Adventures IN Thame

Gandalf the VW Campervan is parked up on another gem of a CL, this time just 40 mins down the road from Newbridge, which is ON the Thames, to Thame which is NOT on the Thames, but in fact the River Thame. This fact alone blew our minds the entire 40 minute journey!

We’re staying on Lashlake Barn CL, a C&MC CL within walking distance of Thame. The campsite is lovely – each pitch has electric and a water tap, and the site is very secure – it’s situated behind electric gates which we all have a fob to give us access on foot or wheels. At the far end of the campsite The River Thame runs and there is a stream runnning off it which was the backdrop of our pitch. The price of the pitch is £18 pn which feels a reasonable and fair amount.

We ended up meeting Dad and Jenny as we arrived which was handy and it didn’t take us all long to get our vans into relaxing mode, soon cracking open a gin and having some lunch.

After lunch, we were treated to a rare sight… the sun, which I think has been missing in action recently. We hailed its return and set off for a wander around Thame.

Just behind the campsite is St Mary’s Church, final resting place to the incredible Robin and Andy Gibb (Beegees).

Opposite their graves is Robin Gibb’s former house, Prebendal – an absolutely stunning medieval property with its own collection of impressive historical events that it has played host to, including it being the place in which the decision that Joan of Ark was to be sentenced to her death was made.

Keith found this really great video of Robin Gibb showing a camera crew around the house which we found fascinating.

From here we continued up to the high street, admiring all of the listed houses as we went. Thame was actually used in Midsomer Murders as a filming location. It’s easy to see why, there are many medieval houses with brilliantly preserved fascias.

Thame was also home to the famous poet – and Keith’s favourite Poet – Yeats. We saw the house in which he lived, and Keith even recited an extract of his favourite Yeats poem outside.

We spent some time indulging in our family hobby – charity shop hunting! All the shops were brilliantly dog friendly, and we all picked up one or two bits and bobs!

After a couple of drinks, we nipped back to the campsite to change for dinner, before heading back to town. We had a table booked in the Black Horse, a really lovely gastro pub bistro, which amazing also was dog friendly. The food and service was great and we really enjoyed our evening.

Friday dawned sunny! Yes Sunny!

After a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs and salmon on toast, we got our bikes unhooked and set off on the Phoenix Trail, an off road, disused railway path between Thame and Princes Risborough. The trail runs for just over 7 miles and has a number of sculptures to enjoy on route, along with great views of the Chilterns.

We had lunch and some more charity shop hunting in Princes Risborough before making our way back in record time to Thame. Dad was on the only non electric bike and did a sterling job setting the fast pace on our return! I was on high assist to keep up!

Apparently Jamiroquai lives opposite here!

Before making our way back to the campsite from Thame, I picked up some butchers lamb, and when we got back I knocked up a Lamb Dhansak in the Remoska, along with a chicken saag. That’s right, Friday night is Curry night! We enjoyed our feast of curry’s outside as it was still fairly mild before settling down in front of the campfire as the stars came out. What a lovely day we’d all had.

Saturday soon arrived and our time was up. Before we left though, Keith spotted some enormous crayfish in the stream behind us. Having never seen these before (me and Keith anyway) they kept us amused for quite some time.

This one only had one claw, but if you click on the photo you can see it’s got a new claw growing back.

Dad had accidentally sent some of our bacon flying into the steam and they were enjoying it massively! We also had some other new friends on site- the free range chickens although Jazz wasn’t sure about these!

We’d had a wonderful couple of days and really enjoyed our time in Thame, despite our mind being blown that it wasn’t on The Thames.

