Several weeks ago my husband and I decided to book a few family days away. Having recently had our second child, we opted to stay in the UK and not travel far from home. While we both love visiting other countries and experiencing new cultures, we are also big fans of holidays in the UK. We really love Camber Sands and Rye and have spent many days there so opted to go for a few nights. At around an hour's drive away (through some stunning countryside) we were pleased to not have to experience a long, painful car journey with a 2 year old, and a 3.5 month old baby!
Where we stayed
Some of you may know Carol Brazel who helps to run the Farmers' Market in Hildenborough and you may or may not know that she runs Let's Unwind a self catering holiday cottage company, with properties in Camber and Brighton. We stayed at Rock Lobster, a lovely 2 bedroom cottage on the Whitesands development, moments from the beautiful beach at Camber Sands. We were so impressed with Let's Unwind and cannot recommend them highly enough. The website is well presented and very easy to navigate around, Carol sends through comprehensive email information leading up to the trip, she is on-hand throughout your stay (should you need to ask her anything) and she has thought of everything to make your stay a happy and relaxing one. The cleaning company that Let's Unwind employs are friendly and helpful and the house is immaculately presented. When we arrived it was great to be able to park right outside the property (the house has 2 designated parking spaces) which is really helpful when unloading babies, toddlers and the mountains of paraphernalia that they command. There were freshly made scones with homemade jam (delicious!) to welcome us as well as milk in the fridge and tea and coffee. If you are travelling with small children then everything has been considered - cot, monitors, bed guards, high chair, bouncer, stair gates etc - which makes life so much easier! Another lovely touch is Daisy Dog, who lives at Rock Lobster and greets your child with a personalised letter. The kitchen is fully functional which makes meal preparation very easy and there is a farm shop a short drive away as well as convenience stores in Camber. The house was only a short walk from beautiful Camber Sands and really convenient for Rye, Dungeness and the surrounding areas.
What we did
As we all know, one can never rely on the weather, and true to form the weather let us down. However, I have lived in the UK all my life which has taught me to hope for the best and expect the worst when it comes to the weather! As long as you are prepared for the great British summer then you won't go far wrong, plus lying around on hot beaches is not something that I envisage doing any time soon with two very young children.
We had decided that we would spend time at Rye, Dungeness and on the beach (regardless of whether it was sunny or not.) We have visited the beautifully historic town of Rye on many occasions and love wandering around the streets and visiting the lovely shops, cafes and restaurants. Our favourite places to visit are Edith's House for tea and cake, The Ship Inn Rye is great for food and is fab with small children and the staff are always friendly and welcoming and we love the independent shops and are huge fans of The Purdie Gallery where you can purchase beautiful photographic prints. If you like antique shopping, then there are lots of lovely places to explore and we tend to go home with an old mirror or chair after a trip to Rye! Although navigating the cobbles is undeniably trickier with a buggy, it is still lovely taking a slow meander throughout the very pretty town.
Dungeness may not be to everyone's taste, but we love it's magical, unique charm and are always keen to spend time there. After wandering around and visiting the lighthouse, we took a trip on the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. It is known as "Kent's Mainline in Miniature" and has been running for over 80 years. It may have been a grey, wet and uninspiring day, but it was lovely to take a ride along the coast on the beautiful miniature steam train. Our little boy loved it and it definitely reminded me of trips that I had done as a child and I thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgia of the whole experience. We stopped at New Romney where there is a cafe, playground and visitor centre. It felt very much like going back in time several decades and I heartily recommend it, if only for a reminder of how simpler pursuits can still be fun for everyone.
We are fans of the beach (whatever the time of year) and spent time on Camber, which is one of the loveliest beaches in the UK. Although we weren't swimming or sunbathing, it was lovely to walk along the beach barefoot and build sandcastles with our toddler. Really nice simple fun.
Our trip ended with a leisurely brunch at The Ship Inn Rye before heading back home.
We spent three nights at Camber and had a quiet and enjoyable time together as a family. We feel really fortunate that we have so many great places within a relatively short drive, and although we weren't away for long, we were able to relax and switch off which is great when life often feels very hectic. If you and your family need a few days away to recharge the batteries but don't want to travel far then we can really recommend staying at Rock Lobster and spending a few days exploring Camber and Rye.