Coastguards Lookout is a cosy and beautifully appointed bolt-hole in a kind of semi-wilderness you wouldn't really expect to find within such a short drive of London. Set back behind the sea wall and barely a moments walk from the beach, 'Coastguards' Lookout is the first of a group of Coastguard Cottages, built in 1875 that stand in splendid isolation at Jury's Gap, beyond the end of Camber Village and which adjoin an extensive SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) that extends from within the cottage grounds, a full eight miles to Dungeness. Quite wild, yet intensely peaceful, with dramatic views in every direction, 'Coastguards Lookout' has recently been sumptuously renovated, decorated with a playful seaside style and furnished with nothing but comfort and blissful relaxation in mind.
The cottage is still only a few minutes drive from the many attractions of the medieval Cinque Port town of Rye and it has easy access to all necessary amenities, including local farm shops selling Salt Marsh Lamb straight from the marshes, fishmongers selling straight from the fishing boats and a wide variety of excellent welcoming pubs and restaurants for dining out.
With miles of often-empty beach, a towering sky overhead and wind fresh with ozone straight from the Atlantic, 'Coastguards Lookout' is all about relaxation. Bathed in comfort, peace and quiet, you cannot help but unwind; it is the perfect place to kick off your shoes, shake the city dust off your hair and wander back to that bit of yourself that gets lost in the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Stepping into Coastguards Lookout you will immediately see the great care and attention that has been given in the renovation from its former life as a Coastguards property to a contemporary and cosy, but character filled holiday cottage. Retaining all traditional features, but enhanced with modern furnishing and equipment to cater for most, if not all requirements, the cottage is blessed with all you need to make it a home from home. The open plan kitchen/dining room, with a breakfast bar made from rustic locally sourced wood is complemented by a coffee machine, induction hob, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave and music player.
And when the day is done, you can step through to the snug lounge. After a day out, or when the evening chill settles in, with its comfortable furnishings and bright log burning stove, it is the perfect place to relax and watch TV, play games on the X-Box, or read that book you keep promising yourself, with just the crackle, warmth and dancing flames of the fire and the distant crash of the waves to disturb you.
Head up stairs and you will find the large master bedroom with its super king sized bed and expansive views over the sheep studded marsh, where the local smugglers plied their trade in years gone by. Here a long and renewing nights rest is guaranteed. Head up to the attic room and enjoy a bath under the stars to the sound of the sea.
Across the landing is the family bathroom with a large and luxurious walk in shower and views out across the bay and the sea.
The second bedroom has two 3-foot beds, perfect for children, or pushed together, for a couple. With another stunning view of the sea, it also has a small flat screen TV, in case you tire of watching the extraordinary sunsets!
Outside, the wood decked south facing rear garden is decorated with buoys and features an extraordinary fence made entirely from reclaimed sea-groynes. With another dining table and benches outside the back door, it is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine, or two, or three, while glowing with the satisfaction of exploring one of the many historical sights or taking in a hike along a coastal path.
Coastguards Lookout also benefits from access to an extended garden; a large area of grass beside the cottage that is perfect for ball games or just lazing around in the sun, and definitely a place to sip a sundowner watching the setting sun slip away.
'Coastguards Lookout' also provides all that you need for a stress free holiday, from fine bed linen, fluffy towels and bathrobes to toilet tissue and dishwasher tablets, so that's a few less things to pack for when you come and stay!
Nestled on the border of 1066 Country and The Garden of England with their stunning coast and countryside, ancient towns and historic sites, a holiday at Coastguards Lookout offers a vast array of activities and attractions to suit all interests.
A break at Coastguards is all about relaxation and getting away from it all, Spring and Summer evenings spent gathered around the BBQ after a day of exploring the spectacular combination of coast and countryside that's scattered with relics and ruins from the past.
Autumn, the 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' is a time for fantastic seaside sunsets with the sky illuminated with bursts of turquoise and pink, the countryside sprinkled with gold and auburn. A time of food and drink festivals, along with scaring yourself silly on a ghost walk in Rye!
