When I was a little girl my family used to joke I was a water baby - I have always adored water and the coast. As we were pretty poor growing up, our holidays stretched to camping on the English coast and I guess that's why I always relate a visit to the sea as a holiday or a break.Sure, Brighton and the surrounding areas have beaches but when I need to refresh and breathe in some inspiration I head to one of two of my happy places, the first being Camber. To me the beach there has an energy about it that no other beach I know has - for this reason I try and visit three or four times a year. It's well worth the 90 minute drive (if you drive a back way from Lewes through Heathfield the route is stunning) and if you fancied a stay over there are many options for beautiful places to stay in. Not that you would guess that while you're at Camber, it's like a ghost town really, a forgotten place that has past it's heyday. Small sanded lanes weave through bungalows that show signs of life but the inhabitants are nowhere to be seen, starlings litter the electricity lines and teenagers from the Pontin's lollop by clutching bags of beer and sweets. There's something comforting about stopping at the little cafe on the beach and having a builders tea while contemplating if it's too cold to have an ice-cream. There's no airs and graces, just beach and dunes (if you did want to venture off the beach and have a bit more of an upmarket lunch, you could head to The Gallivant).
No visit to Camber is complete without a visit to Dungeness. Dungeness is like the end of the earth - I adore it. Little shacks adorn the barren landscape and if you get your timing right you can see the little steam train chugging across the landscape to the power station.At the two pubs at Dungeness there are no craft beers, food that belongs in the seventies and decor that wouldn't look out of place in faulty towers but there's something so refreshing about that - half an ale and packet of scampi fries is just enough to sit and enjoy the simpler things for a while.
Where's your happy place? Do you have somewhere you retreat to when you just need to breathe in some air? Or perhaps you are different to me and find the busy of a city comforting?
Formally Emma Gutteridge