Visitors to the beautiful East Sussex town of Camber won’t be stuck for things to do, whether they’re staying for a week, or just for the afternoon. Widely celebrated as the best beach in the south of England, and one of the finest in the UK, Camber Sands has been widely featured in films and the media, from the Carry On franchise (where the dunes doubled as the Sahara Desert) to The Monuments Men (starring George Clooney and Matt Damon), as well as having a pivotal role in period drama The Invisible Woman as well as in the Oscar-winning movie The Theory of Everything.
Visitors can escape the hubhub of bohemian Brighton further up the south coast for a relaxing stroll on the beach, which makes for fantastic walks and photographs. With two holiday camps nearby, it’s possible to stay in the local area and take part in traditional English seaside activities, but daytrippers will be equally rewarded by the natural sights: the western end of the dunes are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the rest of the beach is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance. Unlike Brighton’s famously pebbly beach, Camber Sands is pure golden sand from the shoreline to the dunes, making it a fabulous spot for small children, sunbathers, and picnickers alike. Dogs are also allowed on the beach, although owners must pick up after them, and restrictions apply to the central section of the beach in high summer.
Walks to Camber Castle from Rye Harbour can be incredibly rewarding.
Visitors to the beach are well catered for, with good food available at the beach huts, local cafes, and the village pubs, and when the tide goes out, it goes right out, exposing an extra half-mile of beach all along its length, with hundreds of pretty shells and tide-smoothed pebbles to gather. Nearby, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve and Dungeness RSPB offer great days out for those interested in bird-watching, the natural world, and other more outdoorsy pursuits. Equally, Camber Castle in nearby Rye makes for an atmospheric location: it’s not open to the public, but walks to it from Rye Harbour can be incredibly rewarding, thanks to the local wildlife as well as the site’s history. Built by Henry VIII to defend the south coast of England from the French, shifting sands quickly made the castle inaccessible by sea, leading to its abandonment in 1637. The picturesque ruins were painted by Turner in the nineteenth century, before it was restored by English Heritage in the twentieth.
For the more adventurous of visitors, Camber Sands offers plenty in the way of watersports: with kite buggies, kite surfing, boat trips, and sailing all available locally, your day or days at the beach needn’t be lazy ones. When you have had your fill of the sun, sand, and surf, nearby towns and villages make for ideal days out from your Camber Sands base. Historic Rye, Hastings, Bexhill, St Leonards, Winchelsea and even Beachy Head, Eastbourne and Brighton aren’t far away, with their historic monuments, stunning cliff top walks, and exciting nightlife.