Much as we relish living a stones throw away from the Surrey countryside, we’re lucky in that we can reach the coast in an hour or so. Sometimes it’s nice just to feel the wind in your hair and listen to the sound of the waves isn’t it? A favoured beach is West Wittering, located less than 10 miles away from Chichester. It’s a premier Blue Flag beach but did you know East Head, located walking distance from West Wittering, is also one of the best beaches in the country?
We recently escaped to Center Parcs for a weekend at Longleat with friends. As if being in the forest wasn’t exciting enough, six year old POD was thrilled to have one of her chums and his brother to play with too. Her new Berghaus jacket arrived from Blacks just before the trip which was great timing given she’s outgrown her waterproofs. What a great location for its first outing – not that we aren’t spoilt for choice in Surrey of course!
One of the things I love about the street art in East London is that it’s diverse and continually changes. It keeps the area fresh and means fans of street art the world over will continue to return. That said it’s always a relief to see the most well known or largest pieces stand the test of time. Work by artists such as Banksy, ROA and Stik for example have remained intact for years.
POD has always been a climber. If memory served me right, she climbed before she learnt to walk. I’ll never forget the time she scaled a chair and pulled herself onto the kitchen table all ready to launch herself off it. She’s always been a fan of climbing trees and she asks if she can do Go Ape at the Alice Holt Forest every time we go there. Last weekend we were at Center Parcs in Longleat with some friends, a prime opportunity we thought for a treetop adventure.
We’re just back from a week in the Canary Islands (more on POD Travels soon) where the climate was somewhat more preferable than the blizzard we left behind. Our James Villa Holidays accommodation had a pool which we hoped would provide POD with the freedom to enjoy the water outside of her swimming lessons. When we weren’t galavanting around exploring Lanzarote of course.
Much as I love the Surrey countryside, it’s nice to escape to the beach too. We’re kind of spoilt where we live as we can be by the seaside within an hour. West Wittering is one of our favourite spots and I adore all the colourful beach huts down there. There’s a great mix between the freshly painted ones and those in need of some love. This was such an impromptu trip, we left without our wellies but that wasn’t going to stop us having a good time.
It was one of those days where it was drizzly outdoors but we were craving fresh air. By the time we reached Claremont, the rain was slightly heavier but we were itching to blow away those cobwebs. It always makes me laugh as parents we’ll head out whatever the weather whereas in years gone by we’d probably be more inclined to stay in the warm. Claremont is a wonderful spot though, the estate was once a dukes’ retreat and a playground for princesses and Queen Victoria.
We’ve had many great trips to Brighton in the past. Fatboy Slim playing an open gig on the seafront was certainly one of the most memorable. Some 250,000 people rocked up to see him play one hot summer’s day – over 4 times what the organisers expected. Those pre-parenting days seem a lifetime ago although of course we wouldn’t have it any other way. While POD always enjoys the likes of West Wittering, we made an impromptu trip to Brighton recently as we’d not visited for a while and she’d never been.
Just before POD went back to school, we escaped to Hatchlands Park in the Surrey Hills. Managed by the National Trust, there are a whopping 400 acres of parkland to discover so it’s an ideal spot for blowing away the cobwebs. There’s plenty to keep POD occupied from climbing trees to exploring the natural play area which has its own tree house. This last visit coincided with a trail which involved following the story of Morris and Callum – the Hatchlands Park donkeys.
We’ve been fans of the Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire since we moved from London to Guildford. I seem to remember my first visit was in 2011 when I was on maternity leave and we’ve gone ever since. Managed by the Forestry Commission, these woods are located just a few miles south of Farnham in Surrey. They provide the perfect stomping ground for POD what with the adventure trails and natural play areas which have always suited our little climber. There was something a little bit special about our last visit though in that the light was just superb.