Until next time

Adventures on the Thames

Gandalf the VW Campervan is parked up a stones throw from the River Thames in Newbridge, a tiny hamlet consisting of 800 year old bridge, two pubs and a farm, who’s field we are camped on! We’re on Newbridge Farm, a C&MC CL, with no facilities other than a loo disposal, tap and bin. We’ve come for a last hurrah before we return to work next week, after a terrific summer of travel and adventures. The first part of this trip is a bit of a “working holiday” as we both attacked our return to work admin and time tabling for the term ahead. However, as all we needed for this was a phone, iPad and 4g, we decided a change of scenery out of our office window would be nice. Also there is something really liberating about being off hook up- it does something (positive) to our mind and so we’ve found the headspace here that we needed to crack on with admin.

The site itself is a medium sized field, with elson point, tap, and rubbish disposal and views over the fields. There is a footpath which takes you across a field to the Thames and the Thames Path, and not one but two pubs, and a very historical bridge.

There is some road noise, however it didn’t cause us too much of a problem, and at £6pn we just can’t complain at all! It’s packed as you can see…..!

As I said earlier, we just ADORE these off grid sites. It’s also really interesting to see how the solar panel copes as it’s very grey and cloudy- we seem to be stuck in a cloudy tunnel at the moment! (Update – it worked brilliantly! 2 nights off grid with very cloudy skies and we’re still sat at 12.5 v – really chuffed!)

We arrived here on Tuesday afternoon and settled down for some admin time before taking a dog walk to the local for a river view. We enjoyed a pint in the Rose Revived, a green king pub, and as the seasons have apparently shifted to autumn, it would have been rude not to try an Abbots Ale overlooking the bridge and river.

Newbridge, contrary to its name, is actually the oldest original crossing of the River Thames. It’s 800 years old and was built during the reign of King John. It’s a beautiful bridge.

After our pint at The Rose Revived we decided to inspect the bridge from the other side, this time taking a river front seat at The Maybush. Our luck was in as they had declared £1 a pint as they tried to clear some left over beer festival stock.

We returned to Gandalf, had a shower each in the awning and then made beef and potato curry for dinner. Delicious! Before settling down under fairy lights and reading our magazines.

Wednesday dawned grey again, never mind, we cracked on with our admin in the morning, and just before lunchtime went for a 3 mile linear walk from Newbridge towards the sea (which is 153 miles to the east)

In lockdown earlier this year, I spent a considerable amount of time planning a Thames Path adventure using Gandalf and campsites as our base each night. Sadly I got a foot injury and we had to postpone our walk. The Thames Path runs for 183 miles and runs from the source of the Thames just south of Cirencester where it’s just a spring and tiny stream, into the sea at the Thames Barrier. I really really want to walk this, so hope my injury improves for next year. In the meantime I’ll blog about my Thames Path plans separately sometime.

Today’s walk took in a very remote and pretty section of the The Thames. It’s hard to image this picture perfect rural river ending up running through the capital of England with high rises, Parliament etc on each bank.

After our walk we stopped for lunch at The Maybush -unfortunately the staff in The Rose Revived were extremely rude to us, but it was their loss. Plus, the Maybush still had £1 a pint!

As we’d had such a productive couple of days, we decided to treat ourselves to a trip on the Thames, by hiring an electric punt boat from a stall just by the Rose Revived – Oxford Punts. We spent an hour having the most relaxing time making four way towards the source of the Thames. [£25 for 1 hour on electric punt, £3 for dog] I was desperate to see either an otter or a kingfisher but it was not to be. This stretch of the Thames is so quiet and tranquil. Keith did a marvellous job driving the punt- much better than me! It was great to sail under the historic bridge too.

Following our adventure on the Thames we made our way back to Gandalf for a rather large chill. We attempted pizzas on the Cadac using our new pizza stone but they weren’t successful. We followed the instructions of putting the stone directly on the flame, but it soon became obvious that this was a misprint and infact we ended up with a burnt base. Never mind, next time we will know to follow our instincts rather than the instructions!

Thursday and it’s moving on day! Admin completed, we’re off for an adventure with my Dad and Step mum down the road. Stay tuned for updates!

