I find organising birthdays hard. Not for friends or kids parties – but my own.
For one, I have a fear that people won’t turn up if you have a party and two, the pressure to actually have a ‘party’. With my 40th creeping up I kinda figured I would keep it quite low profile and celebrate with family and a few close friends.
Well, how wrong was I? My closest friends weren’t going to let me sit this one out.
When the texts and messages starting coming in asking what the plan was and where we were going? Then a link to a holiday home later – I found myself booking a holiday cottage in Camber Sands, near Rye in Kent.
Choosing to celebrate with my 4 closest friends who I have known for 20 odd years seems the most natural thing. Throw in the husbands and the kids – which now total 7 between us (how did that happen?) it was going to take some planning. I knew we needed a place that was close to the beach, near good restaurants or a little town for shopping – plus enough space to a contain us all.
Finding something with not much notice to fit us all proved a challenge so when I finally found Samphire – I couldn’t believe my luck. We did have to make up kids beds in the lounge, push beds together and share rooms with the kids – but overall the house was the perfect setting for a party
If you are thinking of heading to Camber Sands or the surrounding area see my list below of things not to miss…
** 10 Family Friendly things to see, do & eat in Camber Sands **
1) The Gallivant
Inspired by the coastal motels you find on the Californian highway this cool restaurant with rooms is a must-visit. A stones throw from the dunes and beach of Camber and serving up the best food in the area. Book ahead this place gets busy.
The Gallivant, New Lydd Road, Camber
2) Lathe Barn
A cute tearoom serving light lunches and cream teas inside and on the patio area. Great for families as it also has a children’s friendly farm, outside play area, inside play barn, mini-golf, go-carts and a gift shop.
Lathe Barn, Donkey Street, Romney Marsh
3) The George in Rye
A gorgeous boutique hotel in the centre of Rye. With stylish rooms, The George Grill serving freshly caught seafood (like its infamous Bay Fish Casserole) and The George Tap (serving possibly the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had) – The George is the place to be. Don’t miss the outside courtyard for afternoon drinks and The Shop Next Door – where you can buy everything you may have seen or used in the hotel (the Frette linens, the Ren bath products and everything even down to the Farrow & Ball paint).
The George in Rye, 98 High Street, Rye
4) Rye Castle Museum
The Local history museum of Rye in a former brewers bottling factory with two sites and major displays, artefacts and local history.
Rye Castle Museum, 3 East Street
5) The Apothecary Coffee House
For the best coffee in town. In an 18th century setting this vintage Apothecary shop also serves light lunches, breakfast pastries and its famous crepes.
Apothecary House, No.1 East Street, Rye
6) Camber Castle
This former artillery fort was built by Henry VIII and now lies in ruins close to Rye Harbour. It can be reached on foot from the Rye Harbour Road or through the Rue Nature Reseve. Guided tours only.
Camber Castle – English Heritage
7) The Mermaid Inn
A 15th-century Tudor-style inn with b&b and bar. Famous for its sloping ceilings, creaking floorboards, cellars (dating back to 1156) and ghosts! The Giants Fireplace Bar – a huge, open log fire is where the infamous Hawkhurst gang of smugglers were sat to have sat.
The Mermaid Inn, Mermaid Street, Rye
8) Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Part of the Aspinall Foundation this animal reserve is set in 600 acres of countryside this wildlife park houses over 650 are and endangered animals also has a hotel, cottages, safari tents and luxe tree houses.
Port Lympne Reserve, Nr. Ashford, Kent
9) Dungeness Beach
More of an exploring and hiking beach than the soft sands of Camber. This vast shingle beach is flat, if not a little bleak but with amazing views to the two lighthouses and of course the Dungeness nuclear power station. Make a day of it with the miniature coastal railway with a steam train that run across the Romney Marsh to Hythe.
Dungeness Beach, Kent
10) Dungeness Fish Hut Snack Shack
And, if you do head to Dungeness don’t miss the ‘snack shack’. Offering delicious beach food caught straight from the sea with its very own fishing boats. Grilled fish baps, lobster and crab rolls – and in the colder months smoked cod chowder. Take a seat on the wooden benches, stripy deck chairs or on the shingles. Open Thurs – Sun only.
Dungeness Fish Hut, Dungeness Road