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Rye has a starring role in a BBC1 comedy-drama this Christmas.
The Beeb has adapted the comic Mapp and Lucia novels by E.F. Benson – former mayor and long-time resident of Rye – as the centerpiece of its Christmas schedules. The three-parter is screened on 29, 30 and 31 December 2014.
Here’s Miranda Richardson as Mapp, filmed in Market Street:
And here she is talking about her role, with clips from locations used around the town:
The novels are social comedies about warring upper-middle-class ladies in 1930s Sussex, and draw heavily on the people of Rye.
Benson, who lived in Lamb House, which is also the fictional home of Mapp, and later Lucia, called the town Tilling in the six novels, but it is very recognisably Rye
Every fictional house, shop and street has its real-life equivalent in the hill-top Citadel area of the town, and Benson-themed walks are a popular visitor attraction.
If you stay at Dunescape, our beach house tucked behind the dunes at Camber Sands, three miles from Rye, you’ll find a copy of E F Benson Remembered, the definitive guide to Benson’s Rye, in the bookcase. It will enable you to trace all the real-life locations of the scenes in the books. Copies of the novels are there too.
Locations used in the new adaptation include Church Square, Watchbell Street, Market Street and Lamb House, where a garden music room that features heavily in the novels but was bombed to oblivion in WW2, was rebuilt for filming. Scenes were also shot at Camber Golf Club and in Hastings Old Town.
Here’s the cast outside St Mary’s church:
Lamb House was home to the American novelist Henry James before Benson and is open to the public.
Mapp and Lucia has been adapted for TV before, in the 1980s, in a Channel 4 series starring Prunella Scales as Mapp, Geraldine McEwan as Lucia, and Nigel Hawthorne as McEwan’s consort Georgie Pillson. You’ll find a guide to locations for that adaptation here.
The role of Georgie is now taken by Steve Pemberton. Pemberton, best known for the darkly-comic League of Gentlemen TV series, wrote the screenplay, and says we’ll find his version of Rye/Tilling like a genteel version of Royston Vasey. His leading ladies are Anna Chancellor as Lucia (left below), and Miranda Richardson as Mapp.
Here’s Pemberton talking about the show:
And here’s Anna Chancellor talking about Lucia:
Find out more
Wikipedia’s Tilling entry
Trip Advisor ratings for Mapp and Lucia’s Rye
Our guide to self-catering accommodation in the area
Radio Times Mapp and Lucia: Discover the delights of Rye
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Of course, there are plenty of objective reasons to take the family to Camber Sands: among them the beautiful beach and sand dunes, the proximity to London and the fact Camber is a great base for a family holiday.
But might there also be a powerful subjective reason you have a hankering to go to Camber? Could it also be that you went there yourself as a child?
Certainly, plenty of guests at Dunescape Camber, our beach house holiday let, mention that they have happy childhood memories of roving the dunes and jumping the waves on family holidays at Camber Sands.
And new research suggests nostalgia has a strong influence on our choice of holiday destination.
In polling by Eurocamp, one-in-five adults said they wanted their children to have the same experiences that they did as a child, and 57% wanted to try and relive holidays they had 20 or 30 years ago.
Twenty per cent even booked the exact same cottage, camp site or hotel that they stayed in as a kid, and 25% returned to the same resorts.
Apparently we even take the same days out as we did as children, which explains why – once you are in Camber – you’ll find yourself at Bodiam castle, tucking in to fish and chips and an ice cream at Hastings Old Town, or exploring the 1066 site at Battle.
Why do we do it?
According to the researchers, what with the stress and pressures of modern family life, we as parents look back on simpler, happier times when kids weren’t glued to mobile phones and PlayStations, and when a sandy beach and a bucket and spade were all we needed to keep us happy.
We want our kids to experience those simple pleasures. And it works! No fewer than 80% of parents polled said their children enjoyed family breaks as much as they did, and 53% said it was beneficial for their children to see where they went on holiday as a child.
The good news is that Camber has come a long way since the days when Pontins’ or a drafty caravan were pretty much your only options for accommodation.
Today there are plenty of high-quality holiday lets, plus the swish Gallivant Hotel.
The best accommodation does book up fast though. At Dunescape Camber we’ve just had one family immediate book the same week next summer.
But Camber isn’t just for July and August. It’s a great spot for autumn and spring half term breaks, or a weekend.
To help you find the right place for you, we’ve compiled our Essential Camber Sands Self-Catering Accommodation guide.
And you can read all about Dunescape Camber, a 3-bedroom contemporary eco-home tucked right behind the dunes, here.
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We know that for many guests a dog is part of the family, and holidaying without them is unthinkable.