Until next time

Lx

Adventures on the coast of Aberdeenshire

Gandalf the VW campervan is back on our favourite type of site, a Caravan and Motorhome club Certified location, on the outskirts of Gamrie Bay (Gardenstown) Aberdeenshire. The site, called Gamrie Bay CL is surrounded by beautiful wild flowers and it is OH SO QUIET which is quite honestly music to my ears, having had 3 nights on the noisy Mortonhall Caravan site on the Outskirts of Edinburgh.

The drive from Edinburgh was an easy 4 hour journey mainly along A90- although we didn’t hit any traffic the journey did seem to drag a bit! We made a stop at Morrison’s for provisions and also to pick up an Amazon delivery that we’d had made to an Amazon locker! We used our Amazon prime account to purchase a couple of new hats, selected deliver to locker, added our postcode of where we were local to; when the package was delivered we went to pick it up- scanned a code that had been emailed to us and the appropriate locker pinged open! What a time to be Alive!

Travelling through rural Aberdeenshire was pretty, mainly passing fields and fields of golden Barley. We’ve since learnt that the barley grown in Aberdeenshire accounts for a third of Scottish malting requirements.

Not my picture but this is what we passed, miles and miles of barley and I couldn’t help but sing Fields of Gold as we travelled towards our campsite

When we arrived at Gamrie Bay CL, we met the friendly owner Linda and were directed to our pitch, a hard standing fully serviced pitch, overlooking wild flowers and rolling countryside. At just £17pn this feels like a bargain, and we can’t wait to explore the local area on our bikes tomorrow. We’re about a mile or so to the closest harbour village, Gardenstown and something tells me the E bikes are going to be useful!

We had a big chill tonight. The weather is much cooler here so we sat inside Gandalf, and read and watched some episodes of Ozark (well Keefy did!)

I cooked us a lovely Scottish style Sunday dinner in the Remoska; Chicken Balmoral which is chicken stuffed with haggis wrapped in bacon served with roasted new potatoes and carrots and green beans. It was delicious and actually one of the first Sunday dinners cooked in this van by us.

We really love Gandalf so much, the living space is just perfect for us.

It’s really very peaceful here, have I mentioned that already?! We really do love these certified locations SO MUCH

Monday

It was a fresh night last night and we actually ended up plugging the heater in. As the weather was not so good we decided today to make use of the public bus service that runs between Gardenstown and Banff/Macduff. We walked into Gardenstown along the quiet road – about 1.5 miles- and the last mile downhill!

We had a mooch around the exceptionally pretty Gardenstown. It’s very small, very unspoilt and just adorable.

The small little residential roads weave down to the working harbour and the backdrop of steep hills is just dreamy.

You can actually overnight park at the beach car park for £10 if you wish, but we just adore this CL. The CDP (loo emptying) is the cleanest we’ve seen on a CL, it actually makes most club sites look dated and unkempt. The owners, both motorhomers clearly understand our needs and it’s just so enjoyable to stay here.

Back to Gardenstown- we enjoyed our mooch around and would have had a drink at the pub but it was closed so instead we enjoyed the views before catching the bus from the harbour to nearby harbour town Macduff. By doing it this way we avoided walking back up the very steep hill! The bus ran every 2 hours and the timetable could be found by typing into maps on my iPhone “Bus stops near me”. 2 adults were £7.50 pp each return and Jazz the dawg was free.

The journey to Macduff was pretty, with ample views of the sea and also barley fields and the occasional wild flower meadow.

Macduff was a hive of activity- we only went and stumbled on the cast of The Crown, including Imelda Staunton making her debut as the Queen. They were taking up the harbour by filming scenes for series 5.

Not my picture – taken from here

Whilst it made an enjoyable hour of so being nosey, it was a shame as we couldn’t get down to the harbour because of it, and that was the highlight of Macduff.

We did manage to buy some fresh fish from the fishmongers though and by mid afternoon the sun had reappeared.

We probably wouldn’t rush back to Macduff- it’s a very traditional working harbour but not as pretty compared to Gardenstown and not much to see (other than the harbour which we couldn’t access!) there are lots of shipyards here and the two pubs were a bit run down. But the fish was superb!

