Camber Sands – Your ultimate guide
This glittering stretch of the East Sussex coast with its endless golden dunes of Camber Sands is a magnet for beach bums, families, dog walkers, windsurfers and kite dudes. Here is my 10 top reason why should visit us this summer.
1. Camber Sands Beach itself
The stunning beach of Camber Sands has to be at the top of the list. This beautiful sandy beach stretches for miles and is a haven not just for families, but also for a variety of water sports, kite surfers, horse riders, dog owners, photographers, artists, birdwatchers, walkers and so much more. At low tide, the sea retreats for up to half a mile leaving behind it shallow pools of water that are much loved by families with small children. With the mild climate in the south-east, Camber Sands is popular in every season.
2. Sand Dunes
The sand dunes are the most iconic feature of Camber Sands. They are the only sand dune formation in East Sussex and although a favourite with children playing in the dunes, they are also an important wildlife habitat for a variety of locally and internationally important animals and plants. Part of the dunes lies within a Site of Special Scientific Interest [SSSI] and the remainder is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance [SNCI] The dunes are bound together in places by the deep-rooted marram grass and the size of the dunes increases every year. Their majestic size looms over Camber village and forms a natural flood protection to the village.
3. Easy to reach location
The south east of England enjoys a milder, drier climate than much of the rest of the UK which makes it a popular destination for this alone. However, Camber Sands is close to the Port of Dover and also just 30 minutes drive from Ashford International Station, making it a great place to visit for European visitors. Camber Sands is just 90 minutes drive from London making it a well known day trip destination but also a great weekend retreat too. Weekend breaks are highly sought after throughout the year by Londoners and are fondly known locally as ‘DFL’s’ – down from London!
4. Variety of places to stay
Accommodation in Camber Sands has something for every budget, for the lower end of the budget there is Pontins, and further east there is a caravan park with static caravans for rent. For those with a higher budget, there is a selection of really high-quality accommodation, including The Gallivant hotel or a fantastic selection of self-catering properties including the lovely 2 bed-roomed Marsh View Cottage or 3 bed-roomed The Salty Dog nestled between the beach and Romney Marsh – just a short stroll from the beach. Both properties offer excellent high quality and comfortable accommodation, are dog-friendly and both are located on the prestigious and sought after White Sand development.
It is not just Camber Sands that attracts visitors to the area. The beautiful, medieval town of Rye is just 3 miles from Camber and is a wonderful place to visit. Rye used to be surrounded by water on three sides, but the sea began to retreat and Rye is now some 2 miles from the sea. The harbour still remains and is accessed via the river entrance at Camber Sands where Rye’s fishing fleet still bring their fresh fish into the harbour. A trip to Rye would not be complete without a walk around its cobbled streets and take in the ancient buildings. The most iconic street in Rye is perhaps Mermaid Street with the standing at the top of it, just as it has for centuries. The origins are many hundreds of years old, but in the 14th century, much of Rye was lost when the town was set on fire by French invaders. Gradually the town was rebuilt and The Mermaid Inn as it stands now was rebuilt in 1420 with its older origins still evident in the cellar of the inn.
Rye has many good restaurants, quaint tea rooms and cosy inns and the visitor is spoilt for choice of where to eat. Unusually, Rye’s High Street is not a smaller replica of most other High Streets, full of identical shops, it prides itself on a large number of independent retailers with a large variety of different goods on sale. The side streets and cobbled streets are also home to independent traders which make shopping in Rye a unique experience.
6. Endless food options
As mentioned briefly above, the choice of places to eat in and around Camber Sands makes it a real culinary delight. In Camber itself there is the local pub/restaurant The Green Owl which serves good food at affordable prices. Further up the road is The Gallivant, a little pricier but well worth a visit. These are just two of a number of places to eat in Camber. In Rye itself, the choice is amazing, from Careys on The Strand which is a seafood and steak restaurant serving succulent fresh fish straight from the Rye fishing fleet, to the full range of cuisines including Indian, Italian, Chinese. The selection of high-quality restaurants in a small town is exceptionally good, and not forgetting the various inns that serve great food too. So whether you want a full evening meal, a cream tea, morning coffee or a light lunch, the only problem you will encounter is deciding exactly where to eat.
7. Plenty of activities
A stay in Camber Sands has something for everyone. If you are interested in an active holiday you have the local water sports centre where windsurfing and other water sports can be carried out. Kitesurfing on the beach is a very popular activity and lessons and courses are available to the east of Camber at Cambers kite surfing school. There are also local golf courses, boat charters, cycle paths and some great walks to fill your days during your stay.
8. Other outdoors options
If you are not looking for an action-packed break, but still like the outdoors, Camber Sands is a bird watchers paradise. Adjacent to the beach is Rye Harbour Nature Reserve which is also popular with walkers. The whole area is a photographers and artists delight too. Apart from the natural beauty of the area, there are some stunning sunrises and sunsets to admire and capture on camera or canvas. Dungeness Nature Reserve is just 8 miles east of Camber Sands too. Much of the area, including the marshes, are protected and are habitats for rare species including the Great Crested Newt and water voles to name just two of the species which inhabit the marshes.
9. Something for history fans
If history is your thing, then there is no finer place to stay than this most historic part of our country. With the ancient town of Rye on the doorstep you will be filled with tales of smuggling and other fascinating historical facts about Rye. Being in 1066 country itself there is no shortage of historical places to visit, including Hastings Castle and nearby Battle Abbey in Battle, just a few miles from Camber Sands. It was on the fields adjacent to the abbey where the famous Battle of Hastings took place, not in Hastings itself. There are numerous other castles in the surrounding area to visit as well as quaint old-world villages.
10. Places to visit nearby
With so very many places to visit from Camber Sands, it would be hard to list them all here, but Hastings is a popular seaside town a few miles west of Camber. A walk around the old town is a must, as is a visit to Hastings Castle and the old smugglers caves and tales of smuggling. A visit to Dungeness offers a unique experience, the landscape, the beach scattered with abandoned boats and huts, and the community that has grown here as well as its two lighthouses is an amazing and unusual experience in itself. Combine the visit with a trip on the small gauge railway and a trip to the Dungeness Nature Reserve for a really interesting day out, and only around eight miles from Camber Sands. Further afield but well worth a day trip, you can visit Canterbury, Eastbourne and Beachy Head, Whitstable, and numerous castles in this most historic part of the UK. Camber Sands is located just a few miles from the borders with Kent – The Garden of England, which makes it an ideal base for exploring both counties and even further afield. These are just a handful of examples of the numerous places to be visited, but there are so many more.
Camber Sands is extremely popular for both weekend breaks and longer stays, and with just a taster of things to do mentioned here, you will be assured of a great time, good choice of high-quality accommodation and fantastic choice of restaurants and independent shops as well as the best of both worlds – a wonderful mix of both seaside and countryside. It just doesn’t get better than that.