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A weekend away in Dungeness

By Nikki White

"Who would want to go and stay in Dungeness?" asked a colleague. "Isn't that where the power station is?"

Well, yes, it is. There's no ignoring it. There's a huge power station there but turn your back on it, and you forget it's there, and in a weird kind of way, at night, it has a beauty all of its own.

The beach at Dungeness
The beach at Dungeness

But forget the power station, there's so much more the area has to offer.

Dungeness in January might not be an obvious choice, but sometimes it's the unusual that delivers.

We arrived at our home for the weekend in the dark, so had little idea of our surroundings apart from the fact we were incredibly close to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway line and a two minute walk from The Pilot Inn.

Fish and chips come in generous portions at The Pilot Inn, Dungeness (6775311)
Fish and chips come in generous portions at The Pilot Inn, Dungeness (6775311)

Famous for its fish and chips, there was just one place to go for dinner, and plenty of others had the same idea. Even on a cold Friday evening in January it was busy, the welcome was warm, the generous portions delicious and if you aren't driving, try a pint of B17, brewed especially for the pub by the Romney Marsh Brewery.

It's in honour of the B17 Flying Fortress bomber Sleepytime Girl that ditched off Dungeness in 1944. Only four of the crew of 10 survived.

If you were going to have a beer brewed in your honour, this would be the one you want. You won't forget it, nor those who inspired it.

The B17 memorial at The Pilot Inn, Dungeness (6775309)
The B17 memorial at The Pilot Inn, Dungeness (6775309)

It was then back to our cottage, which was warm and more than a match for the wind that had decided to start howling outside.

We hunkered down, lit the wood burner and settled in for what was left of the evening.

The fire roaring in the log burner means the place is cosy
The fire roaring in the log burner means the place is cosy

Seaview is well-equipped with everything you could need during your stay, from the everyday essentials to binoculars and flasks, and thoughtful touches such as some biscuits and fudge bought from the neighbours - the RNLI station.

The restored fisherman's cottage sleeps four, with a double bed on the ground floor while the whole of the upstairs is devoted to two single beds - an ideal den for kids.

The next morning, it was time to explore. After a hearty homecooked breakfast, we sat with a mug of tea on the bench out the front, watching the wide variety of birds fly by with the sea not far away to provide a serene backdrop.

It was then we realised how close we were to the narrow gauge railway line - about 20 paces. How cool is that?

Fuelled with bacon and tea, we set off.

The view from Seaview
The view from Seaview

Beaches are beautiful in summertime but winter has its attractions too. There's no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing, and wrapped up against the cold, we walked along the shingle beach, watched some fishermen land their boat and walked out to both lighthouses.

We stopped off for a mug of tea at the RH&DR cafe, The End of the Line. If it's good enough for The Who frontman Roger Daltrey, who opened it in 2016, it's good enough for us.

The RH&DR began running to Dungeness in 1928. Southern Railway was also operating in the area and there are still signs of the former railway as many of the cottages have been made from old carriages.

It is as popular with grown-ups as it is with children, and if you've never taken a trip, add it to your bucket list.

With such a vast landscape of sea, sky and desert (Dungeness is dubbed as Britain's only one), it's a draw for photographers and artists some of whom have tiny studios there showcasing their work.

Vast open skies as the night draws in at Dungeness (6775341)
Vast open skies as the night draws in at Dungeness (6775341)

It is also popular with anglers and birdwatchers, particularly the nearby RSPB reserve.

Dungeness is a National Nature Reserve and of international importance as it is home to many uncommon plants, insects and spiders. Some aren't found anywhere else in Britain.

Purely for the sake of research (okay, that's just an excuse), we next stopped off at The Britannia Inn. Again, there was a warm welcome, huge portions of fish and chips but a wider menu for those looking for something else (we'll be going back to try out more).

It was then back to the cosy cottage for a homecooked meal in front of the roaring fire, a bottle of fizz and a movie.

Seaview, Dungeness (6440208)
Seaview, Dungeness (6440208)

For two, Seaview is perfect for a romantic getaway - you could while away the entire day just sat on the bench outside, watching not much of the world go by.

The tranquility gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and we found ourselves ignoring the time and just doing what we wanted when we felt like it.

For families, there's still much to do on your doorstep, with Kent's coast to explore, Camber just down the road for sandy beaches and swimming, and Rye for a picturesque place to explore.

But with a railway running through your garden, let the people come to you, give them a wave and watch them leave again - as you soak up the peace and quiet.

Factfile

Nikki was a guest of Mulberry Cottages.

Find out more about Seaview at

https://www.mulberrycottages.com/cottage/holiday-cottages-in-kent/71749-seaview/

Pricing: £640 - 3 nights / £800 - 7 nights

Mulberry Cottages, a boutique holiday lettings agency, comprises more than 600 unique, handpicked, self-catering properties across the south of England. Mulberry Cottages specialises in luxury breaks away, helping guests not only to secure their perfect holiday house, but also helping to arrange an array of other elements for the holiday, including catering, babysitting, group activities and full celebration solutions.

Mulberry Cottages’ 40 staff are based across three offices in Canterbury, Winchester and Cheltenham, closely managing a portfolio of properties which span stately homes to converted railway carriages, coastal grand designs to ultra-modern city pads. More than half the portfolio are pet-friendly and over 250 are in Kent. Mulberry Cottages is part of the Vacation Rentals (UK) Group.

To book visit mulberrycottages.com or call 01227 464958

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