Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

Gandalf the VW is having a case of Deja- Vu. Regular followers may recognise our pitch for this weekend- this is our 4th stay here in 18 months.

It is of course, Sandy Gulls at Mundesley, North Norfolk. We are lucky, it’s only an hour away from our house, so ideal for a quick escape without having to remortgage to afford fuel to get there. We RARELY revisit campsites unless they are extra special or in a convenient location (Edinburgh/ London). I think we can all agree the location of this site is more than extra special.

We arrived at lunch time Friday and settled immediately into our chill zone- the sunshine was glorious and despite a chilly wind, we had a couple of hours sat outside enjoying the sea view and breeze! Keith set the cadac going and we enjoyed our first bbq of the year, a delicious fish bbq. Ooph it was GORGEOUS, good job Keefy!

He cooked raw king prawns in chilli and garlic as a starter, then we had cod, sea bass and salmon alongside jacket potatoes cooked in the Remoska and coleslaw. Mouth watering!

Unbelievably (for England haha!!!) we got to the end of the meal and the weather spectacularly turned. The pure blue skies had vanished and instead we got hit with rain, wind.. rain and wind. But we couldn’t have been happier, we’d managed a sea view bbq and we actually secretly wanted to just chill with our books. So we retreated inside, listened to the rain and the sea and spent the afternoon reading and snoozing. Perfect.

Saturday dawned and we were happy to see the return of the blue skies. We had a lazy morning enjoying the view from bed- and after a great shower, the facility block here is incredible- huge wet rooms and bags of hot water- we cooked up a fry up, again outside!

After this we had a leg stretch down the dog friendly beach (which is accessible from the site either by foot (10 mins) or car (1 min).

We walked right along the beach and followed it to Mundesley and a little beyond. We got tempted into one of the most scenic beer gardens in the country, enjoyed a pint each and made our way to Gandalf via the road.

At this point, we’d walked 4 miles, so put two mini pizzas in the Remoska for lunch, and settled into our books for the afternoon.

The next thing it was time for dinner- a Keralan Cod curry.

It was yummy even if I do say so myself. We followed this with chocolate fondue- oh yes we did!! (The first outing of my Christmas present from Keefy- a small porcelain bowl with a tea light below) we enjoyed dipping fresh fruit into the melted chocolate whilst watching a Rom com.. Husband points right there..

Before falling fast asleep with the wonderful sound of waves crashing below our feet.

Sunday came far too quickly and our weekend of rest was almost over. But not before another beach walk and oodles of tea watching the ever changing view.

We didn’t utilise the site for its tremendous location (other than to sit admiring the view!) this time as we were close to burn out and needed a reset. However if you are feeling more energetic than we were this is the most perfect location to base yourself as you have the coast hopper bus (dog friendly) right outside the campsite entrance, which links you with Cromer all the way through to Kings Lynn. You can also get to Norwich and North Walsham from here via bus. If you like cycling there are lots of country lanes. For walkers, you’re Literally ON the Norfolk Coast path and there are a couple of nice circular walks here too (here)

Sandy Gulls have really invested in this site since we first visited in Oct 2020. The website that you use to book onto the site is excellent- you use a map and pick your pitch at the point of booking. Pay a £10 deposit which is fair. They’ve built a road and hard standing pitches right at the front of the site last winter and invested in free decent WiFi this winter too. The facilities are EXCELLENT and although some of the pitches do require you to have levelling chocks, it’s a small price to pay for arguably one of the best sea view sites in the country. One important note- it’s adults only.

If you want to read what we got up to on our previous stays click:

Here

it seems that I’ve only ever blogged about this place once before! Bad blogger alert- to be fair, it’s because we use it as a place to sit and do absolutely toning but admire the sea view!

We’ll be back at some point for stay number 5!

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 at Trewethett Farm C&MC club site, North Cornwall

Gandalf the VW is parked with a million dollar view, overlooking the North Cornwall coastline in between Boscastle and Tintagel. We are staying in what has to be the best C&MC Club site on their network; Trewethett Farm Club Site. Despite booking this months and months ago we only managed to book a pitch with no electric for our two night stay, something that’s been on my mind. But as soon as we arrived all worried disappeared. I reckon we’ve bagged the best pitch on the campsite. Look at the view!

As we left Minehead this morning we made a stop to Gallox Bridge in Dunster. This is a medieval double arched park horse bridge which dates from the 15th century and is a rare surviving example.

We then made the 2.5 hour drive towards Boscastle, stopping at a lovely farm shop, Hilltop Farm as we neared Boscastle.

On arrival we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw our pitch. Absolutely spectacular. Annoyingly as I emptied the boot the entire food box came crashing out and we sacrificed an entire bottle of red wine! Once we cleared up that mess, we continued setting up and had a drink and a quick sandwich.

We then walked the two mile rather undulating but massively spectacular path to Boscastle along the SWCP.

