WHERE TO GO
SOUTH EAST As the part of the country closest to the continent, this corner of the UK is packed with history – think castles, martello towers, and battlefields. Head to Broadstairs, Margate and Hastings for traditional seaside frolics, or explore the rolling South Downs for wilder adventures.
The famous White Cliffs of Dover (nationaltrust.org. uk/the-white-cliffsof-dover) are usually viewed from the sea, but a stroll along the top of them is a fantastic day out. Find a vantage point and sit and watch the boats coming in and out of the busy harbour below, walk the high clifftop path,
and take in lungfuls of salty fresh air. Your ramble can be punctuated with stops; visit the South Foreland lighthouse, seek out Second World War remains – there’s a newly uncovered concrete ‘listening ear’, head underground at Fan Bay Deep Shelter (over 12s only), and have a snack in the National Trust cafe.
WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER
Just a few miles along the coast, Dungeness (dungeness-nnr.co.uk) is a marked, strange contrast to its easygoing neighbour. The desolate shingle desert is unique, a fine place to spot migrating birds (the RSPB’s reserve has hides, trails and binocular hire), alienlooking plants and the area’s strange, self-built houses (some fashioned from old train carriages). Arrive in cute style on the tiny Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway (hdr. org.uk), then climb the old lighthouse (dungenesslighthouse. com) for views across the English Channel, the hulking nuclear power station and surrounding countryside.
Camber Sands (camberlife.co.uk) is one of the most magnificent, wild beaches on the mostly shingled south coast. The beach is halfhidden on your approach behind a coastal wall and dunes, so you get a real sense of wonder as you run down a dune onto the wide expanse of sand. It’s a perfect spot for long days in the sun; plenty of space for all, safe seas in which to paddle, and a few cafes and seaside shops, as well as some interesting modern beach houses for parents to fantasise about. The car park fills up early on warm summer days; get there early or take a bus. Your reveille reward may be spotting horses cantering in the surf. It’s even more fabulous in the winter – windy, wild and empty.
FAMILY HOLIDAY GUIDE 2016