Last week, my cousin Susannah and I jumped in her car and zoomed out of London, hit the open road and headed for the glorious Camber Sands. When I say ‘zoomed’ I mean ‘plodded through London traffic for an hour and then zoom-ished.’
“LOOK!!” I yelled as we wiggled down the final wiggly road… “It’s the SEA!!!!” Maybe it’s something about being a Londoner, but when I see the sea, I feel it always warrants a loud announcement, closely followed by sandcastle building. Seeing as I had left my bucket and spade at home, a yell had to do. Tucked behind the sand dunes of Camber and surrounded by the Romney salt marshes, sits The Gallivant Hotel, which appeared like a magical apparition as we turned the final corner. “Wahooooo!” (That was Susannah, not me.)
We were taken to our lovely room, (there are 18 in total) where we unpacked, showered and got ready for dinner. The rooms have a kind of beach hut feel about them.. but with a massive TV, products from the White Company, stacks of books to read and extremely comfortable beds with luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets. Everything in the room had been carefully considered, adding to the nautical, seaside feel… I especially loved the artisan driftwood furniture, the extremely tasty home-baked cookies, the embedded seashells in the cabinets and the rubber duckie. (I named him George.)
You also have the option to buy pretty much anything that’s in your room, from the white wooden hangers and the little pots of homemade biscuits, to the soft fluffy bathrobes..
We headed down for dinner at 7.30pm and were greeted with the most amazing taster menu that I have ever seen. We oooohed. And ahhhhed… While we waited for our first course to arrive, we were served a lovely local sparkling white wine, which had come straight from the vineyard down the road…
And for dessert, we had the most amazing pear tarte tatin, with creamy vanilla ice cream. This was so utterly delicious, Susannah had to stop me from picking up the plate and licking it. I need a new word for dessert. I need a new word for delicious. This has changed everything. It was sweet, decadent indulgence.
They served this piece of heaven to us with a 5yr old Somerset Cider Brandy… which was like nothing else I have ever tasted and complimented the tarte tartin beautifully. This may also have been the moment when everything Susannah said seemed to be hilarious. (I am not a big drinker).
All the food was exquisite and cooked to perfection. We were full to the brim and feeling very jolly, (I think I rather like brandy) and sleepy, so we selected ‘The Tourist’ from the hotel’s extensive DVD list and watched it from under our duvets, with a cup of tea and no interruptions. Heaven. (I fell asleep half way through the movie, so still have no idea if Johnny Depp survived. Fingers crossed he did. I do like Johnny Depp.)
We woke up the following morning and were faced with this:
So we set off for a sunny walk before breakfast. We stepped out of the front door of the hotel, walked for about 3 minutes and were suddenly in the midst of this:
The Gallivant is the only hotel in Camber Sands and is practically ON the 5 miles of almost deserted beach and sand dunes. It’s a favourite spot for kite surfers too, as it can get pretty windy…
When our tummies started rumbling we knew it was time for brekky, so we headed back and settled ourselves by the window and proceeded to devour the most scrumptious breakfast.
The Gallivant really knows how to do food. Everything is sourced locally and prepared by a genius. Susannah chose soft boiled eggs with marmite soldiers and I opted for porridge, with banana and honey. Which I love. And which was, unsurprisingly, delicious.
We also had a slice (or 3) of their signature homemade Banana Bread, which was light and fluffy and bananary and I can’t believe I had room for it but I did.
After breakfast we packed up and drove the 5 mins down the road to the chocolate box, historic town of Rye…
Rye is packed full of antique shops, cafes, artist galleries, book shops and quaint places to hole up for the afternoon and enjoy a hearty pub lunch. We had a lovely time mooching about the town and chatting to the local shop keepers…
And I even found myself a new lovely cheese dish in the above shop – Tower Forge Interiors. It’s now sitting on my kitchen table.
Finally, it was time for a cup of tea before setting off home back to London…
We had such a lovely time at The Gallivant – the location and the food make a perfect package and it was so fast to get to from London, that I can’t believe I’d never been before.
Double rooms start at around £135 a night, including breakfast) and The Gallivant also offers all sorts of different packages, including a ‘Dog Lover’s Escape‘ (dogs are welcome at the hotel) a ‘Foodie’s Getaway‘ and for the more sporty of you, a ‘Kitesurfer’s Escape‘. They are also fully geared up for weddings – license, tick, marquee, tick, amazing food and location, TICK! (Here’s an example of a beautiful wedding at The Gallivant..)
So, if you do pop over for a beachy getaway, please do say hello from me! (And order the pear tarte tartin – you will want to kiss the chef. And me, for telling you all about it.)
Poppy and Susannah were guests of The Gallivant