Wednesday 12 – Thursday 13 July 2017 – Hampshire and East Sussex, England.
We asked for a slightly later breakfast this morning, we had a much shorter day of driving than on day one. The better news was the weather was much improved on yesterday.
I wanted to show Eleanor one of my favourite parts of the south coast, a place I was surprised she had never been to before. Durdle Dor. I even like the driving around here, some nice villages and lovely countryside; even if a large part of southern Dorset is a series of large army bases.
We were shocked (sadly, not really) at the price of the car park at Durdle Dor, but it is such a lovely place, that it is was worth the cost. I will come back here for sunrise again one day.
Almost, but not quite as nice is Man O’ War Bay, the beach next to Durdle Dor.
For me however, the main event is that wonderful arch of Durdle Dor, just lovely. The steps down to the beach were gone last times I was there, washed away in a storm. It looks like at least one other set of steps had been partly washed away since as well, though there are more there now. I walked down to take a couple of photos, though El stayed at the half way point as it was very muddy and wet, and very slippery after the heavy rain yesterday.
Walking back up to the car park whetted our appetite so we stopped in nearby Swanage for a Dorset cream tea. With coffee, in my case. I sort of like Swanage, it was really busy today, which was a good sign, but with no rail connection it would never be on our list of places to buy.
The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, we crossed Poole Harbour on the small ferry, from very very expensive Studlands to very very expensive Sandbanks, and then took a slow crawl through Bournemouth.
We stopped for a leg stretch and a walk at Mudeford,
Before driving the last few miles to Milford-on-Sea where we had a room in a B & B booked for the night.
We arrived quite early so stopped for a drink in a very modern wine bar, before taking the two minutes to enjoy the sights of the town. It is not big, but it is quite nice.
After checking in and taking a wee rest we walked down to the cliff tops, with their amazing views up the Dorset coast and over to the Isle of Wight. Though I have no photo of the island.
The sea front was quite extensively damaged last winter and had recently been rebuilt and reopened. We later understood, not that this was not entirely popular with all. Even though the beach is pebble I still quite like it.
Our B & B hosts had forgotten we were coming and had bought tickets to see Coldplay in London. Coldplay of all people. Luckily they had remembered at the last minute and had arranged for a nearby friend to look after us, whew! We really liked Milford-on-Sea, and our ‘host’ advised us of a few places to try for an evening meal. In the end we went back to ‘The Cave’, where we had our afternoon glass of wine. They serve tapas in the evening, which suited us just fine. They were very nice too, though London prices. It was a good evening though.
Thursday was another big driving day, but we did take a lie in before eating a slightly smaller than normal B & B breakfast. We were offered the full works, but a whole week of full English breakfasts would be too much! On the way we stopped in nearby Lymington for a look around, it is three miles from Milford-on-Sea and has a mainline station to London, it is not a bad looking town, lots of shops, and a very nice looking deli, that served what was possibly the worst coffee of the trip. This was my third bad coffee since leaving London. Maybe it is time to review the leaving London plan! It was so bad I threw it away.
We spent the next three or so hours in the car, bypassing Southampton and Portsmouth. I wanted to stop at Bognor Regis, just because of the name, I am sure I went there as a child, something I will check with mum when she is here. We didn’t stop, nor did we stop in Worthing, Brighton or Hove. We drove past them all. We planned to stop in Eastbourne, as we have heard it is quite nice, however the traffic was bad and I could not find anywhere to park and, well I was getting sick of driving.
We did stop in Bexhill for a leg stretch, I wanted to see the famous De La Warr Pavilion, which was totally underwhelming from the road, so we drove on past. The pavilion was built in 1935 and is considered Britain’s first modernist building. I know it from the first book in the late Spike Milligan’s war memoirs – ‘Adolf Hitler, my part in is downfall’, one of the funniest books I have ever read.
We carried on up the coast to Hastings. The coastal area from Bexhill up, is slowly being renovated, tidied up and gentrified. I like it, it is a nice bit of coast. Though with slow train routes in to London, and a still slightly ‘chavy’ reputation, it is not quite us, yet. We stopped in Hastings for a walk, primarily as I found somewhere to park with very little faffing and stress. The area around the old town is quite nice, we particularly liked the old fishing net stores on the seafront. A place to come back to.
Our final stop for the day was the B & B, on the edge of another no shop village, Fairlight, a few miles north of Hastings. Another lovely old building, the most expensive room of the trip, and by far the best. A magnificent shower and a big old claw foot bath.
There was nowhere in walking distance for dinner so we drove to one of the local and recommended pubs for some food. We took a detour on the way to buy some wine from the closest shop in Winchelsea-on-Sea. Our first choice pub, over the road from the shop was not serving food so we turned to choice too in nearby Pett. We did on the massive sea walls near Winchelsea, for a view out over the sea.
After dinner we retired back to the room, had a glass of wine and went to bed early, and knackered.