Local Activities

Front elevation of Whitebeam Cottage, Camber Sands

Things to do during your stay at Whitebeam Cottage

Panorama of central Rye, taken from the Church tower

Towns and villages

There are many exciting local towns and villages to explore in the surrounding area. The beautifully-preserved medieval town of Ryeis only three miles from the cottage. Once surrounded by the sea on three sides, the town has weathered multiple invasion attempts by the French and the town's oldest surviving pub, the Mermaid Inn, dates back to 1156AD. Wander through the maze of lanes, taking time to browse around the many and varied shops selling everything from old fashioned sweets weighed out of jars to hand-blown glass. Climb the tower in the Norman Church of St Mary's and enjoy fabulous views across Romney Marsh, stop for a cream tea, buy some fish straight off the boat, or relax in one of the numerous traditional pubs.
Sussex has a great tradition of Bonfire Societies which celebrate the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot with a bonfire, procession and fireworks. The Rye Bonfire Society hold their event in early November.

Behind Camber is the flat plain of Romney Marsh, full of interesting and remote churches, ranging from the large (Lydd) to the miniature (Fairfield).

To the east is the “seventh continent”, Dungeness, with its eerie shingle, fishermen’s huts and the lighthouses and nuclear power station. From there take the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway to New Romney, and enjoy a day on and around this delightful miniature railway; at New Romney there is a huge model railway layout which children and adults alike will love.

Appledore is a pretty village on the edge of the Marsh, with a good tea room and antique shops. The church has a wonderful flower festival.

Just 12 miles along the coast is Hastings, with its artists’ community, delightful old town, fisherman's' huts, funicular railway, Smugglers Adventure and seaside pier. For the odd rainy day there is Clambers Indoor Play Centre and The Blue Reef Aquarium.

For a more educational trip, visit the site of The Battle of Hastings in the aptly named Battle, a delightful market town with the English Heritage site of Battle Abbey where King Harold fell and English history changed forever.

The ancient town of Winchelsea set high above the surrounding marshes is well worth a visit. Once a thriving port, it's now a picturesque village dominated by the central parish church and traditional village shops. The tour of the town's ancient wine cellars is worth considering - see the local newspaper for dates and times.

For a little more excitement and a lively atmosphere try the favourite seaside town of Eastbourne, with traditional Victorian architecture and pier complete with funfair and candy floss stalls! William the Conqueror’s Pevensey Castle is located along the coast on the outskirts of the town.

Further along the coast towards West Sussex you will find Brighton, another favourite seaside destination with a very cosmopolitan feel. The famous “Lanes” with their antique and quirky shops is a lovely place to meander before enjoying a refreshment stop in one of the many excellent bistros and restaurants.

A short drive inland from Brighton is Sussex’s County Town of Lewes which is currently enjoying a revival with new restaurants and interesting shopping. The world renowned Glyndebourne Festival Opera running from May to August is held at the opera house just 4 miles outside Lewes.

A visit to Kent would not be complete without appreciating some of the ancient Cathedral cities such as Canterbury or the Dickensian Rochester. The North Kent coast is also famous for its fishing ports such as Whitstable. Enjoy a day here sampling the famous Whitstable oysters.

The Kent countryside has a wealth of small towns and villages such as Tenterden with its fascinating architecture, and excellent shopping, along with the steam engines of the preserved Kent & East Sussex Railway. Nearby Cranbrook is a pretty town with a medieval layout of streets and alleys with many buildings dating back to the 15th century and overlooked by the imposing Union Windmill.

Beaches

There are few beaches to rival Camber Sands, one of the only sandy beaches in the South East, with fabulous undulating dunes - perfect for hide and seek! When the tide goes out, it goes out a long way unveiling a myriad of paddling pools. The damp sand makes perfect temporary cricket pitches as the beach more than doubles in size.

Further along the coast there are many more interesting beaches, mostly shingle but all perfect for long walks and beach-combing at any time of year. Try Winchelsea or Pevensey Bay as well as the main resorts of Eastbourne and Hastings.

The outdoors

On the western shores of the River Rother lies Rye Nature Reserve - just perfect for a walk or cycle along its flat paths towards Winchelsea. Discover Camber Castle, one of Henry VIII's coastal forts, on your way and look out for any number of bugs, beetles, reptiles and birds.

Beachy Head with its dramatic white cliffs and undulating South Downs is located in a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Across the border into Kent the White Cliffs of Dover are one of Britain’s iconic landmarks, having been featured in countless movies. Enjoy a bracing walk and then maybe lunch or tea in the vibrant seaside town of Dover.

Lots of environmental activities are on offer for all the family at Hastings Country Park, Pett Level, Camber, Dungeness RSPB and the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre.

Late spring sees the start of the 'Open Garden' season, with lots of private gardens generously open to the public throughout the spring and summer months. Great Dixter, the home of the late Christopher Lloyd in the village of Northiam is open until the end of October and keen gardeners could do no better than attend a course there with Head Gardener Fergus Garrett.

There is a wealth of amazing places to visit in this part of the country and we are recommending the places we have visited and enjoyed with our families and friends. If you come across a hidden gem, please let us know in our visitors' book!

— Andrew and Liz Bamji

Mermaid Street, Rye
Mermaid Street, Rye
The Landgate, Rye
The Landgate, Rye
Fairfield Church
Fairfield Church
Romney, Hythe and Dimchurch Railway
Romney, Hythe and Dimchurch Railway at Dungeness
Prospect Cottage, Dungeness
Prospect Cottage, Dungeness
A Redshank at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Redshank in Rye Harbour
The gardens at Great Dixter
The gardens at Great Dixter