For those of us who grew up by the coast, there is something soothing, almost spiritual, about a beach in winter – bleak yet soulful, moody yet uplifting. Time spent by the sea in the depths of January, for me, is like therapy. 2019 had been a challenge and, as we headed into the new decade, coastal therapy was, we decided, just what we needed. … Continue reading Beach house therapy
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the spectacular 200-acre Exbury Gardens near Beaulieu in the New Forest. World famous for its Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs, Exbury is celebrating its big birthday with some impressive new projects and a series of special events. A new ‘secret centenary garden’ and ‘stream’ of spring bulbs opened to the public in … Continue reading 100 years of glory at Exbury
For great seaside walks, whatever the weather, few places in Hampshire can beat Stokes Bay. Its stone beaches look out over the Solent, across to the Isle of Wight and free parking right on the water’s edge makes for a perfect picnic on the beach or a lovely spot to read a book from the warmth of your car. At one end is Browndown, these … Continue reading Great seaside walks with spots to stop
The Solent, renowned for its warships, cruise liners and yachts, is also home to a stunning, if a little eccentric boutique hotel which gives ‘getting away from it all’ a new, and distinctly nautical perspective. Spitbank Fort is a mile off shore between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Built in the 1860’s with the threat of a French invasion, she played a role in … Continue reading Private: Eccentric boutique stay at Spitbank Fort
Every family should cycle together. It’s a liberating and bonding experience to ditch all the distractions, pack a rucksack with drinks and snacks, stick the bikes on the back of the car and drive to a scenic spot for an afternoon trundle. As a self-confessed MAMIL (Middle Aged Man in Lycra), my solo two-wheeled expeditions take me 40, 50 miles and more on the road, … Continue reading Family bike ride on the Hayling Billy Trail
We love a good garden centre – whether you’re a budding Capability Brown or just have one or two herb pots, there’s something very peaceful about drifting through the plants, sniffing roses, hunting out the healthiest specimens, and asking advice on whether or not that lovely hydrangea would be pink or blue in your soil. And if you can stop for a good cup of … Continue reading For those who love a good garden centre
Whether you’re the world’s biggest fan of kitesurfing, or a total newbie to the sport, the Kitesurfing Armada Festival is fantastic to see. Hayling Island was the birthplace of windsurfing and, while still a mecca for windsurfers, it has now rapidly built up a reputation as one of the UK’s premier kitesurfing destinations. If you haven’t seen kitesurfing up close before, you need to! It’s a … Continue reading Let’s go fly a kite – on the waves!
Fine dining in a relaxed pub setting is the best of both worlds for those who love food but hate fuss. The Earl of March near Chichester is a perfect balance between the two. This is a country pub in the West Sussex village of Lavant with a delightful garden and set against the picturesque backdrop of Goodwood and the South Downs. The food is as … Continue reading Love food, hate fuss? The Earl of March is for you.
Just a few miles outside the county town of Winchester sits Stockbridge, a picturesque town in the heart of the Test Valley, which won Google Street View’s inaugural award for the foodiest high street in Britain. Continue reading Foodie’s delight in Hampshire
For those happy campers who are brave enough to battle some elements for a stunning view, there can be few better places to stay than Highlands End At Eype near Bridport in Dorset. Continue reading Family and dog-friendly break in Dorset