Coastal Retreats

Many of us have childhood memories of times at the seaside. When I was a child, we spent many long days paddling and collecting pebbles on Eastbourne beach. We used to spend many weekends frolicking in the freezing ocean, splashing our way to happiness.

Over the February half term, whilst many friends escaped to France, Spain and beyond, I found myself dreaming of sandy beaches. I longed to escape the hustle and bustle of work, emails and whatsapp groups for a few days. I thought about booking a flight somewhere with the children, but then I paused and thought about how, perhaps we could head to the scenic British coastline; just like I used to. 

Quite honestly, I just didn’t fancy getting on a flight, nor did I want to waste an entire day in the car, stuck in traffic with the cries of “are we there yet.” I was keen to find a location not too far from Tunbridge Wells where we live, but somewhere which gave the illusion that we were a world away from the stresses of everyday life. 

I came across a company called Camber Holiday Cottages and contacted them just the weekend before half term and despite being last minute, I begged her to ask what she had available for us. Despite the short notice, Georgina came up with a corker of a property which was just five minutes from Camber Sands beach and before I knew it, we were booked and confirmed in the most stunning family cottage we could ask for! We stayed in the spacious, four-bedroom property named Samphire, which was beautifully renovated in 2013 to create a home away from home by the sea. It sounded ideal! 

Despite living in and around Tunbridge Wells my entire life, I could barely recall ever coming to Camber Sands. I have been to Rye many times, but never made it to Camber. Little did I know that this was an idyllic escape that feels like a well-kept secret. It really is the most stunning location, with its glorious golden stretch with knee-high grass and bumpy dunes. Here, you can kite surf, windsurf, horse ride and fish, or ramble along the High Weald Landscape Trail and the 1066 walk. Just 7.5 miles east of Camber Sands is Dungeness National Nature Reserve, a wild and windswept landscape and home to an incredible 600 species of plants, with opportunities for bird-watching. And don’t forget to try the fish finger sandwich at The Gallivant. I loved it!

We just spent some mornings running across the empty beach. It was breathtakingly beautiful early morning when everything was so quiet and still. With so much to see and do, I questioned myself why we do we not come here regularly? I felt guilty for forgetting how much is on offer here on our British coastline.

Breathing in the sea air somehow makes us feel good. It feels like a medicine. An antidote for life’s constant ‘busyness’. The sea air urges us to slow down and quietly tells to let life’s stresses wash over us a little bit more. Weassociate the seaside with feelings of calmness and it is believed that the rhythmic sound of the waves has a lot to do with this. In 2016, one US experiment suggested that simply looking at the sea can be enough to perk up your mood and improve our mental health.

So, perhaps we have underestimated the importance of vitamin sea? A study from Exeter University found that people who lived or spent time in places on the coast were more likely to describe their health as “good” than those who lived inland. Long ago, physicians recommended going to the beach for medical reasons. 

When tuberculous was claiming thousands of lives in the 1900s, some doctors sent their patients to the seaside to breathe in the salty sea air. It was believed to have curative powers which could heal the respiratory organs and reduce the intensity of the disease. I have no idea if this method worked but I would imagine that it would not have done any harm either. 

 This magical little town of Camber is around 4.5 miles southeast of the medieval town of Rye, which charms visitors with its history-filled, dog-friendly pubs and cobbled streets. Book a table for drinks and dinner at The George and you are unlikely to be disappointed. 

 So, if you are wondering whether to hit the hills, book a flight or go to the beach this vacation, look at Camber Holiday Cottages before you look any further. Prepare to fall in love with this beautiful location near quaint coastal towns and history-filled villages. All summed up, Camber Sands is a destination that truly offers one of the best beach breaks in Europe. As a parent, you know when you have done a good job, when all the children keep asking you is when can we go back again. Surely that means I am winning at parenting?

Note: We were provided discounted stay with Camber Holiday Cottages in exchange for a review on the blog – For more information on the properties available, visit




Hope Marshall