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Christmas and New Year at Camber Sands can be a magical time of year.
Those crisp, bright mornings on the dunes are stunning, and if its peace and quiet you want – you’ve definitely got it.
But you only have to pop in to nearby Rye for a full blast of festive sprit. The medieval hilltop town is the perfect backdrop to Christmas festivities, and the townspeople really pull out all the stops for pretty much the whole of December.
There’ll be a Christmas market, special shopping days, lighting up the town Christmas tree at the George, a spectacular fireworks display, festive processions, Santa in his grotto, carol concerts and seasonal church services.
You’ll find full information at RyeChristmas.org once things are finalised.
While we can’t promise snow, the falls we got last winter, and which are pictured here, show just how wonderful Camber can be in winter – and prove that it really does have the coolest snowmen!
We are offering special seasonal breaks at Dunescape, our boutique-style eco holiday home. Dunescape is just yards from the dunes – take a look at this beer to beach test to show just how much closer we are to the beach than most Camber holiday lets. Here’s the house, second from the right:
At Christmas itself, you’ll find the house beautifully decorated, with a Christmas tree and something in a stocking from us. For New Year, we can keep the Christmas theme if you wish. For both periods, the welcome pack will celebrate some of the best seasonal produce from our corner of East Sussex and Kent.
And, while it’s cold outside, indoors Dunescape’s geo-thermal heat source will be pumping warmth from 100m beneath the sands to keep you snug.
Prices are just £160 per night for a four-night Christmas or New Year break, dropping to from £120 a night away from the immediate holiday period. The house is ideal for family groups, and sleeps up to six.
This will be a vintage year for the vineyards of East Sussex and Kent, and the harvest month of October is a perfect time to celebrate them.
We have no fewer than four world-class winemakers within a few miles of Rye and Camber Sands. All offer tours, and sell their wines at the vineyards.
Some have special harvest tours in October, where you will get an insight into the wine-making process, and sample some delicious wines.
The vineyards are: Chapel Down, Sandhurst, Sedlescombe and Carr Taylor.
Here’s an introduction to each, and what facilities they offer visitors – plus a map and suggested wine tour of our corner of East Sussex and Kent. (You’ll need to click the – symbol to see all the points on it
View Rye vineyard tour in a larger map
You can take a very pleasant country drive heading north through Rye and up to Chapel Down, then moving on anti-clockwise and taking in the other three, and ending up in Hastings
There are guided tours daily during the summer and at weekends out of season, and Chapel Down will have harvest tours on 10 and 17 October 2013. Spaces are limited so book on 01580 766111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you prefer to wander around on your own, you can pick up a vineyard map from their Wine and Fine Food Store.
The store sells all the Chapel Down wines, plus over 30 British cheeses, and great locally-produced beers, ciders, juices and ice cream. We currently give guests who stay three nights or more at Dunescape, our Camber Sands beach house, a bottle of the delicious Chapel Down Flinty Dry white in their welcome packs.
More from them here.
There’s a restaurant too – The Swan – which serves “a great value, locally sourced English menu with homemade treats, sharing boards and savouries available throughout the day.”
The Chapel Down Winery,
Kent, TN30 7NG
At Sandhurst they not only make lovely wine, but great beers too.
They say “Visitors are welcome to walk round the vineyards and other parts of the farm at any time although booking is essential for groups requiring a guide for which a charge of £2.50 per person is made including a tutored wine tasting.”
Tour details are here.
There’s a small shop in the farmyard where you can buy their wines and beers, all of which are also stocked at Chapel Down.
Kent TN18 5PA.
Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard
Sedlescombe’s 22 acres form the oldest organic vineyard in England, and they have a second plantation in the slope above Bodiam castle. Tours are available for both, plus wine tasting and well stocked shop at Sedlescombe.
Vintner Roy Cook says:“Our vineyards, organic for 30 years, are now teeming with wild-life.
“Insects are attracted to the flowering green manure cover crops grown to improve soil fertility, and in turn they attract birds with resident pheasants enjoying the cover these crops provide”.
Their Regent red won an international award in 2013. There’s a BBC video news report here.
Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard
Visitors are welcomed to the vineyard, winery and shop. You can take guided or self-guided tours, and details are here, or call 01424 752501
They say: “What makes us different is that we are a long-established, friendly, family-run business. As one of the first commercial vineyards in this country (ignoring the vineyards that existed in Roman times), we also have many decades of experience dedicated to perfecting the art of crafting fine English wines. All our wines are made from the grapes we grow on our 37 acre vineyard here in East Sussex, or from other local sites that we manage.
“Our secret weapon is our second generation winemaker, Alex Carr Taylor. Few winemakers in this country have literally grown up in the industry. His parents, Linda and David, planted the vineyard when Alex was a toddler, so he grew up in amongst the vines here.”
More from them here.
Camber Sands is wonderful in mid-winter.
On crisp frosty mornings like that in the photos you get the wonderful seven-mile beach pretty much to yourself.
Winter’s a great time for walks via shore and river into Rye, up onto the High Weald or across to Winchelsea. It’s a great time for enjoying Romney Marsh, too, perhaps on a cycle ride taking in its remote churches and cosy pubs.
And in Dunescape, our Camber Sands beach house, you’re guaranteed a cosy home to come back to. This eco-house is tucked just behind the dunes in Royal William Square, where geo-thermal heating takes heat from 150m under the sands to keep you warm.
But Camber isn’t just a good location if you want to spend winter away from it all. We’re just 90 minutes drive to London, and you can get by train from Rye to Ashford in 20 minutes, where it’s just 38 minutes into St Pancras.