A winter break at Coastguards Cottages is an incredible experience. There is nothing quite like reviving your senses with a brisk, invigorating walk in the crisp winter air, followed by an afternoon warming your toes in front of the log burner with a good book and a glass of wine.
Keen walkers will be in hiking heaven with the diverse natural landscapes to explore on your doorstep, such as Romney Marsh with it's colourful history that has seen invasions, numerous threatened attacks and smuggling. Home to so many species of bird, plant and insect that it is one of the most important nature conservation sites in Europe. This patch of pristine wetland covers a whopping 100 square miles and is packed with wildlife.
From the back of Coastguards, follow the beach to Dungeness with it's unique landscape, a shingle foreland on the tip of Kent. Home to a nuclear power station, two lighthouses and designated a National Nature Reserve, it has often been described as 'the end of the earth'. Be sure to check out Prospect Cottage, where film-maker Derek Jarman once lived – again its prettiness jarring with the surroundings, an uneasy juxtaposition.
The Royal Military Canal Path runs for 28 miles along the entire length of the Royal Military Canal from Seabrook, Kent to Cliff End in East Sussex. The route treads a path between the vast openness of the Romney Marsh and the old cliff line with its wooded hills and quiet villages. Walking along the quiet canal banks today it is easy to forget that this was once the scene of intense military activity. Now, much of the drama on the canal comes from the variety of wildlife that has made the canal its home.
If that sounds too tame, we have the kitesurf centre just five minutes walk away. When you think about it, strapping yourself to a small plank of wood while a huge kite pulls you through the water is probably bonkers. But then again, they said similar things about snowboarding too – and look how much fun that is!
Ideally situated for day trips into or out of London, the region's beautiful gardens and vineyards, historic castles and picturesque medieval towns and villages offer so many attractions that you will no doubt be tempted to stay longer.
Please note: The MOD firing range is about a quarter of a mile away that is used occasionally, so do not be alarmed as it is not a shoot out with smugglers or Napoleon invading, its the British army sharpening their marksmanship!
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 2 bedrooms|
|Rooms||2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms of which 1 family bathroom, 1 en suite and 1 toilet only|
|Notes||Pets welcome, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Fireplace, Internet access, DVD player, Sea view|
|General||Central heating, TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Furniture||Single Beds (2), Dining seats for 4, Lounge seats for 4|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair available|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
1066 country, the corner of East Sussex where a monumental battle famously reshaped the nation, boasts a classically beautiful English landscape infused with an epic sense of history.
A landscape of moated castles, steam railways, picturesque seaside towns and steep-cobbled streets, this is 1066 country. Scenes overlayed through the passing centuries that today survive in composite to create the archetypal image of England. An England which, hundreds of years ago, had its fate decided here in this beautiful coastal pocket of East Sussex, where an Norman invasion force successfully landed on these shores and won a famous victory, forging a new nation and forever changed the course of this countries history.
In 1066 Country you’re surrounded by countryside and coastal reaches so abundant with the historical evidence of the past thousand years, it’s impossible to imagine how this country may have evolved had Harold Godwinson, later to become Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king, won the battle of Hastings on the 14 October 1066, a date since etched into the national consciousness. As it was, the day and the crown belonged to William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy.
Thankfully 1066 country today, ringing with the history of events born from perceived betrayals and false promises, never disappoints its guests. 1066 country offers its visitors a countless array of famous historical sites and crumbling fairytale ruins of ancient castles. Immaculate country houses set in magnificent gardens are scattered across a backdrop of rolling fields dotted with sheep and woodlands intersected with steep-banked lanes that weave their way through tiny hamlets and charming villages. To the south lies the region’s coast, encompassing the towns of Bexhill, Hastings and England’s prettiest town, Rye, cradled to the west by the chalky bolster of the South Downs. This is soon to become a national park and bracing walks along gorse-lined ridges provide sweeping sea views to rival those of the raptors riding lazy circles in the thermals above.
It’s easy to lose hours roaming around the many picturesque 1066 country towns such as Rye. However, when the hill climbing finally takes its toll the perfect antidote lies just a couple of miles away to the edge of 1066 country at the majestic Camber Sands. Here the cobbles and shingle that define the beaches of the south-east coast finally give way to a beautiful broad tract of unspoilt sandy beach and sheltering dunes.
