Monday, 5 September 2011

Camping in Sussex

We got back last night after a fortnight down south combining visiting friends, a 3 generational camping holiday and a weekend of medieval re-enactment. It's been a really great combination of fun, relaxation, excitement and exploration.

My children and I had driven down from Cumbria with a car full of medieval camping gear and detoured to deliver our old medieval (actually Victorian) cart to a friend just off the A1(M). Nice to catch up with some of our medieval chums after a year. Then it was on to Ascot to stay with friends for Saturday night. The children are all a similar age and very quickly settle in to playing with each other despite a 2 month gap.

The Sunday was spent at a BBQ with my 4 best friends from high school, 3 husbands and our 9 children aged 1 to 8. It was a very relaxed afternoon with the children enjoying the paddling pool in the sun and the grown ups able to chill and chat over a few glasses of sangria and Pimms.

My friend and I enjoying the sun

On the Monday I dragged my children away from their friends to join my parents at Fairfields Farm campsite at Westham near Eastbourne for the main part of our holiday. This is a working farm with plenty of facilities for campers. I'll write a bigger post about it later this week. It took quite a while to fully set up our tent as the children aren't really much of a help yet! We had fish and chips from the village as a well earned reward. In the morning we wandered around exploring the accessible bits of the farm:

One of the farm animals

Then it was off to Hastings to visit some of our old favourite places and have dinner with some friends. It was a bit strange being back as tourists and not as residents but we had a lovely time. Seeing the state of the pier in real life for the first time was quite a sad moment so I hope it can be restored:

Hastings pier from the beach

On the Wednesday my dad chose the Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway as a place to celebrate his birthday. This was great fun for all 3 generations and needs a blogpost of its own to give it a decent write up. Needless to say I would recommend this to anyone with children primary age or under and fab for grown ups too:

One of the steam trains that takes you round

For the Thursday we stayed close to the campsite and walked to Pevensey Castle which was really close by. As English Heritage members we didn't have to pay to explore this castle which was started by the Romans but has the remains of a medieval castle in it as well:

The outer wall of the castle

From the Friday my children and I were involved in the Herstmonceux Medieval Festival at the nearby Herstmonceux Castle. This was a fab weekend seeing old friends and re-enacting life as a Burgundian mercenary gunnery group with battles and camping in replica tents:

Morning siege

We were all shattered after the event so on the Tuesday we simply went to Pevensey Bay to check out the beach there. Like most beaches in Sussex its a pebble beach but we were able to picnic and have a little paddle (the water was very cold!) as well as fly a kite:

Pevensey Bay beach

We took a long drive on the Wednesday to visit Dover Castle to check out the new exhibits that none of us had seen. With a history spanning from the Iron Age to modern history there was plenty to see and we couldn't do it all. The castle is a fantastic place to spend the day and I'll be writing more about it soon!

Dover Castle from the summer car park

To recover from our long day out we mooched around on the Thursday and played games on the site. Then we went to the leisure pool at the Sovereign Centre. As we had young children we stayed in the fun pool but there is also a proper swimming pool. The kids had great fun jumping in, swimming between our legs and I was persuaded to do the flume with my daughter.

For our final day we took another long drive over to Camber Sands which is a fantastic sandy beach just beyond Rye. There are facilities in the car parks for toilets and refreshments so it was a a great place to spend a whole day. We did have to trek over the dunes carrying everything we needed for the beach. The family sized sun shelter made an excellent wind break as well as place to change. We began the day with great weather but unfortunately the sea mist came in and reduced visibility. All of us enjoyed a paddle in the surprisingly warm water and my daughter even managed a brief swim. As with all our family beach trips we constructed a sand boat with plenty of labour from the grown ups:

The next day when we packed the tent it felt like we had brought half the sand from Camber with us as it kept on turning up! We were pretty efficient at packing up the tent on Saturday morning it just takes ages to pack up all the bits and pieces needed for 12 nights of camping...

All of us really enjoyed the break and we are now looking at camping again next year. So if anyone can recommend a campsite near Abersoch (needs facilities like showers and electric hookups!) so we can investigate our options we'd love to hear!

1 comment:

  1. Wow the medievil battle looks lie amazing fun, and my youngest would of been besides himself going to a mini railway like that. Glad you had such a great time. I have awarded you the versitile blogger award, pop over to mine to pick it up x


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