The bus brought us back to within half a mile of the campsite – and the appealing side of the hill! Where we settled back onto the campsite, sparked up the cadac and the fire pit for a fish supper. We enjoyed Scallops and tomato kebabs, fresh salmon and cod accompanied by samphire and vegetable rice. Delicious!!

We enjoyed an hour around the fire pit before retreating for an early night. All this fresh air is really wiping us!

Tuesday

This morning we were woken with shards of sunlight shining into Gandalf. The air was much warmer and it was great to see such blue skies, especially as our plan for today was a spot of cycling, exploring the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail. We stocked up on a full Scottish breakfast and hit the road.

Whilst we weren’t covering too greater mileage – it was only 4 miles to our furthest destination, the contours were close together and we knew to expect some serious hills, something which we don’t see on our Norfolk bike rides.

The journey to Pennan from the campsite was breathtaking, the road hugged the coastline and those fields of barley shone in the golden sunlight.

The final approach to Pennan saw us taking in a 17% hill descent before back up, then back down into Pennan, a beautiful unspoilt fishing village made famous in 1983 when the film Local Hero was released as many of the harbour scenes and external shots of the hotel and village scenes were filmed here.

We have visited before back in 2012 but it was joyous to return, it’s absolutely wonderful with its row of houses lined up along the Main Street, many with washing lines on the street – I imagine the sea breeze here dries their washing in no time at all. The pub was sadly closed but there was a coffee hut on the harbour. It is absolutely worth a detour here if you’re ever in close proximity.

It’s all very well coming sailing down the hill into Pennan with not a care in the world- getting back up to the main route is bloody awful – despite our E bikes, which proved helpful with their walking assist to push up the hill, I still nearly collapsed by the time we’d reached the main road. Just 3 more of those to navigate Lydia! 😱🥴

We stopped at the next village along, Crovie which absolutely blew our minds. It is absolutely stunning.

There is absolutely nothing there but don’t let that put you off a visit. Crovie is fairly unique in that it’s entirely vehicle free, because the ledge in which the single line of houses sit is so small no vehicles can pass through. Locals park in a car park on the edge of the village, and use wheelbarrows to transport their shopping etc whilst visitors are requested to park half way up and use the steps to descend into the village.

Because of this, and restrictions on development here, Crovie is one of the best preserved fishing villages in Europe. I honestly can’t remember feeling so at peace in anywhere else we’ve visited. Just wonderful!

Once again, we found ourselves high assisting our way back up out of the village for a good couple of miles, before then the gentle return to the campsite. We’d only rallied up 9 miles return but my gosh, they were tricky and most of all satisfying!

Dinner tonight was chilli con carne and a rewatch of Local Hero, at which point we realised that the pub, which we always have photographed as the hotel in the film, is not actually on the film! Major facepalm! So- as we wave goodbye to Gamrie Bay CL we shall be making a quick detour to rectify our film location tick list!

Gamrie Bay CL has been everything we hoped for and more. The facilities here (disposal facilities- there are no loos or shower blocks here) are the nicest we’ve ever encountered on a CL. The large hard standing fully serviced pitches are a joy to park on, far more level than many Club sites and the chemical loo point is just spotless and not grim, like sometimes CLs can be!

It is SO peaceful here, and we managed two full days of exploring without moving the van once. Obviously having a car or motorcycle would enhance your stay here even more, but even us, two relatively unfit adults managed just fine! It’s a wonderful area and one which we think is often overlooked.

Wednesday

The sun was shining for us as we packed away from Gamrie Bay, and so we made the short detour and retrace of our steps back to Pennan – this time in Gandalf, to try and find once and for all the property used as the hotel/bar and accountancy firm in Local Hero.

We succeeded!

And even better… we met the owner of the house on the end, who lived in that house during the filming in the 80s. We were both in our element as she very patiently answered all our questions regarding the filming and changes made to the properties etc. I think she was impressed we’d figured out her house was used as she mentioned how they laugh at the tourists who take pictures of the Inn, when they know they’re looking at the wrong place 🤭

So there we have it- we are officially super fans.

