now that Robert is working at weekends, we have decided to explore parts of UK that we have rarely visited. we asked a friend for a recommendation of a hotel and ended up at the Gallivant on Camber Sands. Typically the weather was grim, grey, cold and drizzly, so we first headed for the ancient town of Rye – a very pretty town, up and down steep cobbled streets. we parked by the quay and ambled around the street. I have never seen so many gift and vintage shops in one little old town – the good thing was that there were no chains on the main street.

my favourite were Merchant and Mills, an emporium of cottons in so many colours and patterns, it really made me want to get my machine out and learn to sew. They also sell so many useful gift ideas, such as little sewing kits, great array of scissors, and lovely patterns to make workwear style clothes.

I bought some lovely vintage towels from Soap and Salvation, a lovely old chapel selling a mix of vintage and craft style objects; there are a great church beeswax candles from Puckhaber and handwoven rugs and baskets from Rae. Also delicious hand made chocolate from Rye Chocolates we ate lunch at the Fig, nice and healthy. there are a lot of places to choose from, so it depends how you feel on the day. Mermaid street is a lovely old street that looks like a film set – one tip, don’t wear heels whilst walking around, the cobbles were difficult with boots on as quite uneven.

Gallivant hotel is a 10 min drive away, right by Camber Sands – a short, but steep climb over the dunes takes you to the vast beach. The tide was out when we arrived, and there was the typical film crew on the beach, but it really is a beautiful sandy beach

Its worth a drive to Rye harbour, watching the boats come in – there is a pub there to grab a drink and a bite to eat, strangely selling Greek food, rather than fish, which is what you would expect. you could get fish and chips. Just 10 mins away is Westchelsea beach – a pebble beach, but much easier to reach from the roadside.

its definitely a great day trip out; we stayed the night at the Gallivant, where the food was very good, dinner and breakfast. I even managed to do an early morning yoga stretch class – there are 2 daily classes plus and meditation walk on offer. Its pricey, but I think that all hotels in the UK seem highly priced at present; Jeake’s House looked quite quaint in the old town of Rye. it really is a breath of fresh air, taking you away from the despair that we seem to be surrounded by at present.

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