Trip of the month – Kent
Last weekend I celebrated the 50th of one of my best friends by taking her on a GlamperRV, luxury campervan hire adventure. Keen to tap into her architectural passion, I was spurred on by a recommendation to visit to Dungeness. Home to a series of architecturally acclaimed fisherman’s huts, built in the shadow of a nuclear power station, our trip of the month – Kent was created.
We started our adventure with a visit to Elmley Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. Elmley is, at its heart, a family run farm with a long-term vision to restore nature and a commitment to the sustainability of the landscape and land. What a special place – 3,300 acres of wonderful wilderness and breath-taking beauty. The drive into the reserve is along a single track road but no one is in a hurry as the great visibility means spotting rare species of birds is a favourite pastime.
Following lunch in the Cowshed Café and a visit to the hides, it was time for our next port of call and first overnight spot, Whitstable. We parked up at the Primrose Cottage Caravan Park – a very relaxed site, run by the lovely Brian who whilst doesn’t take bookings will always try and find a spot for you. This is not the most scenic campsite but is brilliantly located just a short walk into this hip seaside town. We just made it to the beach for a superb sunset before heading into town to eat. There are a wide range of independent bars and restaurants but as we hadn’t booked our choice was limited. We found a little table at Harbour Street Tapas which proved to be a great find.
Saturday morning our plan had been to cycle along the Viking Trail coastal path into Margate and take the train back. The amateurs we are, we failed to note the direction of the stiff breeze that had picked up overnight. Our progress was severely hampered (or perhaps the brunch in Herne Bay was too good). Either way we had a fantastic morning exploring on our bikes and finding a station a little earlier than planned!
We said our farewell to Brian and headed south east towards the pretty town of Deal. We had chosen to stay at Kingsdown Camping Centre which enjoys a fabulous location on the white cliffs just a few miles outside Deal. You will need your levellers out here as the pitches do slope. You will also have to hold your nerve driving as the last half mile of road is a little on the narrow side with tall hedgerows. We made it through without a scratch but did have to negotiate with on-coming cars.
There are a number of small, rural campsites situated around Deal and I think if it had been open I would have opted for Solleys Ice Cream Dairy 😊 What’s not to like about a campsite with its own ice cream production facility!
Deal is a delightful town and a visit to Deal Pier Kitchen is most definitely worth the trip. Situated in the architecturally acclaimed structure, designed by Niall McLaughlin, at the end of the pier, it is a fabulous place to view the town and enjoy a delicious brunch. Do also include a visit to Deal Castle and slightly further on the coastal path, Walmer Castle, an artillery fort originally constructed by Henry VIII to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire.
From Deal we ventured south to Dungeness and in the absence of overnight parking within the nature reserve decided to ‘camp’ in a car park just up the road. A very quiet spot (especially on a Sunday night) we enjoyed the wide expanse of pebble beach and sea. After a short cycle to the widely acclaimed Pilot Inn for supper, we made sure we set our alarms to be up for the sunrise. This was one of the most magical experiences watching the red ball rise from the sea. How incredibly lucky we were with the weather!
Having woken at 5.30am we were up and parked in Dungeness by 7 and what a spooky place this is. The eeriness was no doubt enhanced by the fact it was early Monday morning! There is plenty to explore here including the protected house and garden created by Derek Jarman. It is most definitely worth a visit.
We both loved Kent, agreed that we could easily have spent longer in each place and there is plenty for a return visit. Our wet weather options of Canterbury and the Turner Contemporary had to take a back seat but we will definitely be back. I would certainly encourage you to do your own trip of the month – Kent as well.
If the sunshine has inspired you to hire a luxury motorhome and explore then do check our website for our latest availability. As I write we have a couple of GlamperRV still available over Easter if you plan to enjoy the long weekend.
As always, happy planning!