanting. The church dominates the skyline when approaching from the coast.
It is a beautiful building, the whole interior is mature, a mix of styles that blend organically, it is also astoundingly well maintained and cleaned.
One of the rather unusual features of St Leonard's is the depiction in stained glass of a WW2 anti aircraft gun and crew. in the main east window. This was replaced after a Nazi bomber blew out part of this lovely church.
St Leonard's is a beautiful serene church in a lovely, peaceful town.
Written September 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Janet T
3 contributions
Oct 2019 • Friends
A beautiful church with a rich history and a unique ossuary. I joined a Hythe Town Tour and St Leonard's was one of the stopping points. It is in an elevated position and commands good views over the town. The church itself is atmospheric and peaceful. The acoustics are good and members of the congregation welcoming.
Written July 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jb74
London, UK2,325 contributions
Jun 2020 • Business
I had acquired an inexplicable, mild interest into Churches, and their yards over the last decade or more, when I first moved to the Netherlands. This included an interest in their histories, architecture, gravestones, and stained glass windows. Since then, I had continued to view many in England, Belgium and France.

Our beloved ‘shrink’ at Work, had even gone as far as to enquire whether I was secretly ‘a Goth’ (negative), or whether I had a ‘fatalistic subconscious desire to inhabit one of the graves’ (I had laughed immeasurably at that).

Hythe is a pleasant place. Myself and a colleague, in the area for the day, had checked out the Canal and beach front, got told we didn’t need to travel to Belgium, so decided to check out the Church.

As it had started to rain, we decided to drive from where we had originally been parked in Hythe - there is a good abundance of parking on the majority of Church Road, in close proximity to the Church itself.

Obviously the Church itself is currently closed, but that doesn’t stop you being able to walk around it, or investigate the grave stones.

There is apparently a crypt, with many skulls inside - albeit, I wasn’t in the mood to re-enact Hamlet’s scene with ‘Yorick’, so I took a rain check there.

The Church itself was very lovely - nice external stonework - very lovely clock tower, with a ‘fortified’ finish, at the very summit.

The graveyard has been impeccably maintained. Lush green grass, some wonderful plants, trees and colours.

Peaceful and very beautiful.
Written June 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mr Hu
205 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
A delightful church and well worth the visit. Wanted to visit the crypt but it's closed until May. Online it says open but that is the church. So check to see both are open before visiting.
Written January 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Arthur W
Rochester, UK636 contributions
Dec 2019
This was a very sad occasion for us as we were saying goodbye to an old friend but we were welcomed by the clergy who were genuingly very friendly.
There were really lovely stained glass windows and the organ was played beautifully to accompany the hymn singing of the congregation.
The sadness of the occassion was made a little easier to bare by the comforting words spoken by the clergy. Lovely people.
Written December 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Linda H
Nottingham, UK255 contributions
Sep 2019
I have already reviewed the Ossuary, so this is just my view of the church. St Leonard's has some wonderful dedication plaques to locals, including the Mackeson family, some fab stained glass windows, and its a peaceful place to reflect.
Looking around the well kept cemetery there are some very unusual mummy-type graves. All interesting stuff, and also the church walk, running up the side of the church from the town, was where King Henry ii men rode on their way to murder Thomas-a-Becket in Canterbury.
Written September 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SevenoaksSinjun
Sevenoaks, UK1,523 contributions
Aug 2019 • Couples
This is an attractive church set up on the hill just behind the high street in Hythe. We didn't get the opportunity to look inside when we visited, but the Ossuary was open - this is a fascinating crypt lined with literally thousands of human skulls and other bones. Worth a look. If you take a walk around to the graveyard you get great views of the coast.
Written August 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

paulgibbs6
London, UK55 contributions
Jun 2019 • Friends
Small crypt which exhibits thousands of bones, can't really say much more.
£2 entry which is reasonable.
Probably only a 15 minute visit.
Written June 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

f0nc3c4
Portadown, UK41 contributions
Apr 2019 • Family
Stopped by this church at Easter. It was open for a few hours. Best to call the church before visiting as the opening hours on trip advisor are incorrect. The church is lovely an peaceful but the real gem is the ossuary underneath with human bones. It contains the largest collection in England, my nephew was full of curiosity and enjoyed the visit. Prices to see the bones was very cheap with nearby free parking. There is a few steps so best to leave the pram in the car. The volunteer on the door is very friendly and passionate about local history.
Written April 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

kasejason
Chicago, IL362 contributions
Jul 2018 • Couples
We came to St. Leonard's Church to visit its incredible ossuary. We were greeted at the door by a church volunteer who told us all about the history of the bones. She pointed out a few specimens and told us of their unique circumstances (e.g. skulls that had been pierced with swords, skulls that have been used as bird's nests, and skulls that featured various medical disorders.) After speaking with this lovely woman for a few minutes, we were then allowed to explore the crypt at our own leisure. The ossuary is not very large and it would be possible to explore the entirety in fewer than 15 minutes. We took our time to take pictures and read the displays.

If you visit, pay attention to the opening hours and make sure you have good directions. The streets near the church are very narrow and hilly. It would be difficult to navigate them in a large vehicle. There is a small parking lot near the church and you should be able to find a spot.
Written March 30, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about St Leonard's Church

St Leonard's Church is open:
  • Sun - Sun 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM