Jason Allen 01/06/24

The Gallivant

The Gallivant is a rather beautiful hotel perched on the edge of Camber Sands, which is a rather beautiful stretch of the English coast.

It sits there, protected from the tides by a hump of sand dunes. And a good thing too – if you’ve ever been to Camber Sands, you’ll know that at high tide the sea could be lapping at those dunes, but at low tide the beach forms an immense expanse of sand, almost disappearing into the horizon itself. It’s truly stunning.

It’s also fairly easy to get to from London, just a couple of hours at most (depending on where you’re coming from) in the car, and even less by train. And taking the train gives you a chance to get out at Rye, a lovely little seaside town a couple of minutes down the road.

The Gallivant

When you do arrive, the first thing you’ll notice is the immaculate attention to detail. In the reception area at the entrance, you’ll see little wellies stacked up, ready for anyone who might need them. There are picnic blankets, just in case you fancy going to the dunes for lunch. The day’s tide times & forecast are displayed on a little wooden panel by the door. There are coats & brollies for guests, just in case. And that care extends to the whole place.

The Gallivant

The vibe of it all is a rather relaxed Hamptons-style enclave, with Art Deco flourishes and touches of bohemian-chic. The walls are dotted with framed vintage swimming costumes (from the owner’s days as a costume designer for the film industry), and there are games & books scattered within reach of every seat. The gleaming copper-topped bar, the plush sofas, and the whitewashed walls all conspire to walk the tightrope between upscale refinement and homely comfort.

And that sense of understated luxury extends to the rooms, too. Each one comes with all the usual conveniences, as well as (depending on what you spring for) sofas, vintage-style radios, marble bathrooms with monsoon showers, freestanding bathtubs, and even their own little patch of garden.

The Gallivant

So, after you’ve checked in and explored the room, you’ll then likely be heading back to the lounge area for a little tea & cake – this is a daily occurrence, and comes as standard to all guests who happen to want some. Or, if the weather cooperates, you might decide you want to take cocktails on the beach, in which case the barkeep will shake up a couple of drinks, decant them into an iced thermos, and pack them with the necessary glassware into a little hamper. After that, there’s oyster happy hour (5:30pm – 6:30pm each day) in which you can get a shuckers for £2 a pop with a glass of rosé.

The Gallivant

And after all that? Well, probably dinner. And what a dinner it will be. The Gallivant is very much a restaurant with rooms, as opposed to a hotel you can eat at. You’ll be lavished with starters such as chalk stream trout with horseradish crème fraîche on a bed of rye toast, or tender pig cheeks bathed in sherry sauce. Then there are the mains, which are bolstered by a selection from the life-fire menu, counting the likes of pork chops, skate wings, and aged ribeyes big enough to share.

The food’s all local where possible (particularly the fish), and the wine list even has a little map of sorts, showing off the local vineyards and their proximity to the hotel itself. In fact, almost half of the wine list is from England, and half of the drinks overall, and most of that is from within 50 miles of the front door. And you know what? English wine is delicious these days.

The Gallivant

Retire to your room and (depending on the package you opt for) you’ll find a tray of sleepy teas waiting for you, with a piping hot insulated bottle of water to infuse them with. The next morning, you can head to the beach for daily yoga (on any package), or pop into the hotel’s tranquil mini spa for a massage.

And then? It’ll probably be time for elevenses.


NOTE: The Gallivant is open now, all year around. You can find out more, and book a stay right here

The Gallivant | New Lydd Rd, Camber, Rye TN31 7RB

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The Gallivant

New Lydd Rd, Camber, Camber, TN31 7RB