So we welcome well-behaved and well-looked-after dogs at Dunescape, our Camber Sands beach house. And we make no extra charge for pets, unlike some holiday rentals.
Camber Sands is a great place for dogs. While the central section of the seven miles of sandy beach and stunning dunes are closed to dogs from May to September, that still leaves miles more sands on which they can roam with you.
And there are plenty of other safe places for walks.
An off-road pathway across the fields from Camber to Rye makes a great three-mile walk. Or you can head west from the edge of the village, go along the beach and follow the River Rother up to the town.
In the opposite direction, another off-road path takes you the five miles to Lydd and Romney Marsh.
Then there’s Fairlight Country Park, where over 600 cliff-top acres are another great dog-walking area. Find out more about Fairlight here.
There are a number of dog-friendly holiday homes to rent in Camber Sands. Pick Dunescape, our Camber Sands self-catering holiday rental, and you’ll be this close to the beach.
You’ll find a range of other homes that welcome pets here.
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It’s raining. It’s been raining for weeks. It’ll probably still be raining come half term.
So why would you want to book a short break at Camber Sands?
Here are six good reasons to defy the downpours:
1: The beach is wonderful in rough weather
If you are a kite-surfer, wind-surfer or kite-buggy fan then you’ll need no persuading of the awesomeness of powerful seas.
If a stroll on the beach is enough for you, then you can enjoy the great spectator sport of watching these adrenalin junkies zooming up and down, and hurling themselves yards into the air on the gusting winds.
Rough seas are great for beach-combers, too, and bird-watchers will see flocks feasting on the shellfish flung onto the beach by the high spring tides.
2 Great shopping in Rye, Hastings Old Town and the Norman Road area of St Leonards
We don’t do bog-standard shopping in Rye and Hastings.
Instead you find a wide range of highly individual stores with unique stock.
3 Bodiam Castle and Battle Abbey
Bodiam is everyone’s ideal image of a medieval, moated castle. There’ll be special family events this half term, including roast and roam – guided walks plus a two course lunch.
4 Winter walks at Nymans, Sissinghurst and in the countryside around Rye
One of the finest walks is that from Camber, along the dunes and up the banks of the Rother to Rye, where you can reward yourself with lunch. You’ll find that route, and another great trek here, and a Spike Milligan-themed circular route here.
Or you can take a stroll round the grounds of a couple of grand houses.
Nyman’s, former home of Rudyard Kipling at Burwash, has a special garden trail for children.
At Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West’s famous gardens are closed, but you can still enjoy winter walks through their extensive woods and wider estate.
5 Rye Scallop Festival and other foodie delights
Rye Scallop Week runs from February 15-23 and features a wide range of foodie events. Loads of local restaurants and pubs rustle up special recipes. If you’d like a wider take on local gastronomy, you’ll find our foodie guide to Rye here.
6 Great late-availability rentals
The lousy weather has led to many people delaying booking their half-term breaks at Camber, so some of the best self-catering holiday homes still have vacancies, and there could well be some special offers. Start your search with our Essential Camber Sands Self-Catering Accommodation Guide here.
We may even have some dates at Dunescape, our Camber Sands beach house.
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And not just George Clooney. Camber Sands is the location for two blockbusters released in February 2014: The Monuments Men starring Clooney and Matt Damon, and The Invisible Woman starring Ralph Fiennes.
Here’s filming of The Monuments Men taking place on the beach
The Monuments Men, which is about a group of historians and art curators who recover priceless art stolen by the Nazis, was filmed extensively at Camber Sands; in Strand Quay and The Strand in Rye; and at the New Inn in Winchelsea. It is released on February 14.
The second big production is The Invisible Woman, about Charles Dickens’ mistress Nelly Ternan. Kristen Scott Thomas is Fiennes’ co-star, and the movie is released on February 7 in London, nationally on February 21.
In The Monuments Men, Camber Sands stood in for the Normandy beaches during the D-Day landings. A crashed German Messerschmitt appeared on the beach, and an empty antiques shop at Rye’s Strand was converted into a German butcher’s shop.
George Clooney popped in for lunch at The George in Rye High Street. Here he is stopping traffic:
Here’s the film’s trailer
The Invisible Woman features Camber Sands in Winter. Here’s a still:
And here’s the trailer:
There’s an interview with Fiennes here.
Vogue US built a fashion shoot around Fiennes and the film, and Annie Leibowitz photographed on the sands
Vogue’s facilities company booked Dunescape, our Camber Sands beach house, as a pit-stop for the photo crew.
If you are thinking about a short break in Camber Sands this February, March or April, start compiling your shortlist by visiting our Essential Guide to Camber Sands Accommodation.
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