Sussex & Kent travel | Rye & Camber Sands | Dungeness & Derek Jarman’s cottage


For my somewhere new in July, I traveled to the ancient, picturesque village of Rye, one of the most convincing lookalikes I’ve found for Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade.

Rye high street

If you ever go to Rye, make sure you climb to the top of the church tower to take in the view.

view from Rye church tower

Camber Sands

I spent the night at Camber Sands, starting with a walk on the beach and sand dunes.

me on Camber Sands

Camber Sands is so beautiful and surprisingly deserted for the middle of July.

Camber Sands sand dunes

We stayed at a hotel called The Gallivant which is worth a visit for the name alone. Recommended if you like gallivanting. Plus they do a tea and cake happy hour, with free snacks from 4 to 5pm.

Dungeness & Romney Marsh

Next day we crossed over from Sussex into Kent, washing up at Dungeness Nuclear Power Station. I don’t recommend going here if you’ve just watched Chernobyl; it’s the definition of bleak. It feels like you’ve fallen off the edge of the world.

Dungeness power station near Derek Jarman cottage

Welcome to my holiday in World of Bleak. This is why the children won’t come away with us any more.

Dungeness and Romney Marsh

The real reason I went to Dungeness was to pay tribute to one of my all time heroes, Derek Jarman. I feel like Jarman deserves to be remembered more than he is. He was an artist, film director, stage designer, author and gardener, and only 52 when he died in 1994.

Jarman made many films including Caravaggio and Jubilee, and directed videos for bands including the Pet Shop Boys and The Smiths.

He was a gay rights activist at a time when it was tough to be so, and his films are among the earliest positive depictions of gay people on screen in the UK.

Prospect Cottage

Jarman was also known for the beautiful sculpture garden at Prospect Cottage, his home in the shadow of the power station in Dungeness.

Derek Jarman Prospect Cottage in 2019

I didn’t want to get to close because Jarman’s partner still lives at the cottage. There was a steady stream of visitors and as long as you’re respectful, you’re welcome. Here’s a beautiful film all about Prospect Cottage that shows a bit more of the gardens:

It was only a couple of days away but we packed a lot in. I haven’t even mentioned the pirate festival of Hastings. Another time maybe!

Have you ever been to Rye, Camber Sands or Dungeness? Are you a Derek Jarman fan? And where do you think I should go next? Preferably somewhere less bleak. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you

I am visiting somewhere new every month this year. Check out my previous adventures here.