We enjoyed some breakfast overlooking Pennan beach before making our way back up the hill and on towards our next campsite. We made a quick stop at Banff, to look through the window of The Ship, now closed sadly, but was where the interior shots of the bar were filmed. The harbour here was pretty too.

Our final stop in Aberdeenshire before we crossed the border into Moray, was Portsoy. Again we’ve visited here before but the 17th century harbour is just as pretty as we remembered it to be. Apparently, to continue the theme of filming locations- Portsoy has been used for filming of Peaky Blinders. We haven’t watched this but have put it on our list.

We had our lunch at the harbour and a little mooch around before queuing for some rather tasty ice cream at Portsoy Ice Cream, which seems to have become very popular and we can’t argue- the ice cream was exceptional!

Our campsite for the next three days is just over the border on the outskirts of Findlochty. More to come in our next instalment on what we get up to in Moray.

Adventures on the North Yorkshire coast

Monday

Gandalf the Campervan is parked up on a wonderful “off grid” Caravan and Motorhome club CL, a small 5 van site, with no facilities or hook up (other than loo disposal and tap/bin). We’re perched on the edge of the N York Moors with views of the sea and Whitby Abby; just 4 miles away. Deneside Field is just £7 pn- what a bargain!

Our journey here today was relaxed – we set off around 10:30am and arrived just after 4pm with a couple of comfort stops. The stretch leading up to Whitby from the A1 was stunning!

We’ve got the bikes with us as this is our first stop of a 2.5 week tour of the East Coast, so set up took slightly longer but, we’re here for 3 days so we want to be comfortable on site. The weather is far better than predicted, in fact there’s not a cloud in the sky and the sea looks rather Mediterranean like!

We had a chill at the site tonight, enjoying the views and the peace and quiet- there is only one other Caravan here. Perfection! Dinner was sausage, mash and beans- a simple but tasty supper to enjoy after a long journey north.

View from site: Whitby Abby in the distance and the sea behind

We’re excited about exploring the local area as it’s been a number of years since we were last in Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay.

Tuesday

Tuesday dawned bright and beautiful; a nice surprise as the forecast wasn’t so optimistic! We had a lazy morning, enjoying the views and enjoying bacon sandwiches before prepping the bikes and hitting the road towards Whitby.

One of the draws for us to return to this area was to explore the Cinder Track, a disused railway line that runs from Scarborough to Whitby- a total distance of 21 miles. Our site isn’t directly on the Cinder track so before we could enjoy any of it we had to navigate our way to an appropriate entry point. We consulted Ordanance Survey and found a route which took in a quiet road and a bridleway, which looked appropriate. Well, let me tell you. It was not!! We ended up pushing our bikes nervously for around 1.5 miles on this hardcore mountain bike trail through a forest. The path was not suitable for us one bit, and whilst now, thinking back it seemed an adventure at the time, in reality it was bloody awful! Although it was pretty!

Luckily once we got onto the Cinder Track things dramatically improved, the surface was a dream on our electric bikes and the gradient unnoticeable.

It wasn’t far at all to Whitby but we enjoyed the scenery, a highlight was going over the Larpool Viaduct. They’re were some beautiful bridges to pass under. It had lived up to our exceptions and made the previous hour of horribleness worthwhile!

Whitby was heaving! Properly busy! Too busy to enjoy if I’m honest; although that’s perhaps a bit harsh as we had a lovely day. It’s just we’ve not been around that volume of people for so long- I found it a bit scary! The weather gods were on our side though, we enjoyed blue skies and a gentle breeze.

We had a fish and chip lunch from Papas, not the famous Magpie- although Papas was named the best fish and chips in UK according to a recent BBC competition. (They were goooood!)

