We’ve only been at our new location for a few short months but have discovered so many places to eat, drink and do. Why not time your workshop with a stay in the local area? Here are some of my recommendations that should keep you busy for a good few days
Eat & Drink
Stop by for a glass of wine and a cheeseboard at the bar with views over the vineyard, or check out the delicious wood fired pizzas in the open air barn during the summer season. They have rooms if you want to stay the night and a more formal dining area that can be booked for lunch or dinner. With tours, farm animals, a busy event calendar and a lifestyle store there is more than enough to keep you entertained for an afternoon or a weekend stay.
The Bell - Ticehurst
Set in the beautiful village of Ticehurst, The Bell is a must visit when in the area. The outdoor dining area is wonderful in the summer and the food comes straight from an open fire. On colder days the interior of the pub is just as welcoming, with a great sunken dining room perfect for larger groups. They also have rooms available if you want to stay the night.
The Fig - Rye
A brilliant spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. With a focus on fresh ingredients and local produce, its walk ins only during the day but you can book for their evening tapas menu. Great vegetarian and vegan options available.
Snack Shack Dungeness
The place to go if you are a fan of seafood, simple food beautifully cooked to enjoy on picnic tables on the pebbled beach in Dungeness. A converted shipping container acts as the kitchen serving up fresh fish in brioche buns, scallops, prawns and the most incredible crispy potatoes. Get there early, they open at 11.30, it can get really busy most days. After lunch enjoy a stroll around the area, it is one of my favourite places on earth, filled with amazing modern architecture, many of which you can hire out for a short stay.
Three Legs Brewery
If beer is your thing check out The Three Legs Brewery Taproom. Try a beer flight where you can sample four of the beers made on site and team with a cheese and charcuterie board.
A lot of places around here have funny opening times so do check before setting off and try to make reservations where you can to avoid disappointment.
Prospect Cottage - Dungeness
You won’t be able to miss the striking garden as you drive along the main road in Dungeness. An incredible labour of love by film maker, artist and author Derek Jarman after he moved to the house in the 1980’s. The eruption of wild poppies in the early summer is truly breathtaking in the stark landscape of the area where a huge power station looms large in the background.
Dungeness Open Studios
Close to the Britannia Inn you’ll find a collection of sheds that make up the Dungeness Open Studios. I love the Lino prints of the local area and getting to wander through the gorgeous garden as you go between the different spaces. They also have plants for sale so you can take a little bit of this magical landscape home with you.
If you love gardens this is the one for you. The planting is spectacular, full borders, a mass of potted plants and sections of wonderfully curated meadows. There is a good cafe and a fantastic nursery where you can buy lots of the varieties that you will have seen in the gardens. Also if you go at just the right time you might spot a water lily so beautiful it will take your breath away.
A recent discovery, you’ll spot the sign on the left hand side as you head out of Rye along the road to Winchelsea. Through the industrial estates and abandoned buildings keep going until the road runs out and park up in the free car park. From there you can walk through the nature reserve, lots of hides set up for birdwatching, all free to use and of course the obligatory cafe. Keep going and you’ll reach the beach, often completely deserted, a great spot for a longer walk or somewhere to let the dogs run wild.
I think this is my favourite beach in the area. There is free parking on the side of the road, as you reach the top of the steps you’ll see the beach open out on front of you, behind amazing green meadows stretching as far as the eye can see. We tend to go earlier in the day to avoid the crowds, a long walk on the beach or a dip in the sea followed by a coffee and a bite to eat at the Red Pig Food Truck that you’ll find in the lay-by as you head towards Pett Level. Worth driving down this way to have a good nosy at some of the houses that line the road and open up onto the beach at the back.
Probably the most popular beach, dunes open up onto a huge expanse of sand, it can sometimes feel that you’ll never reach the sea. On the approach from Rye use the first car park and stick the the right hand side of the beach if you are bringing the dogs. Drive further into camber and you’ll find another car park that gives you much quicker access to the beach.
The pretty cobbled streets of Rye are perfect for a dander, head up the side streets to discover wonderful old houses and inns, the church yard filled with scented garden roses and some familiar sights for fans of the cult BBC classic Mapp and Lucia. There are lots of vintage shops to explore and some brilliant new additions like Rae, great coffee and cinnamon buns as well as wonderful homewares and Hunter Jones for candles and creams in pretty packaging as well as ceramics from one of my favourites, studio Arhoj