The cottage is situated in the heart of Sandgate, a village with a unique character and history. Our family moved to the area in the 1960’s when Sandgate was full of small antique shops. In the last few years the village has transformed with Sandgate being home to a number of café, restaurants & bars all within a few minutes walk of our cottage.
Metres from the cottage on the sea wall is Sandgate Castle now a private home but once part of the English defence against the threat of invasion from France it was originally built by Henry VIII and subsequently re-enforced to deter Napoleon it was part of a chain of defences built right along the south coast in the form of Martello Towers. Looking out to sea on a clear day you will sea the beaches of France & even possibly the French village of Sangatte.
To the right across the bay you can the Dungeness Peninsula one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe at the tip of the Romney Marshes and beyond that the historic town of Rye. All along this coast in cottages like Sea View were families dependent on smuggling. Behind the sandy beaches and the sea wall of the Romney Marsh lies the village of Dymchurch home to Dr Syn vicar & notorious smuggler the Scarecrow.
From Sea View you can walk or cycle along the sea front towards Hythe or Folkestone.
Folkestone heyday as a seaside resort was in Edwardian England when royalty and the upper classes made it a popular holiday destination. The grand Edwardian houses, the two enormous hotel buildings, The Grand & The Imperial dominate the Leas where the fashionable folk of the early 20th Century promenaded still stay testament to a rich past. The world wars & the advent of cheap overseas holidays put pay to its glorious past. The loss of the channel ferries to the Tunnel cemented Folkestones economic decline.
The town can thank the generosity of Roger De Haan who having made his fortune from Saga has helped re-invent Folkestone as a destination. Funding the Folkestone Triennial an Art event that has left Folkestone with an eclectic collection of 84 peices of public art through the town and on the sea front. The old High Street once a forgotten cobbled descent to the Harbour has been transformed into the creative quarter with artists & craft shops lining the way to a transformed Harbour. Transformed by the presence of RockSalt restaurant perched over the harbour and the restoration of the Harbour Arm. This was where the Orient Express Train met the ferry to France, now home to pop up cafe's, restaurants and bars humming with life through the summer days. Having walked from the cottage to Folkestone nothing better than to have a glass of English bubbly in the lighthouse bar.
Folkestone is now being rediscovered its gritty charm being the subject of surprised praise in fashionable magazines like Bazaar
Turn the other way and cycle along the sea wall to Hythe. This is a beautiful little town with none of the brash bustle of Folkestone its High Street home to little cafe's & a few restaurants. Above the High Street is the Old Church with its extraordinary ossary full of bones. From the church you can look down across the Romney Marshes. At the west end of Hythe is the RHDR, the little steam railway that winds its way across the Marshes to Dungeness. If you choose to cycle out of Hythe following the Royal Military Canal you might glimpse African wild life that roams the Hills at Port Lympne wild life park - you will certainly see the remains of the old Roman port. Keep going into the Marsh and enjoy the quiet of the little roads that make up the fifth continent.
Going further afield cross the Marsh and visit Rye Its a fabulous old town do not miss the opportunity to sit in the bar at the Mermaid Inn. Here the Hawkhurst gang met and planned the smuggling raids shipping out wool & bringing in brandy & tobaco. Or turn the other way & visit Dover with its iconic castle defending the coast from medeival times to WW2.