We washed the fish and chips down with a couple of drinks over looking the harbour, before tackling the 199 stairs up to the Abby. The Abby is English Heritage and fairly pricey to get in at £13 pp (free for members) instead we enjoyed a Whitby lager at the tap house and brewery opposite which has brilliant views of the Abby. It always makes me laugh on the stairs at Whitby… ALL you can hear is people around you either counting the steps or discussing if it is indeed 199 or is it 197 (or any other number for that matter!)

After an ice cream at the bottom of the steps we collected our bikes – we’d parked them by Papas fish and chip bar- and made our way back to Gandalf. This time we continued to Hawkser on the Cinder Track before exiting and taking a quiet road route back to our campsite- 2.5 miles of hills, some steep, but our E bikes were TREMENDOUS!

Tonight is spent having a chill – enjoying the non rain!

Wednesday

For the first time in what’s seems an age, we slept in until 09:15 this morning! It was a little showery so we decided not to rush about, which was nice not to be working to a timescale for once. We set off from the campsite around 11ish – on the bikes towards Hawsker to pick up the Cinder track once more. We took the road route and as we’re not on hook up, turned our bike batteries off, choosing to save the battery for the homeward journey later. We therefore pedalled our way up down, up down etc to the cinder track- feeling very proud of ourselves when we reached it!

Our recommended route to the Cinder Track from Deneside Field CL

The cinder track to Robin Hoods Bay is only 3 miles and it’s a glorious section, with sea views dominating the majority of the journey. There was a steep cut bank at one point, making it easy to imagine trains travelling along here from 1885 to 1965 when the line was frequented by trains carrying goods and passengers along the Scarborough to Whitby line.

Cinder Track Leaflet

We found bike parking easily in Robin Hoods Bay so made our way by foot down the hill to the sea front. We love Robin Hoods Bay; it’s been a number of years since our last visit, and it was just as nice as we remembered. The quaint fisherman’s cottages line the street and the non tacky shops with just a couple of pubs, tea rooms and b and bs are right up our street.

The weather was behaving beautifully and we enjoyed a drink in front of the Bay Inn- the official end of the Coast to Coast walk, overlooking the cliffs towards Scarborough.

After a crab roll from the local fish shop on the beach, we took emergency cover as a thunderstorm passed over us.

Luckily this coincided with the Smugglers, a 400 year old very atmospheric dog friendly wine bar, opening so we took shelter inside, until the rain stopped and we could make our way back to the bikes and onwards back home.

We retraced our steps following the cinder track back to Hawsker and then gleefully switched on our batteries to get us back to Gandalf – up down, up down etc etc.

Dinner was a delicious chicken curry before a night of relaxation and enjoying the view for one final night

Tomorrow we move on north to Edinburgh. We’ve absolutely loved our time here- especially enjoying being off grid, and relying solely on solar power has felt liberating actually. The site is wonderful, and whilst there is a bit of road noise (mainly farm traffic) it does quieten down after dark. The views towards Whitby and the sea are gorgeous. It’s perhaps not the best places for the Cinder Track, but we’ve managed well. There are a couple of other sites directly on the track which were full when we were making reservations. Having said that we’ve really loved this site, and armed with either a car, or electric bikes you really can enjoy the local area easily, and cheaply- and remember it’s just £7pn!

Until Next Time

Lx

Adventures by the beach; in Bacton, Norfolk

Gandalf the VW is parked up on a gem of a CL (small 5 van site associated with the Caravan and Motorhome club). I’m almost loathed to share this one- it’s a proper gem. But in the spirit of “Sharing is Caring” , here goes!

We’re staying at Buttercup Meadow, a large field with no hook up or facilities, just a tap, loo disposal point and bins. It’s just £11pn, and best of all, Whilst we can’t SEE the sea, we can hear the waves rolling in- just the other side of the raised bank which borders the site, and offers some protection from the sea breeze.

There is a gate which leads down a sandy drive and within 5 mins (less probably!) walk you are greeted with the most gorgeous Sandy dog friendly beach we’ve seen in Norfolk. And we’ve been to most of the East Anglian beaches during our decade + here. It is superb!

