In our business, holiday reading is always a hot topic (even if we don’t get much time to read ourselves!). Now because you’re going to be on our lovely beaches, country trails, coastal paths, and marshland, we figure you’ll be open to reading time on sandy towels, benches, picnic blankets, comfy sofas and even rocky outcrops. So we’ve searched our library shelves for inspiration to keep you comfortable and content wherever you park yourself for a read.
The result? A selection of the best books about Camber, Rye and East Sussex, perfect for browsing before you set off for the sands and even better to read once you’re relaxing on the glorious beach at Camber.
We’ve gone for an eclectic choice to suit all tastes. You’ll find some beach reads, coffee table treasures, a few that delve into local history and a practical guide (or two) on things to see and do when you’re on holiday at Camber. So, take a look, pick your favourites and buy them ready to read this summer in Camber Sands.
Best beach reads featuring Camber and Rye
Our picks for page-turners while you’re relaxing on the sands at Camber this summer.
The Rye Rooftop Club
If you’re looking for a bit of a giggle and a dose of romance plus an occasional plot twist, this novel featuring Rye is for you. It’s the first from local author Mark Feakins and has received rave reviews.
Fans love the colourful and realistic characters (including a stray dog) and we enjoyed the humour on almost every page. Rye features as one of the main characters, of course, so you’ll recognise local landmarks. But perhaps not when it snows…
Mark has also written a sequel, Mother’s Day, which promises more of the same laughter and romance. It’s on our TBR list – if you’ve read it yet, let us know what you think!
The Summer Before the War
Take a step back in time to the summer of 1914 on the eve of the First World War when teacher Beatrice Nash arrives to work in Rye. She falls in love with the beauty of the local countryside (we know why!) but has to battle against local prejudice while real war looms on the horizon.
Author Helen Simonson has won huge acclaim for this novel – writer Paula McLain says she’s like a Jane Austen or Henry James. And we too were swept away by the historic atmosphere and endearing characters. Be prepared to shed a wee tear at the end…
Available in paperback – buy your copy here
Did you know? Reading a great book is just one of the things you can get up to when you’re on holiday at Camber. For some inspiration, check out 49 other things to do in East Sussex
Best history books about Camber and Rye
If you’re interested in the local history of 1066 country, these books should be on your summer reading list.
Secret Rye and Around
Rye is certainly atmospheric – there’s something intriguing about the cobbled streets and alleyways – and the town has many secrets. Some of them are revealed in this fascinating book by Terry Philpot, who likes nothing more than uncovering unusual facts.
We found this book a real eye-opener and enjoyed discovering secrets about Rye’s invaders and smugglers as well as its famous residents. Recommended if you love digging deep.
Rye and Around from Old Photographs
They say a picture paints a thousand words, and in this little gem, it’s the photos doing the talking. Author Alan Dickinson has cherry picked images of Rye from the 1850s through to the early 1900s to showcase life in the town.
The result is a treasure trove of our local town, which hasn’t changed much on the surface. But take a closer look at these photos and you’ll see that the way Rye residents live now couldn’t be more different than 150 years ago.
An Eccentric Tour of East Sussex
Think you know Camber and Rye? Feel you’re a connoisseur of East Sussex? This quirky volume by local writer Peter Bridgewater may well make you think again. It comes packed with the weird and wonderful, from Hollywood by the Sea to the Bigger Bang.
We love these fun facts, which certainly make us look at our beloved county with new eyes. And it’s encouraged us to keep an eye open for these bizarre sights when we’re out and about!
Did you know? Steeped in history and packed to the brim with atmospheric corners, Rye also has several resident phantoms. Read about the ghosts in Rye
Best coffee table treasures featuring Camber and Rye
Our choice of gorgeous hardbacks to have on your coffee table will remind you of East Sussex, again and again.
Ravilious in Pictures 1: Sussex and the Downs
Painter Eric Ravilious loved the South Downs, the inspiration behind the 22 pictures featured in this lovely book. You’ll rediscover familiar sights and explore new ones as you browse Ravilious’ vision of this unique landscape.
As well as the paintings, we love the short stories about the history of the scenes. You’ll find one for each picture and by the end, you’ll have real insight into the English countryside culture between the two wars.
The Rye and Camber Tramway
If you’ve done the Rye to Camber walk, you’ll have seen some of the old tracks once used by the local 3-foot gauge light railing. The Rye and Camber Tramway carried passengers down to our lovely sands from 1895 and 1939, surely the perfect way to travel to the beach?
This attractive hardback tells the full story and includes photos of the train and passengers. You’ll also find track plans and scale drawings. If only the Rye and Camber was still running…
Did you know? One of the best ways to get up close and personal with Rye is when you stay in the area. Check out our selection of simply lovely holiday cottages in Camber
Best practical guidebooks about Camber and Rye
No reading list would be complete with some useful information and advice – here’s our pick of the best East Sussex guidebooks.
Guide to East Sussex Pub Walks
We’ve always believed that one of the best ways to enjoy Camber and its lovely surroundings is to get out on a walk and finish it at one of the area’s excellent pubs. But rather than taking our word for it, get yourself a copy of this pocket-sized guidebook and see for yourself.
Compiled by David Weller, it takes you on a selection of walking routes in East Sussex and all of them start and finish at a good pub (what’s not to love?!). And for those of us who aren’t great at navigating, it comes with handy clear maps for every walk.
East Sussex Year Round Walks
Also written by David Weller, this walking guide takes a seasonal focus and includes some great suggestions for hikes in winter, spring, summer and autumn. Take a look and we’re sure you’ll agree that East Sussex is wonderful at any time of year.
The book includes walks along the coast – Rye Harbour and nature reserve take pride of place, of course. Inland walks also feature – that’s where Ashdown Forest and the South Downs sit under the spotlight. A must for any lover of the great outdoors.
Did you know? Rye and area also have some great walks for dogs – check out our list of the best on the doorstep at Camber Sands holiday rentals.
Book some reading time on Camber Sands
Our list will take you some time to get through and where better to do it than in Camber itself? So, if you haven’t already, book your stay at Camber Sands now!