This winter we are offering a long let, starting in November, for up to six months. If you are interested, contact Edward Gailey, lettings manager at Phillips and Stubbs, in Rye. You can call him on 01797 228497 or email email@example.com
September’s a great time to visit Rye and Camber Sands.
You’ll have this wonderful beach all to yourselves on weekdays:
The big summer crowds have gone, but the weather – particularly after this brilliant summer – is likely still to be warm.
And there is still loads happening – including Rye Arts Festival in the second half of the month.
The countryside is looking rich and mellow, there are wonderful walks to enjoy and the hedgerows are full of fruit to be foraged.
So you’ll be able to combine sunning yourself on the dunes and a bracing dip in the sea with enjoying the countryside and taking your pick from a huge range of musical and literary events at the Arts Festival.
Where to stay
We still have some availability at Dunescape in September. Check us out here: http://dunescape.co.uk/about/
Here’s our essential guide to self-catering accommodation at Camber Sands: http://dunescape.co.uk/about/essential-camber-sands-self-catering-accommodation-guide/
What to do
Rye Arts Festival
The festival runs from 14 – 29 September.
There are dozens of classical and contemporary musical events, literary talks, walks and more. Here’s the programme: http://www.ryefestival.co.uk/pages/events.asp
Some of Dunescape’s personal highlights include:
Singing in Secret: Music from recusant England in St Thomas’s, Winchelsea
Winchelsea cellar tours
As part of the festival, there are two opportunities to explore the mysterious medieval cellars under Winchelsea. Here’s our account of a fascinating event: http://dunescape.co.uk/things-to-do/take-a-winchelsea-subterranean-mystery-tour/
Adrenalin and other sports
If you want to stay active, there’s plenty of opportunity for that too.
Here’s our guide to 12 great places to do sports in the area http://dunescape.co.uk/12-great-places-to-enjoy-adrenalin-and-other-sports-at-camber-rye-and-romney-marsh/
One takes you along the shore and river from Camber to Rye. The other is a circular route from Rye taking in the Royal Military Canal, river Rother, Peasmarsh and the High Weald trail.
Spike Milligan-inspired circular walk from Rye to Winchelsea. The late, great comedian had close links to the two towns, but this walk is great even if you aren’t a fan
Or how about a gentle cycle ride taking in the remote churches and perfect pubs of Romney Marsh? Here’s out guide to doing that: http://dunescape.co.uk/things-to-do/remote-churches-and-cosy-pubs-on-a-romney-marsh-cycle-ride/
Like some more ideas?
Here’s our comprehensive guide to over 60 things to do in the Rye area: http://dunescape.co.uk/things-to-do/
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Camber Sands or other spots on the Sussex coast this August, there’s loads to do.
Here’s a quick what’s-on guide to special events at Rye, Battle, Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton and Worthing.
Battle Abbey’s Battle Tactics for Kids
1 – 31 August
Learn the skills of a Norman or Saxon soldier. Paint your own shield and have a go in the Kids Battle of Hastings. Find out more: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/battle-tactics-for-kids-ba-1-aug/
Hastings Old Town Carnival
3 – 11 August
Come prepared for surprises and lots of fun. Highlights include free beach concert, a street party, seaboot challenge run, aerial display and swashbuckling fun on pirates’ day. Find out more: http://oldtowncarnivalweek.co.uk/events/
Eastbourne Fireworks Concerts
Wednesday evenings all month
Eastbourne’s traditional Wednesday evening music concerts at the bandstand culminate with Tchaikovsky’s rousing 1812 overture accompanied by a spectacular Firework display. Find out more: http://www.eastbournebandstand.co.uk/whats-on/1812/
Brighton Festival of Racing
7 – 9 August
A three day horse-racing festival, highlights include the Brighton Mile, live performance from Scouting for Girls and Ladies Day. Find out more: http://www.brighton-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on-racing.php
10 – 11 August
The flight competition for human-powered flying machines. Many flyers design complex machines to aim for the distance prizes. Others compete for charity. A prize of £10,000 awaits the furthest flight over 100 metres. Find out more: http://www.worthingbirdman.co.uk/
Bodiam Castle Grand Medieval Siege
10 – 11 August
The Medieval Siege Society take up residence at Bodiam Castle for the weekend, along with the jousting Knights of Arkley, living history encampments, medieval musicians, trading stalls and much more.
Rye Maritime Festival
Live Music, beer tent, children’s entertainers, novelty stands and lots of fun on the Strand Quay, Rye. Find out more:
15 – 18 August
The world’s biggest free seafront airshow featuring RAF and international display teams. Flying displays include the RAF Red Arrows, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Eurofighter, F16, plus parachute display teams, wingwalkers and aerobatic teams. Find out more: http://www.eastbourneairshow.com/
Rye International Jazz Festival
22 – 26 August
Free gigs and acoustic performances in local pubs and throughout Rye’s streets. Headline acts include Theo Jackson, Melissa James, Earl Okin and breakfast with bass player Herbie Flowers. Find out more: http://ryejazz.com/
Brighton Mods’ Weekend
23 – 25 August
The Mod Scene return to its spiritual home in Brighton. Daytime sees Madeira Drive filled with scooters, and there’s live music and memorabilia. Sunday’s Scooter competition is followed by a cruise along the coast and back. Find out more:
…and some other attractions to check out
If you are interested in visiting nature reserves, travelling on a preserved railway, or strolling in a beautiful private garden or two, here are some starting points…
Rye Harbour nature reserve
RSPB Dungeness reserve
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway: http://www.rhdr.org.uk/
Kent and East Sussex Railway (Tenterden to Bodiam):
Private gardens to visit
Local plots open under the national gardens Open scheme:
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