We arrived just after 12:30, stopping on route at nearby Happisburgh (pronounced Hazeburg) with its picture perfect red stripy lighthouse and wonderful fishmonger.

We stocked up on fresh fish for dinner, arrived on site, set up, had lunch and then had the rest of the afternoon on the beach, reading, drinking mojitos, larking around in the sea and snoozing. Just what two exhausted music teachers needed!

Dinner was a delicious fish bbq, accompanied by a spectacular sunset and full moon combo!

Sadly this was just a one nighter – we absolutely could have spent a week here- especially given the weather and the fact our solar panel was performing a treat. But- we were up and away very early Friday morning as Lydia had some very special Bridesmaid duties to enjoy at her best friends hen do in Stratford Upon Avon, which is where Gandalf transported her to in the afternoon.

Gandalf’s had a makeover 😉 💕

Stratford was lots of fun and I came home promising to take Keefy and Jazz sometime soon for a mini break.

Until next time- which is VERY SOON!

😉

Lx

Adventures in the South Downs; Part 2- Arundel Castle and Fishbourne Roman Palace

Tuesday arrived bright and sunny, just as the weather forecast predicted and after a delicious smoked haddock and poached eggs we packed away in the blistering heat and made our way the short way to Arundel Castle. We were extremely thankful for Gandalf’s air con!

On arrival at Arundel, we parked in the public car park opposite the castle which is large enough for the biggest of motorhomes, and made our way to the Castle entrance. First impressions were absolutely excellent- Arundel Castle looks like a fairytale castle when you scratch the surface, but delve a little deeper and you realise that it’s a mix of both Medieval and Victorian, with a medieval keep high on a motte and then these wonderful big ramparts and towers.

Inside the castle you can see a fair bit. We were particularly interested in the history of the seat of the Duke of Norfolk – as back in the 1600s in the next village to us, Kenninghall- the duke of Norfolk had a Manor House which got destroyed. There is a fair bit of history regarding this Manor House so when we get home we will set about trying to research this some more.

In the pictures above- the one in the bottom right hand corner is a beautiful decorative table made out of tiny mosaic segments. The library is exquisite.

Outside of the castle, the gardens are terrific; and the irises just looked superb. There is a lovely rose garden along with a water garden. We really enjoyed our time visiting!

After our visit we went for lunch at the Red Lion on the high street which was lovely.

We then moved on to our next location of this surprise trip for Keefy’s birthday. 30 mins beyond Arundel is Chichester- and our home for the next two nights was a very lovely C&MC certified called Fir Trees on the outskirts of Chichester.

We settled into our lovely pitch, this time with EHU , and had an hour or two basking in the sun on our inflatable chairs. The site is a huge grass (but very short grass) field -with impeccable chemical loo point, Keefy tells me!

We had a bbq for dinner – chicken kebabs and swordfish, before having a very early night. I was exhausted and my foot was still playing up!

Wednesday arrived and I broke the news to Keefy where we were going today; Fishbourne Roman Palace which was conveniently just 4 miles down the road and an easy cycle. We made our way onto the Salterns Way- a cycle route up to Chichester and down to West Wittering. We rode north past very pretty harbours and house boats and stopped for an early lunch at the amazingly beautiful Dell Quay. We felt like we were at the Mediterranean!

After lunch of crab burgers, we continued up to Fishbourne Roman Palace. We really enjoyed our visit. It was much bigger than Bignor- the size of this plot was huge and there were lots of mosaic to see. The layout of the visitors centre made it very easy to imagine the scale of the site here. They still don’t know who lived here but given it’s size we felt sure the emperor must have visited if not lived here.

From here we joined the aptly named Centurian Way, a disused railway route now turned into a traffic free cycle path. It gets its name from the Roman Road that it loosely follows and has some interesting sculptures not to mention terrific railway bridges along the way.

The Centurian way runs 6 miles each way from Chichester to West Dean.