Camber Sands is one of the best white sandy beaches on the South Coast, stretching for 2 ½ miles. In all Camber has 7 miles of Blue Flag award winning beach. It is perfect for building sandcastles and flying kites with all the family. The more adventurous can try some water sports. The beach offers the ideal place for taking a relaxing walk. Galloping horses are not an unusual sight in the winter months. During the summer, the horses have to have their exercise before 7am. The beach has dog-free zones in the summer months too. Endless hours of fun can be had by children simply playing in the sand dunes. The panoramic view from the top of the dunes is hard to beat and will hopefully give you a revitalizing sense of space.
Windsurfing and kite surfing are amongst the water sports available at and around Camber. Rye Water Sports offer lessons in windsurfing and sailing for kids and adults in their lake so you can perfect your technique before heading for the open water. With constant wind blowing straight off the sea, or from the vast expanse of Romney Marsh, this premier water sports centre is blasted with wind even in summer. Action Water Sports, 10 minutes towards Dungeness, is the best in the area for waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing and is renowned for barefoot waterskiing, for complete beginners to the more experienced.
www.ryewatersports.co.uk and www.actionwatersports.co.uk
Cycling is popular due to the flat surroundings. There are several cycling routes in the surrounding area, offering great opportunities to take in the scenery and local wildlife. The flat coastal plains of Rye Bay offer a more relaxing ride, but for more adventurous cyclists, the rolling hills of the High Weald are worth exploring. Mixtures of on- and off-road routes are marked out for cyclists to enjoy. If you don’t bring your own bike, they can be hired from Rye Hire or New Romney Cycles.
Wildlife: Camber Sands is the only sand dune system in East Sussex, therefore a variety of wildlife inhabits the area. Camber is also surrounded by stretches of unspoilt marshes and lakes. Many species of bird are attracted to the area, and Rye Harbour nature reserve offers footpaths leading to bird watching hides. There are also different types of vegetation at Camber Sands, like sea spurge, a pale green, fleshy leafed plant with tiny yellow flowers. The weaver fish can also be seen at the beach, burying into the sand as the tide goes out. Though sightings are rare, some advise footwear in the water.
Rye is an ancient town overlooking the River Rother and Romney Marsh, with beautifully preserved cobbled streets, medieval church, historic houses, quaint tearooms, book, antique shops and art galleries. It also boasts a number of pubs and restaurants. You can take an audio walking tour of the town and find out about Rye’s fascinating history of merchants, smugglers, sailors and pirates. It is compact enough to hold your interest for a weekend but also contains many secret treasures to entice you to return. The National Trust runs Lamb House on West Street, which was home to writer Henry James, then later to author E.F. Benson. The house is open between March and October.
Noteworthy events include Rye Festival in September and Rye Bonfire Night in November.
Dungeness: Experience the strange and eerie beauty that is Dungeness, or Britain’s ’hidden quarter’, just 10 minutes drive from Camber. This private estate is made up of the largest area of shingle on Earth and is the only classified desert in the U.K. The artist and film-maker Derek Jarmen made Prospect Cottage, here, his home and it is a worthy testament to his creativity and determination. His home and the others around it stand stranded in this stark landscape, now dominated and threatened by the vast nuclear reactor behind them.
The sense of isolation and other-worldliness present at Dungeness has inspired many artists and photographers.
The Old Lighthouse is an Historic Grade 11 building opened with great ceremony by His Royal Majesty the Prince of Wales in 1904 after a 3 year build, it survived two world wars before decommission in 1960. Climb the tower for panoramic aspects over the English Channel and the surrounding countryside. Binoculars are well worth bringing.
A trip to Dungeness is not quite complete without a visit to the Pilot Inn for a crusty wave of batter on your fish, and chips.
Romney Marsh is home to a chain of flat, peaceful country lanes for cyclists and walkers to enjoy. The landscape is dotted with church towers, some of which are open to the public, others need you to get a key to let yourself in. You can also visit the RSPB Reserve, Dungeness, with its array of bird life, marsh frogs, newts, dragonflies, and medicinal leeches which have been attracted by the 450 species of plants.
Click here for more information www.bbc.co.uk/kent/places/features/romney_marsh.shtml
Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway: The RHDR railway station is situated in Dungeness. First opened to traffic in July 1927 as the 'World's Smallest Public Railway' and now covering a distance of 13.5 miles to the picturesque Cinque Port of Hythe, near the channel tunnel. At New Romney Station there is a Model Railway Exhibition the whole family can enjoy. The railway is an excellent way to see Romney Marsh, and you can stop off at the picturesque seaside towns and villages along the route.
Vineyards: Within about a half hours drive away are Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard and Tenterden Vineyard. At Sedlescombe you can wander through the vineyard, learn about the winery and how wine is made, and of course quench your thirst with their wines. Tenterden Vineyard offers guided tours of the vineyard and winery. You can have a relaxing meal at the Grapevine Bistro, whilst the kids enjoy the Play Area.
www.englishorganicwine.co.uk, www.englishwinesgroup.com/vineyards/tenterden.asp, www.carr-taylor.co.uk
Lydd Airport: For something a little different, you could try a unique Fly ‘N’ Dine experience at nearby Lydd Airport. You are taken on a 20 minute pleasure flight, where you can take in the views of Camber Sands, Romney Marsh and Rye. Once you’ve touched down you enjoy a three-course carvery.
Camber Castle was one in a series of forts along the south coast built by Henry VIII. It was constructed from Wealden and Sussex sandstone and completed in 1544, at a cost of £16,000. A number of walking paths lead to the castle, from the historic town of Rye it is a level 4.5 mile round walk across nature reserves and beautiful countryside. The outside of the castle can be appreciated any day. The castle is open to the public to go inside on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in July, August and September, and bank holiday weekend afternoons from March to September for £2 per adult.
Bodiam Castle is one of Britain’s most famous moated castles. It was built in 1385 to be used as a defence and home. The exterior is virtually complete and the ramparts rise dramatically above the moat. Enough of the interior survives to give an impression of castle life. Today the public can explore the castle’s spiral staircases and battlements. Amazing views of the Rother Valley can be seen from the top of the castle’s towers, while experiencing a taste of castle life. The original wooden portcullis remains in the castle’s gatehouse, which is extremely rare.