After working all over Christmas and New Year, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, we are ready for a break.
Destination Brighton Caravan Club site. Only a couple of hours from home and relatively straightforward to get to. Halfway there and we stop in a huge layby for lunch. Only a quick bite to eat so we choose to eat in the car rather than in the comfort of the caravan. Butties devoured, quick look around for a bin. Stepping out of the car is the most overwhelming smell of gents toilets – lovely. At least the bin has been emptied and not overflowing.
Journey complete, heading into the site is pretty much what you’d expect from the Caravan Club. Booked in by a lovely Australian warden who shared one or two ‘must do’ walks and attractions with us. Barrier opened off we go in search of a pitch. The site isn’t very busy, more Motorhomes than caravans. It always seems easier to find a pitch when it’s busy. A couple of laps completed and we decide to head back to one of our first choices, slightly elevated, looking down on the site.
Legs down, hooked up to the electric, kettle on and relax. Life is so much more relaxed the minute the car is unhitched. It’s like coming home.
The site is what you expect from the Caravan Club. Approximately 157 pitches for tourers and a couple of separate tent areas. With 3 toilet blocks, an information room and a play area the site is well equipped.
A couple of new additions to our Bailey Pursuit this outing the most exciting being our new mattress and pillows from Custom Size Beds to try on this trip. More on these after using them a few times, so looking forward to bedtime though and a decent nights sleep. Another of our little additions is Thumbelina, a pocket sized mouse who was a present for my 50th birthday from a very dear work colleague, who may venture out on day trips with us and has even had a go at writing her own blog.
Another exciting addition is our new bird feeder. Picked up this little bargain from Lidl in early January. Designed to suction onto the window to allow close up viewing. A little bit sceptical as to whether or not the birds would visit with us literally sitting at the other side of the window. It took and few days for the birds to find us but when they did they snaffled the seed and nut mix. Great tits, blue tits, robins, chaffinches and even the odd dunnock.
The floor beaneath the feeder also became a cafe to ground feeders that couldn’t get up to the feeder. Probably one of my best buys yet.
The marina and seafront are within a 30 minute walk of the site, off we trot. As per usual The Boss has a cunning plan. Before heading towards the seafront he turns left out of the site, towards a hill. The hill that is the view from our front window. God I hate hills. My legs are too small for hill walking.
We are on the rise and already I’m out of puff. Moaning and grumbling as we go, stopping occasionally on the pretence of admiring the view, I try to regain my vain attempts at appearing fitter than I am feeling. At the top of the hill is East Brighton Golf Club, another moment to grab my breath and take a few photos. The walk down the hill via the golf club entrance into town is a more sedate and gentle walk.
Down on the seafront and the sun is shining, beautiful blue skies with not a cloud in sight. By gum its cold though. Wrapped up against the chill we head down towards the marina, aiming to actually bypass it and do the undercliff walk to Rottingdean. I’m sure he hates me. The marina is alive with shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Nope, we are saving that for another day and off he marches towards the path snaking along the base of the cliffs.
The path at the foot is alive with people, jogging, walking, cycling. People walking dogs, are out in abundance. At least it’s flat down here I happily walk with no moaning. A few miles later Rottingdean appears from nowhere, The White Horse pub sits atop the cliff calling us in. Pint of nectar ordered and we decide to sit outside overlooking the sea. It’s cold but beautiful. We make the decision to do the cliff walk back, legs are starting to feel it now. I suppose the steps will look good on my Fitbit.
Another day takes us walking in the opposite direction towards Brighton. All the pavements in Brighton seem to be designed for people with one leg longer than the other, cambering towards the roads at quite an angle. Another beautifully clear and crisp day. We stumble across a fantastic piece of artwork of ‘Jimmy the Mod’ which starts us off reminiscing about Quadrophenia and the days when we were young and our heads were full of music. He says my head is no longer filled with music and when it is I get the words wrong. Now, he says, my head is full of unicorns and fairy dust! The i360 towers above the seafront. Offering 360 degree views of Brighton on a clear day. I’m hoping we get up there before we go home. Today would’ve been a perfect day but it’s currently closed for two weeks for maintenance.
We did eventually get a good clear day when the i360 reopened and it was a highlight of the trip. A new addition to the town and the locals seem to have mixed views. At £15 per person we were lucky that it was a quiet January day and we shared the ride with around 30 other people. It does hold an awful lot more people, 200 at its maximum, so your experience could be different in the height of summer. The cabin floated effortlessly up to 450 feet. The world’s first vertical cable car designed by the same people as the London Eye. Breathtaking views await you at the top on a good clear day. There is also a bar on board serving champagne and other beverages for that special occasion.
One day we wake to a world cloaked in the thickest fog that hangs around chilling the world all day. A trip to Newhaven and Eastbourne, wrapped up against the elements off we go. The fog chokes the seafront as we approach Newhaven clinging and freezing. We were surprised by the amount of cars on the roads with no lights on at all. An eerie walk along the front reveals nothing out to sea, a busy crossing to the shores of Dieppe, today there is nothing. Silence and fog.
A few miles along the road is Eastbourne. Also shrouded in fog. People here have ventured out to walk dogs and burn off some energy.
The holiday ended with one of Brighton’s free spectacular attractions. The murmuration of starlings on Brighton’s Pier. As dusk starts to fall the skies fill with squadrons of starlings, a collective noun bestowed upon them by a fellow blogger. Swooping, dancing and swirling as they ready themselves for roosting beneath the pier. The noise they make is amazing the Pier almost vibrates with their calling as they bed down for the night beneath your feet.
As we sit here on our final night wondering how quickly the days went we realise that not one drop of rain touched the ground during our ten day stay, in January!!!. It’s been blimmin’ cold tho’ and we even treated the Aquaroll to a winter jacket to keep it warm.
Apart from the one foggy drive to Newhaven, Beachy Head and Eastbourne the car has done less than 5 miles from the day we arrived, the local Green MP will be very happy with us. The Caravan Club site has a slightly different feel than others, maybe because it is winter, quite a number of the massive RV vehicles on site with slide out extensions and TVs that could challenge your local cinema in size. Without doubt the fastest on site driving we have ever seen was evident here, possibly due to the long and thin shape of the site keeping them away from wardens view, maybe people thought it was a runway or the Santa Pod drag-racing strip. There was also some building work just beyond the site perimeter that started at 8am each morning but our radio competed nicely with that. We both remarked that we could easily have stayed another ten days, so even accounting for comments above, a positive endorsement for a well kept, well equipped and well positioned site.
Finally, we were fortunate on this trip to meet up with Richard and Trevor, (Get Your) Legsdown, who very kindly took us for evening meals on two nights after they had finished work. Food, beer and conversation flowed equally well and it was nice to meet up after so much communication via caravanning blogs, Facebook groups and Twitter. Thanks both.