Published: 13:20, 06 October 2019
| Updated: 12:46, 15 October 2019
Kent may be the Garden of England, but its neighbour, East Sussex, is also bursting with beaches, picturesque places and stunning sites - and it's a stone's throw away. Here are six delights to tempt you over the border...
It's appeared in Downton Abbey and Muppets Most Wanted and personifies olde worlde charm. The Bluebell Railway heritage railway began running its steam trains in 1960 and now runs across 11 miles between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. It is one of the first preserved heritage lines in the country, and has of the finest collections of vintage steam locomotives and carriages in the country. From Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13, it will stage its Giants of Steam Autumn Gala, with two special locomotives visiting - the BR Britannia Class No. 70000 Britannia and the LNER Thompson Class B1 61306 Mayflower. The train rides themselves operate three quarters of the year round. Find out more at bluebell-railway.com
Camber Sands is just that - several miles of sand. Also home to the only sand dunes in East Sussex, it is situated next to the village of Camber, near Rye and only just a stone's throw from the Kent border. The best section of beach is the western end near where the River Rother where it is wall to wall sand. As the tide drops out it becomes even bigger with swathes of wet sand revealed - just the sort for making sandcastles. The beach is a popular windsurfing and kite-surfing spot and there are lifeguards on hand in the summer months. Find out more at rother.gov.uk/cambersands
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the British Wildlife Photography Awards and Bodiam Castle in Robertsbridge is one of the first venues on the national tour of the 2019 winners. It features stunning photographs of British wildlife, and celebrates the work of both amateur and professional photographers and their ability to capture nature on our doorstep. With its spiral staircases, battlements and surrounding moat, it will be in a unique setting. The castle grounds and estate are home to a variety of wildlife and nature within its wetlands, wooded areas, trees, and grasslands and is one of the most important bat roosts in the south east of England. To find out more go to bwpawards.org or nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle
An exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the much-loved classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea is at Bateman’s in Burwash, East Sussex until Sunday, November 3 before heading to Knole in Sevenoaks. Originated by the National Centre for Children’s Books, it features high quality facsimiles of Judith Kerr’s original illustrations and brings the book to life. Alongside facsimiles of original artwork, notes and sketches kids can step into Sophie’s kitchen to have tea with a tiger, delve into the dressing-up box and grab a mini stripy Tiger or Mog onesie. Judith, who recently passed away, said of the story: "I first told this story to my small daughter long ago. She was rather critical of my other stories but used to say, ‘Talk the tiger!’” More at nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans. Read our interview with Judith last year here.
Lewes Bonfire Night
Kent and East Sussex figured highly in Lonely Planet's Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist this year, with the Whitstable Oyster festival coming in at 92, Dungeness at 110 and Margate's "baffling" shell grotto at No. 339. The Bonfire Night festivities in Lewes makes the list at No. 31. “Nowhere else in the UK celebrates Bonfire Night quite like this small East Sussex town, which becomes something of a full-blown riot," it said. This year's is on Tuesday, November 5 at 5pm.