Two weekends ago, I loaded up the car with my weekend bags, and headed off down the A3 to the Sussex Coast.
We’d been due to have a family weekend away in the springtime to celebrate my Dad’s 60th Birthday. However, like so many people, we had to put that on hold for a while.
I’d never been to Bognor Regis before, and I have to admit, the image I had in my head, wasn’t great! I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the name of the place that just makes it sound a bit grubby!!
When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. Although we weren’t in Bognor itself for long, I saw enough of it to realise my pre-conceived image of Bognor was far from reality. It seemed to be a nice little traditional British seaside resort.
Considering it was forecast to be the last warm weekend for a while, Bognor was surprisingly quiet.
We had to walk a fair distance in order to find somewhere to eat (largely due to having to find somewhere with wheelchair access for my brother), but when we did, the few people who were inside and outside the pub were all social distancing, and masked up.
Our weekend away happened just before tighter restrictions have come back into force for a lot of the UK, so we were lucky to get away when we did. Whilst my life in London had gone back to something near normal, mum and dad had still been in a little bubble, and hadn’t ventured out much since restrictions had lifted, especially in terms of eating and drinking out. I could sense mum was aprehensive, but throughout the weekend I could feel her start to relax and enjoy doing something ‘normal’ again.
After lunch we headed off to Pagham where we would be staying for the next 3 nights.
I’d been quite stressed leading up to our time away, so it was nice to start to feel the stress lift as we settled into our caravan. For our first night there, we decided to have a chilled one and to eat at the ‘The Mash & Barrel’ pub which was onsite. Again, everyone was really good with social distancing and the track & trace system they had there was incredibly thorough.
The following day, we were all up bright and early. Whilst Mum and Dad were getting Ben up, me and my brother Sam, headed off to explore the local area by foot.
From our caravan site we headed to Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, before taking a walk along the pebbly beach at Pagham where we watched the early morning kite surfers doing their thing, before heading back to the caravan.
By the time we got back, Ben was up and raring to go, so we jumped back into our cars and headed along the coast to Brighton.
What should’ve been a 40/45 minute journey turned into a bit of an epic drive, as it seemed the entire country was trying to get to Brighton!
First, we headed to the Marina as we had arrived around lunchtime, and were pretty confident we would be able to find plenty of food options there. As a family, our days are very much structured around our stomachs! Although this part of town is known for it’s vast selection of restaurants, they were all full to the brim, with little social distancing going on! So, instead, we headed off the beaten track to where we thought there might be some local cafe’s. Sadly they were all closed, either due to covid or because the holiday season was coming to an end.
After a pit stop in McDonalds (needs must!), we headed along the promenade into the centre of Brighton. Where Bognor had been surprisingly quiet the previous day, Brighton was heaving! People weren’t wearing masks and definitely weren’t social distancing! We did manage to have a nice walk along the pier, and while we were there, my ears pricked up as I heard what I thought was live music. Back on the promenade, there was a fantastic musician who was belting out some pretty awesome rock songs, whilst also playing the guitar and a foot drum! Although we only caught him briefly, it felt so good to hear live music again! Something my ears (and my soul) had very much missed during lockdown.
Thankfully the drive back to Pagham that afternoon was much quicker. Once we were back in our caravan, it was back to thoughts on how we could fill our stomachs that evening. We opted for an Indian takeaway, which was delivered straight to our caravan door! The things you can do with modern technology!
On the last day of our weekend away, it was an opportunity to have a more relaxed day before our drives home the following day.
After a chilled morning, it was time to head over to Runcton for a good old Sunday roast in The Walnut Tree (which I’d highly recommend if you’re ever in the area!). I think that’s one of the things I miss most about living on my own, is the lack of a Sunday roast! Sunday’s are generally one of the few days of the week I don’t spend time with my boyfriend, and cooking a roast for one just isn’t quite the same!
After a delicious Beef Roast, and Eton Mess for dessert, it was time to head to Selsey, which is the Southernmost point of the Manhood Peninsula. There’s not a huge amount to see and do in Selsey, but the drive from Runcton to Sussex’s southernmost tip is very pretty, and if you like your scenery a bit more rough around the edges then Selsey might be the place for you.
We actually went to see the lighthouse, but this is long gone and is now part of a nursing home!
We sat by the pebbled beach for a bit, before turning around and heading back to Pagham.
Once we were back at the caravan park, Sam, Dad, and I took a final walk to Pagham Harbour to watch the sunset, before heading back to a fish n chip takeaway.
After the madness of the last 6 months, it really did feel good to get away and to have some normality back in our lives.
Bognor Regis and Pagham were both wonderful surprises, and with them both only being an hour and 20 minutes from Kingston Upon Thames, I definitely plan to head back again soon to explore some more of the Sussex coastline.