A dune safari in Camber


Moonrrakers - Credit: Archant

Bridget Galton visited Teal Holiday Lodges and enjoyed the best of the British seaside.

The undulating dunes of Camber Sands are so bountiful that they doubled as the Sahara in the Carry On film Follow That Camel.

But if the notoriously cheapskate producers of the 60s comedy series had to keep halting the shoot because of snow, little of their ‘kiss me quick’ brand of saucy humour has rubbed off on the resort.

Just two miles from the genteel Cinque Port of Rye, Camber represents the best of the British seaside; a couple of reasonably priced, not tacky cafes, a fish and chip shop, a golf course and acres of golden sand.

Our boys took full advantage during a November break at Moonrakers holiday cottage. Embarking on an hour-long “dune safari” they threw themselves down steep cliffs of sand hollering ‘YOLO’ (you only live once) while the three-year-old tooled around with her bucket and spade on the beach.

It was windy enough for kites but sufficiently mild to paddle and eat ice-cream, as Sunday trippers fired up a barbecue and wetsuited bodyboarders took to the waves.

Back at the equally idyllic Moonrakers, we fired up the woodburner once the evening chills set in.

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The clapboard-style blue-painted exterior conceals a thoughtfully designed, well-equipped modern home, kitted out to a very high spec.

The playroom stuffed with toys and books just off the living room made for a relaxing evening as we cooked freshly caught sea bass bought from the fishmongers on the road out of Rye.

Blondwood floors, reclaimed from a gym, a top end kitchen and bifold doors that opened onto a generous garden with play equipment, made it all extra child friendly.

We’d stopped off in well-preserved Rye on our way to have lunch in a teeny café down a cobbled alley.

Between late Saxon and Tudor times it was one of five Kent and Sussex ports to sustain a fleet providing military and transport services to the English crown in return for money and privileges.

It’s a great town to explore on foot. The Ypres Tower and battery overlooking the distant coast and St Mary’s church, where you can climb to the belltower to see one of the oldest working turret clocks and the peal of eight bells, lie at its very heart.

Rye has numerous literary connections, not least its former Mayor EF Benson whose 1930s Mapp and Lucia series is set in the fictional town of Tilling, closely modelled on the town.

Benson lived in Georgian Lamb House. Previously owned by the novelist Henry James, and the double for Elizabeth Mapp’s beloved Mallards, it’s now a National Trust property open to the public.

Rye is the kind of place where foodies can pick up fabulous local fare; wine, bread, and great sausages from the butcher.

Our welcome pack at Moonrakers had already supplied jams, pickles and biscuits, so we were well stocked for a hearty breakfast the next morning.

If you venture further along the coast you can explore other Cinq Ports; Sandwich or bustling Hastings with its old town fishing huts, fish market and growing reputation for good fish restaurants.

Although, like Kenneth Williams’ sinister Dr Watt in Carry on Screaming, we self caterers were “frying tonight”.

Bridget Galton and family stayed courtesy of Bramley and Teal Holiday Cottages who have holiday homes in idyllic locations across Kent and Sussex. Book online at bramleyandteal.co.uk or call on 01580 860840.