What shall we do today?

If it’s summer and the weather’s bright then the five-mile beach at Camber is almost all you’ll need for a perfect stay.

Certainly, if you are here with children, you’ll find it hard to drag them off the sands to do anything else. And if the weather’s not good enough for sunbathing but you’d still like to explore the beach, how about going on a Dune Safari? There’s a full guide to what you can see here.

But what about when it’s wet?

Or if you feel the need for a bit of stimulation and a change of scene?

You’ll find links to a wide range of things to do on this page – a mix of things we’ve enjoyed ourselves and that guests at Dunescape have recommended.

And if you need to check out the weather forecast, you can do that here

The official website for Rye Bay is here. 

Family-friendly activities

You’ll find a range of family-friendly activities here. Those that are good for rainy days marked with a *. For some entries, that may mean part but not all the venue – such as a house but not the garden – is suitable.

*A day pass to Pontins Camber Sands £5 an adult, £2.50 per child, or double that if you want a meal thrown in.

There’s a full list of indoor and outdoor activities here Pontins has a heated indoor swimming pool for when the sea’s less than inviting.

*Rye Heritage Centre

*Hastings Smuggler’s Adventure, Blue Reef Aquarium, 1066 Story at Hastings Castle. All here

*Stade Family Fun Park– seafront amusements and rides, plus world-class crazy golf. Seriously, they’ve held the world championships there. No website but find it on the seafront running west from Hastings old Town

*Bexhill Leisure Centre, indoor pool with flume at Bexhill

*Tenterden Leisure Centre indoor pool at Tenterden

*Kent and East Sussex Steam Railway, Tenterden to Bodiam

*The Mill Toy and Pedal car Museum – right by the station at Northiam on the railway listed above.

*Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, miniature coastal railway, often running steam trains during holidays

Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

South of England Rare Breeds Centre, Ashford

Lathe Barn petting farm, Burmarsh, Romney Marsh

There are other family-friendly farms listed here

Walks and cycle rides

Camber-Rye cycle path

There are 250 miles of footpaths and bridleways in the Rye Bay area including long distance and circular walks.

Camber to Rye on the cycle path (left). The route runs from the eastern edge of the village to Rye following the route of an old tramway, built in Victorian times when Camber’s golf course opened and the first seaside visitors came.

Camber Castle walk

Camber to Lydd on the cycle path. The path begins at the eastern edge of the village, and runs along the top of the sea wall, so you get great sea views; passes through the car park on the kite surfers’ beach; and then turns inland just past Jury’s Gap, shadowing the road.

Short walks in Guestling Wood, Northiam and Flatropers Wood

Short walks around Iden

Longer Walks (all on the Explorer 125 map)

Rye to Appledore and Ham Street along the Royal Military Canal. This route exploits the Marshlink railway that runs from Rye to Ashford and serves the villages of Appledore and Ham Street, with good pubs along the way.

You can walk out and train-it back.

Rye to Peasmarsh and the High Weald. This walk starts off alongside the Royal Military Canal from Rye, then follows the River Rother to Peasmarsh. From there you climb up to the High Weald and join the High Weald Landscape Trail path for a spectacular descent back into Rye.

Adrenalin and other sports

The kite beachThere is kite surfing on the beach to the east of Camber, a wind surfing school on the way to Rye, and boat trips for both fishing and sightseeing from Rye Harbour. You can learn to fly a light aircraft, or race go-karts. Perhaps you’d rather hire some bikes. You’ll find links to a full range of activities here.

Kitesurfing: Camber Kitesurfing and The Kitesurf Centre

Wind surfing, dinghy sailing and kit surfing: Rye Watersports

Water skiing, jet skis: Action Watersports at Lydd

Flying lessons, from a learn-to-fly taster to a private pilot’s licence programme, from Lydd Aero Club, Lydd Airport They have a simulator, too, if you’d rather not leave the ground.

Go-kart racing at Lydd Kart Circuit

Horse riding. Grove Farm, Iden

Cycle hire, Rye Hire, Rye

Sea boat rides, powerboat trips and fishing charters. Full Throttle Charters, Rye Harbour 

Sea fishing at Dungeness: Fair Chance, 01797 363544

Sea fishing and resources at Hastings

Fishing inland around Rye

Golf, Rye Golf Course is private, but  Littlestone Golf Course accepts visitors.

Historic houses and other heritage sites

Rye from the church tower

*St Mary’s church, Rye. Fantastic views (left) over the town and the surrounding countryside from the tower.

*Lamb House, Rye. Former home of writers Henry James and E F Benson (whose books are in the bookcase upstairs at Dunescape)

*Rye Castle museum. At the Ypres tower and East Street in Rye

*St Anthony of Padua, Rye

Bodiam Castle. The perfect, moated castle at Bodiam

Battle Abbey. Former monastery on the site of William’s defeat of Harold in 1066. At Battle

Great Dixter House and Gardens. Legendary gardener Christopher Lloyds’s remarkable gardens, seven miles from Rye

*Smallhythe Place. Victorian actress Ellen Terry’s early 16th-century house and cottage gardens. Near Tenterden

Film-maker Derek Jarman’s shingle garden at Prospect Cottage, Dungeness

Port Lympne Gardens, Port Lympne

*Sissinghurst Castle and gardens. Vita Sackville West’s former home at Sissinghurst

*Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s former home, Burwash

Countryside, birds and nature

Dungeness bird observatory, an important migration point, is a staging post for both British and Continental landbird migrants, and well-placed for the observation of seabird passage. Regular special events

Rye Harbour nature reserve

Rye Harbour Nature reserve (left), extends south from Rye along the River Rother, past Rye Harbour to the sea; westward to Winchelsea Beach and northwards along the River Brede. Great for walks and wildlife

Hastings Country park, over 267 hectares of ancient woodland, heathland and grassland together with 3 miles of dramatic cliffs and coastline. Guide here

Guestling Wood, a typical High Weald ancient woodland with a network of paths and rides http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/our-woods/Pages/wood-details.aspx?wood=4060#.T0KCjXIzVe4

Boat trips on the river Rother

Cinema, arts and entertainment

Kino, Rye or Hawkhurst

Odeon Cinema, Hastings

Electric Palace Cinema, Hastings

De la Warr Pavilion, art exhibitions and live events, Bexhill

White Rock Theatre, traditional seaside shows, Hastings

Farms, vineyards, Sussex food and drink

Rye Farmers’ Market. Every Wednesday, Strand Quay

Salts Farm Shop, just as you join the A259 on the way to Rye

Carr Taylor Vineyards, Tenterden

Chapel Down Vineyard, Tenterden

Other local vineyards and brewers listed here: http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/foodanddrink/vineyardsandbreweries/default.htm

and here: http://www.englishwineproducers.com/ewgplc.htm

The Filo Brewing Company and the First In Last Out pub, Hastings old Town


Not the bog-standard stuff, the interesting version. Hastings Old Town and St Leonards have won great reputations for a fantastic range of interesting art, antique, homeware and other independent shops, plus great bars, cafes and restaurants.

Rye – good on art, books, homeware and gifts from independent shops

Hastings Old town – many unique independent cafes, homeware, art shops, bookstores and more  Here’s our take on the old town’s High Street, which we reckon is one of the finest streets you’ll find anywhere for shopping, browsing, eating and just hanging around. You’ll find our shop-by-shop run-down here

St Leonards – many unique independent stores

Bexhill Old Town – more vintage, charity and second-hand stores than you ever thought possible in one town 

Tenterden small town centre with a ‘county’ feel