Peaceful Dungeness and the East Sussex coast
One of the highlights of my recent short break on the Sussex/Kent borders was a day at Dungeness. It's such an unlikely place, in a way - a remote, flat, windswept peninsular dominated by a power station. Yet that's exactly what brings it such charm and atmosphere.
Arriving late-morning, we could see plenty of people already tucking into seafood brunches in the village and it's clearly a popular place for Sunday lunch - I recommend booking ahead if that's your plan. We walked out over the shingle past the little wooden houses, including the dark wood of Prospect Cottage, which belonged to the late Derek Jarman; his garden was a famous haven of natural form, and can still be discreetly viewed from a distance. It's an amazing spot.
Most of our visit, however, was spent at the RSPB reserve. Whether strolling on the boardwalks or sitting quietly in the many hides, using our hired binoculars to spot fascinating bird life and just watching the reeds waft in the breeze (at least, probably a breeze by local standards - we landlubbers found it quite fresh), it's a thoroughly absorbing place. You don't need to be a serious birder to enjoy it, either; I think anyone who loves nature will appreciate it.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is also lovely - we didn't visit this time, but it's one we always enjoy. Driving between the two places we stopped briefly at Camber Sands, that massive, sweeping tract of shore with holiday cottages galore behind it. With the family holiday season over for this year, the kitesurfers were having a fabulous time on what had definitely become a windy day. It's a beach that demands respect, but use it safely and it's just wonderful. Click here to view our cottages in this area.
After all that, we took a stroll around the historic streets of Rye itself and found a nice cuppa before heading back to our holiday cottage. Up there in the High Weald, only about 40 minutes drive from the coast, we had fabulous walks right on our doorstep and total peace and quiet. What more could you ask??