When you visit Gusbourne’s vineyards, why not stay a while? Boutique hotel The Gallivant – just a stone’s throw from our estate – is designed as a place to rest, relax and enjoy life’s greatest pleasures. Allie Mount finds out more.

City life: I love it, but sometimes you need a change of pace. So, in search of a spring re-charge, my husband and I booked a stay at The Gallivant in Camber. Only 90 minutes’ drive from London, it’s within easy reach, yet feels worlds away. A perfect escape.

Tucked away behind rolling sand dunes, The Gallivant’s low profile blends seamlessly into its seaside environs. Aside from the cool bluster of the spring wind, you could be in Cape Cod or the Hamptons – and this impression of chic, seaside luxury endures once you step through the doors for the warmest of welcomes.

As you might expect from a boutique hotel of this calibre, each of The Gallivant’s rooms has its own design personality. For us, the Garden Room – with French doors opening onto a private deck – was the perfect choice (especially as our chocolate Labrador Lily was also joining us overnight). Every detail of the room was as stylish as it was thoughtful, from the scent of Bamford products to the warm, dark-oak floors, gorgeous fabrics and chic beach décor. Tempting though it was to retreat into the calm and comfort of our little sanctuary and go no further, we couldn’t wait to explore the rest of the spaces.  

The Gallivant’s interiors are a Grand Design dream – it’s open plan, yet cleverly zoned to create inviting, individually curated spaces. The warm ambience flows throughout, mingling amongst the guests wherever you decide to settle.

It’s not just the design of the spaces that helped us feel at ease alongside our fellow guests: The Gallivant also has a signature tradition of English Wine at Five. The idea is to encourage everyone to gather to share a glass of something special – a convivial moment and a celebration of the incredible wines produced on the hotel’s doorstep.

Founder Harry Cragoe has long been an advocate of English wine: he’s built the largest list of English wines of any venue, including a note of “miles from the hotel” for each producer. So, at 5pm, while Lily gently snoozed by the fireside, we enjoyed a taste of Simpson’s Gravel Castle Chardonnay and relaxed into our evening. We took advantage of the nostalgic array of wooden board games ranged around the sitting room for a lively round or two of ‘Shut the Box’.

A surprise treat was the Oyster Happy Hour, which was paired with a flight of Gusbourne wines – Brut Reserve 2020, Rosé 2019 and Blanc de Blancs 2018. The wines were the perfect accompaniment to the fresh local shellfish.

Later that evening, we joined other guests in the restaurant for dinner, prepared by The Gallivant’s talented chef Nico. The food was exceptional – from the beef crackers (a must try) to the lobster cocktail and sumptuous skate wing, roasted over open fire. The vegetable sides are not to be missed either. Chef Nico gives vegetables an equally starring role as the mains. Hispi cabbage with miso and preserved lemon was a real winner.

The food ethos – with sustainability at its heart – made our meal all the more enjoyable: 90% of the ingredients used in the kitchen come from the British Isles.

Our evening was blissfully relaxed and unhurried; there’s no pressure of table-turning here. Kerry, who leads the front of house team, took exceptionally good care of us, and we left late in the evening feeling happy and delightfully full.

We woke ready to be eased into the morning with a yoga session, led by Katie, and held in the airy barn. With the expanse of Camber Sands on the doorstep, there’s also the option for a morning run or walk along the beach. Either way, you’ll feel like you’ve earned the delicious, energising breakfast.

There’s no need to be too virtuous though – Mimosas and lazy brunch options (Aberdeen Angus steak with seaweed fries sounds anyone?) are every bit as appealing. After all, it’s not every day you get to enjoy this kind of escape. At last we were ready to check out, relaxed and refreshed. We were excited to venture out into wine country, safe in the knowledge that with so much to explore on the doorstep we had the perfect reason to return.


Enjoying Gusbourne out in the wild

Whether you’d like a tour and tasting at our vineyards, or simply want to enjoy your bottle of Gusbourne out in the Kentish countryside, here are our top recommendations.

The Gallivant x Gusbourne

The Gallivant is one of Kent’s most stylish settings for a glass of Gusbourne – but, more than that, it’s a true gateway into discovering English wine. The hotel’s extensive wine list and “English Wine at Five” moment is just the beginning. Guests can book an exclusive English Wine Experience at Gusbourne – this comprises a privately hosted visit to the vineyards, a delicious lunch and tastings of rare wines which aren’t usually available to the general public. At the end of your visit, make sure to stop in at the Cellar Door shop to pick up a bottle or two to accompany your Kent adventures.

The Snack Shack, Dungeness
What to bring: Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2019

An unassuming shipping container perched on the edge of a shingle beach should be enough to catch the eye of any foodie worth their salt. And this destination Snack Shack will not disappoint. Open seasonally, when weather allows and when the fishing boats have come in, here you can source a fish-lovers feast. From June to October – if time and tide are in your favour – you can buy succulent lobster rolls, scallop flatbread or crab that’s as fresh as it comes. The catch of the day is reliably pristine and delicious. You can also BYOB, so arrive with Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs and glasses; then settle yourself on one of the benches and indulge in the best seafood money can buy.

Canterbury Cobble from The Goods Shed, Canterbury
What to bring: Gusbourne Blanc de Noirs 2019

If you’re under your own steam then pick up a picnic to go alongside your bottle of Gusbourne. The Goods Shed is a foodie gem with all the pleasures of a farmers’ market but set against the architectural splendour of a listed Victorian railway shed. Inside, you’ll enjoy the mouth-watering anticipation of selecting your own picnic goodies. We love thick wedges of Canterbury Cobble, an umami-rich, sweet, nutty, semi-soft, brine-washed cow’s milk cheese or the decadently rich, oozingly good Bowyer’s from Cheesemakers of Canterbury. You’ll also find delicious Kentish fruit to munch alongside and lovingly made sourdough from Dockers. All that’s left to do is find your picnic spot and open your bottle of Gusbourne.


Maggie’s cod and chips, Old Hastings
What to bring: Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2020

A chilled glass of Gusbourne Brut Reserve enjoyed with piping hot fish and chips has to be one of the best food-and-wine pairings known to man – even better when savoured with views of the crashing waves and a saline tang in the air. Head down to the shingle shorefront of Hastings Old Town. Here, set amongst the picturesque silhouettes of the historic three-story net sheds and beached fishing boats, you’ll find Maggie’s – AKA the best fish and chips in Hastings. Be warned, on a sunny day there’ll be a queue, so call ahead (01424 430205). Order the cod and chips – you can expect light, crisp batter; pearlescent, flaky white fish and fluffy flavoursome chips. The fresh acidity of the wine cuts through the richness of the batter like a squeeze of lemon juice. Delicious.