Beguiling as the 1066 country coast may be, neither the region’s beauty or its history diminishes as you journey inland. While Rye may have had its adopted son in Henry James, one of 1066 country’s most passionately patriotic literary exponents also made his home in the countryside of this special part of East Sussex, where he composed this most appropriate piece of poetry:
England’s on the anvil – hear the hammers ring –
Clanging from the Severn to the Tyne!
Never was a blacksmith like our Norman King,
England’s being hammered, hammered, hammered into line
So goes the first verse of The Anvil, a poem in praise of the forging of a unified English nation under William The Conqueror, written by an author born nearly 800 years later, in 1865 – Rudyard Kipling. His family home of Bateman’s, situated here in 1066 country, just outside the delightful village of Burwash, is now owned by the National Trust and remains the essence of the pastoral idyll safely hidden at the heart of the Empire.
The perfect solution to enjoying the countryside at the heart of 1066 country, in a manner that Kipling would surely have approved, is a journey on the Kent and Sussex Steam Railway. As the country’s finest example of a light rural railway, you can even dine during your journey in restored Pullman Cars, drinking in the view through the puff of steam as the line travels through the unspoilt Rother Valley to terminate at Bodiam, the location of one of England’s famous ‘fairytale’ castles. Bodiam Castle, with its beautifully preserved and spectacularly turreted quadrangular walls, built in 1385 rising from it’s broad moat, provides an image that has become the personification of an English medieval castle.
Another spectacular 1066 country moated castle can be found at Herstmonceux, situated north west of Hastings. Constructed in 1441, Herstmonceux Castle became the temporary home to the Royal Greenwich Observatory shortly after the Second World War in a bid to avoid London’s increasing light pollution. The observatory moved again, this time to Cambridge in 1990, yet the legacy of its six working telescopes survives, with three still open for guided evening observations.
With the telescope such as the one housed at Herstmonceux, you wonder if King Harold would have been able to see what was in store for this island, long before that fateful arrow struck its mortal blow. But it is impossible to imagine how different 1066 Country would have been, had the tables been so easily turned on that monumental day.
One thing, however, that would doubtless have remained the same is the timeless beauty of the 1066 country landscape – but whether 1066 country would still contain one of its most recent Gallic-influenced attractions, the profusion of small award wining vineyards that have sprung up in recent years among the hop fields, we can only guess.
So follow in the footsteps of the Conqueror and visit 1066 Country
There are beaches that spread out before you as you approach them, laying their features out like a market stallholder. There are beaches that tempt from a distance, coming into focus as you descend from the hills. And there are beaches that hide their majestic landscapes behind high dunes, rewarding you at the last minute with surprising views; bright blue sea, glorious blue sky and golden sand. Such a beach is Camber Sands, which withholds its beauty until the last second, its an awesome spectacle.
The unspoilt beauty of Camber Sands as well as its sheer size have made it a popular location for fashion photo shoots. Many a glossy magazine spread that looked as if they were shot in The Hamptons was actually snapped in Camber Sands, Kate Moss appeared in her famous first shoot with Corinne Day there and films including doubling as the Sahara Desert in a ‘Carry On’ film and as the Dunkirk evacuation beaches in several war epics as well as many music videos.
The clean and shallow water makes Camber Sands ideal for children. When the tide’s out, it’s a beachcomber’s paradise. Kids love to look for pirates treasure that’s has washed up on the shore. Everything on a beach tells a story whether it’s a shell or a lost piece of jewellery and interpreting this story can be even more exciting than the discovery. Camber Sands has been voted one of the best places in the UK for beach-combing.
Rye sits proudly on its hill like a red jewel rising above the surrounding marsh. Much of Rye’s medieval citadel remains unchanged, enchanting narrow cobbled streets guide you past some of the prettiest architecture in England.
There’s never a bad time to visit Rye. It’s stunning when the sun’s first summer rays pierce a morning mist or in a plum-tinged winter twilight illuminating the cobbled maze of Medieval buildings.