As we all know exploring the world at the moment is quite a challenge, so in the meantime, we are contenting ourselves with travelling closer to home in the south and east of England, largely sticking to the coastline as we love the sea. After our great trip to Norfolk and Sherwood Forest in June, we waited out the summer holidays at home, and once the schools had restarted we headed to Suffolk. First stop was Bury St Edmunds, and a big thank you to West Suffolk Council for providing some motorhoming overnight parking spots in the centre of town! We made the most of that and spent our money in the lovely restaurants and cafes there, celebrating Ray’s birthday with the tasting menu at 1921 (Angel Hill) - very special! 😋
After a stop-off near Hessett to visit some friends we headed to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. We were so lucky, the weather was gorgeous and the beach was less than a 5 minute walk from Church Farm Park campsite where we were staying...so, we were up every morning at dawn to watch the sunrise over the North Sea, likely to be one of best memories of 2020! We walked along the beach and around the town each morning and then by 8am were first in the door of Two Magpies cafe for a yummy breakfast! Both Bury St Edmunds and Aldeburgh are lovely towns with lots to see and plenty of history so well worth a visit for anyone in the area.
Now we are exploring the Kent coast...Our first stop was in Herne which is easy cycling distance of Whitstable and Herne Bay, and although the weather meant some re-planning was required we did also manage some beer tasting at Goody Ales, the local brewery and hop farm.
Nethercourt Touring Park, in Ramsgate (where the site managers Mark and Emma get our award for the friendliest and most helpful hosts we have come across this year) proved to be a great base for cycling the Viking Coastal trail. This 30 mile coastal trail hugs the coastline and has loads to see along the way.... https://explorekent.org/activities/viking-coastal-trail/. One unmissable sight is the remains of the Roman fort at Reculver. The fort was established around AD200 and was occupied for the next 200 years before it was abandoned and later re-used as an Anglo-Saxon monastery and then as Reculver’s parish church until the impact of coastal erosion led to its demolition. Only its towers were saved as navigational markers. We stopped for a cream tea at Margate, echoes of its fame as England’s earliest seaside resort can be seen in its huge expanse of beach and the faded grandeur of the town - it lays claim to having the first seaside hotel (1774), first seaside donkey rides (1790) and first seaside use of deckchairs (1898). Broadstairs, with its quaint shops and range of restaurants/cafes is probably the best coastal town in the area but Ramsgate has a lovely marina and harbour and sitting outside one of the harbour-side cafes in the sunshine we could almost have imagined we were in France (less than 30 miles away).
Another great spot to stay is the namesake of the humble sandwich (apparently the 4th Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich when one day in 1762 he did not want to leave his game of cards to eat and so asked his servants to place his serving of roast beef between two slices of bread). Sandwich itself is renowned as being one of the most complete medieval towns in England with its multitude of historic buildings some dating back to the 12th century. Our campsite, Sandwich Leisure Park was almost in the centre of the town, we had a good look around the town and checked out the 16th century guildhall which is now a museum where you can view one of the copies of the Magna Carta and the town’s Tudor courtroom which administered justice for over 400 years until 1987. Any search for history or culture obviously has to be complemented by a drink and The Smugglers, a real ales bar around the corner was a great find and one which we ultimately frequented more than the museum! 😉
We plan to continue our route along the south coast for at least a few more weeks - now that it’s October, motorhome life is obviously becoming increasingly indoor for us and that’s where our liner-for-two with its spacious rear-end lounge really comes into its own. The kitchen is increasingly be used for making some home-made soups and cakes as well as the usual hot meals. There’s something very cosy about sitting indoors, heating turned up, well protected from the cold and rain... we know our motorhome is more than up to the job of handling an English winter so depending on what coronavirus throws at us, we’ll see what happens!