We’ve stayed at The Gallivant a few times now, always in February or March, usually for our wedding anniversary or Nick’s birthday. Camber Sands is about 35 miles along the coast towards Kent and it has the most glorious sandy beach that seems to go on for miles.
In the summer, it’s heaving with visitors. This year we noticed even more stringent barriers have been placed along the entrance road to stop people parking on the verges. The main car park is actually just a field which backs up to the sand dunes, but it’s now run by a private parking company and we noticed they’ve put up about a hundred threatening signs about the place – ‘CAR PARK IS LOCKED EVERY NIGHT AT 10PM – STRICTLY NO OVERNIGHT PARKING’, ‘NO CHANGE GIVEN FOR PARKING MACHINES’, ‘NO ENTRY – ONE WAY – EXIT ONLY’, ‘FAILURE TO PAY THE CORRECT PARKING WILL RESULT IN PROSECUTION’ etc etc. There are ugly security gates, the kind you might get at a nuclear installation or army base.The whole thing is quite aggressive and spoils the lovely old-fashioned seaside feel of the place. It says the car park has 1800 spaces. And there are other car parks. So you can imagine how busy it gets in July. There’s also a big Pontins.
Anyway, February in Camber is very quiet! Last year our visit coincided with the ‘beast from the East’ big freeze and we were literally too cold to walk on the beach. But this year we were lucky. Sunny and beautiful. The beach is clean and vast.
The Gallivant has had a major refurbishment of its public areas in the last year, and the new lounge area and bar is cosy and fun. We’ve always eaten well there before, but on this occasion the dinner wasn’t the best we’ve had. But they still have a lovely tradition of afternoon tea to greet you on arrival, and service is super-friendly. Sign up for their email newsletter and you get to hear of special offers, definitely worth waiting for, as otherwise it can be a bit pricy.