Camber Sands is a popular coastal resort located in East Sussex, close to the border with Kent, and is one of the best-loved holiday destinations on England’s South Coast. Camber Sands, the neighbouring village of Camber and the surrounding area have much to offer for all ages, whether it’s attractions and activities or great places to eat. Find out all you need to know about Camber Sands before you visit with this handy guide, and find out more about our Camber Sands cottages.
Camber's famous sand dunes
HOW TO GET THERE
Camber is reached via Camber Road, a road leading off the A259 near Rye. If you’re travelling from the north or the east, the M20 (running between London and Folkestone) and the A2070 are the best roads to take before approaching the A259. From the west, the A27 travels all the way along the south coast from Portsmouth before becoming the A259. Find a map of Camber Sands below and help plan your route using directions from your location.
The nearest train station to Camber is in Rye 4 miles away. Trains to Rye travel from Hastings in one direction, and from Ashford International in the other. If you’re travelling from London, take the Eurostar from St Pancras and change at Ashford.
CAMBER SANDS BEACH
Camber Sands is a fabulous stretch of unspoilt sandy beach. It features one of the purest and longest dune systems on the South Coast, and the only one to be found in East Sussex. Camber Sands is one of the region’s stand-out beaches as it’s one of the few to have a sandy beach, with many of its neighbours being stone and shingle beaches. It stretches on for almost 5 miles, with the most popular section being the western end, by the mouth of the River Rother. Further to the east, the sands start to make the transition into shingle.
The beach draws in sun seekers from all over the country, so whether you are looking to relax or partake in some adventurous water sport activities, it is the place to be. If you like kitesurfing, or you’d like to learn, then Camber Sands is one of the best places to buy lessons in the south. The Kitesurf Centre offers tutorials, kit hire and a shop. Rye Watersports also offers kitesurfing tuition alongside windsurfing and sailing lessons. Beachcombing is another popular activity on Camber Sands.
When planning a day on the sands, it is well worth making sure you buy a tide table. Alternatively, you can check Magic Seaweed for daily tide times to make sure you get the best use of the beach at both high and low tide.
Dogs on a lead are allowed on the beach from May to September, although there are restricted zones. Always read the signs in public areas to find out where they are. During the quieter winter months dogs are allowed to roam the full stretch of the beach.
ATTRACTIONS IN CAMBER
Besides the beach of Camber Sands, there are plenty of other days out and things to do in and around Camber.
Rye is a short 4-mile drive and is situated at the top of a hill with stunning views across the Romney Marshes. Exploring the sloping cobbled streets, browsing the many craft and antique shops and relaxing in the quaint cafes, you will feel suspended in time. The medieval church and beautifully preserved historic houses give the whole town a wonderful unhurried atmosphere. Many annual events take place in Rye – try the Rye Arts Festival in September, the Rye Bonfire in November, the Rye Society of Artist's Summer Exhibition, the Rye Jazz Festival and Rye Bay Scallops Week. There’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained on an excursion from Camber Sands!
Rye's cobbled streets
There are several places of historical interest close to Camber, one of which is Camber Castle. Because of tidal changes, the fort is now closer to the village of Winchelsea further west along the coast. The English Heritage-managed ruins once defended Rye Harbour and aerial photos reveal the curious circular pattern that the walls make. During the summer months, guided tours are available on the first Saturday of each month.
There are also other castles found within driving distance including Bodiam, Sissinghurst and Knole. The author Henry James lived at Lamb House in nearby Rye, which is managed by the National Trust. This Georgian house in the heart of the town acts as a writer’s house museum.
Across the river from Camber Sands, you’ll find the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest with a variety of landscapes and wildlife to see. Great for bird watchers, with many different species to spot, keen photographers will also enjoy the mix of backdrops which span woodlands, salt marshes, meadows, wetlands and sands. Unusual military fortifications also dot the landscape.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
CAMBER SANDS WEATHER
Like most English seaside destinations, Camber isn’t the warmest of places, especially in winter, when average temperatures reach 5°C. In summer, however, the average temperature is a pleasant 17°C. August is the best time of year to visit, enjoying 8 hours of sunshine a day and water temperatures of 17°C. If you want to avoid downpours during your stay, be aware that November is the wettest month in Camber, with an average of 106mm of rainfall.
Check the live weather forecast for the next few days here.
Beach weather at Camber Sands
NEARBY TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Besides the previously mentioned Rye, there are a few other fantastic places to visit close by, including other pretty coastal towns and unusual villages.
Hastings promises the traditional seaside experience and is a large and lively town with much to see and do. Once you’ve explored the classic attractions of the promenade, the pier and the amusements, make sure you check out the Old Town, home to fishermen’s huts and a rich nautical heritage. With cliff railways, Smugglers Adventure, a shipwreck museum, an aquarium and more to visit, there are plenty of great days out to be had in Hastings.
Bird's-eye view of Hastings
Winchelsea is allegedly the smallest town in England, and is found halfway between Hastings and Rye. Perched on a hilltop, blocks of houses surround a spectacular church and ruins of an abbey. Winchelsea Beach is found at the bottom of the hill, a shingle beach with exposed mud and sand at low tide.
To the east you’ll find the small settlement of Dungeness, set in one of the most unique landscapes in the UK. Set on a large shingle beach and in an area classed as the country’s only desert, colourful huts sit alongside shipwrecks in a truly unusual landscape, offering a photographer’s paradise.
Dungeness' unusual landscape
Home to another stretch of sand and shingle beach at Pett Level, Pett is a peaceful village decorated with pretty cottages and a parish church. It overlooks a lovely coastline, which not only encompasses the beach but also the dazzlingly white chalk cliffs at Cliff End.
CAMBER SANDS ON FILM
Film enthusiasts will be interested to know that many different films and TV programmes have used Camber Sands as a location – often standing in for somewhere else in the world. Perhaps most famously the Carry On gang used the dunes as a backdrop in Carry On Follow That Camel.
History buffs will appreciate the fact that Second World War dramas Dunkirk (1958) and The Longest Day also used the beach. More recently, George Clooney and Matt Damon pitched up in Camber to film scenes from The Monuments Men. The wonderful expanses of sandy beaches seen in Ralph Fiennes’ The Invisible Woman are Camber’s very own and are perhaps cinema’s most beautiful depiction too. TV shows have included episodes of The Inbetweeners and Dr Who.
WHERE TO STAY IN CAMBER
If you’re looking to stay in Camber just a stone’s throw from the beach of Camber Sands and close to all that the surrounding area has to offer, we have some great places to stay in and around Camber Sands. Head to our Camber Sands cottages page to check out our full range of accommodation.