The water looked incredible and the coastline is just stunning. As we descended into Boscastle we stopped for ice creams, before a drink at the Cobweb Inn and a wander around the now quiet (it was 6pm) streets. Bosvastle’s harbour walls date from 1500s and the streets (there aren’t many) are lined with pretty fisherman’s cottages.

We thankfully had a bus, the last of the day, the 95 to bring us all the way to the campsite (it’s a request stop) for a very worthwhile £5 (£2.50pp single)

Dinner was bbq cod served with asparagus and rice and we sat enjoying the sunset, which was delicious. We could have been in the Mediterranean. Absolutely perfect!

Tuesday dawned a bit draughty to say the least! In fact the wind became so bad in the night that around midnight we LITERALLY battened our hatches by dropping the pop top down!

This morning therefore we declared a rest, and had a fairly lazy start to the day; neither could draw our eyes from the wonderful view!

We enjoyed haddock and poached eggs on muffins for breakfast before taking a very slow walk along the coast path towards Tintagel; my injury still playing me up a touch. With no deadlines or plans today we were free to stop and admire the view as much as we liked, which turned out to be every five mins or so!

When we arrived at Tintagel, we lucked out once more as Ye Old Malthouse, a pretty and old pub with outdoor seating, had a table leaving. We took this as a sign and jumped onto the table. One quick look at the lunch menu and we were drawn in, ordering Cornish crab scotch eggs, and Cornish seafood bisque and the mussels to share. The food was exceptional. A real treat!

We spent the rest of the afternoon having a wander around the town of Tintagel. As we’ve visited before it took the pressure off the need for us to be racing around and cramming stuff in, so we enjoyed a more leisurely afternoon. English heritage have built a new suspension bridge leading up to the remains of King Arthur’s castle, but as we hadn’t booked tickets we were unable to try it out.

We caught the number 95 bus back to the campsite before having an hour out in the sun on our banana chairs, enjoying our premium view.

Dinner tonight was seafood kebabs with rice, once again in front of the most wonderful view, which continued all the way until sunset.

We’ve absolutely adored this site and have been very tempted to try to extend our stay here. But rather than do that we’ve decided to continue with our next site which we move to tomorrow and make it a priority to revisit this site, although whether we’ll be as blessed with the weather and pitch again, who knows!

Until next time

Lx

A weekend at Sandy Gulls Adults Only Caravan Park, Mundesley

Like many others in England, this week we managed to reclaim some of our freedom, as Covid restrictions began lifting, and campsites were allowed to reopen. We had a few days at work to get through, but they flew and before we knew it I was wide awake at 05.30 on Friday morning with excitement seeping through my veins at our impending departure to the North Norfolk Coast.

Our campsite of choice, booked way back at the start of the new year for the beginning of March and rescheduled, was Sandy Gulls, an adult only caravan park situated as close as close can be to the North Sea. We’d pre picked our pitch, a new feature I think for this year, and were bursting with excitement that we’d bagged a front row pitch, high upon the cliff top with uninterrupted sea views.

We set off from home relatively early; we wanted to make a stop at the Adnams shop in Norfolk to stock up on their delicious gin and also some of their Kobbold Lager. We then made our way to Mundesley in time for the seafood van not to close, so that we could buy some fresh fish for a bbq later that evening. The Lobster Pot is situated in a trailer next to the butchers and we picked up two terrific looking cod tails and a pint of prawns to cook. We also grabbed some local sausages and bacon from the butcher and some local eggs, sausage rolls and scotch eggs. Yum, we were all set!

On arrival to the site, we got settled onto our stunning pitch- pinching ourselves that the weather God’s were shining down on us yet trying our best to remember how to set up our relatively new to us Campervan! The weather was glorious (if not a touch chilly) and the local paragliding club were out in abundance, soaring not that much higher that our vans. Life felt absolutely terrific, like others, we have missed this soooo much!

After a couple of drinks admiring the view, we walked along the coast path to Mundesley village. Here you can drop down onto the dog friendly beach, and then rejoin the promenade into the village centre. Mundesley is a small, relatively unspoilt Norfolk village/seaside location.

There are a couple of chippys, a couple of shops, a couple of tea rooms, and a pub. We opted for a pint in the beer garden of the ship, mainly because the beer garden is possibly one of the most scenic in the UK, again with uninterrupted views of the sea. Sadly the service was utterly dismal, and our potential pub lunch turned into a complete non event. It’s difficult to complain right now isn’t it, pubs have been so hard hit with the pandemic, but this one really needs to pull its socks up.

View from the beer garden.

Link to trip advisor review here for the full story if you’re interested. ( I do these so rarely, I hated having to this, but it was shocking.)

We wandered back to the campsite, via the Tesco express for a couple of bits we’d forgotten, mainly Jazz’s dog food Whoops! Before Keith gave the solar shower in our tailgate awning a whirl. He was pleasantly surprised, the awning cancelled out the wind chill and his shower experience was a good one despite the chilly air blowing off the sea.

We then set about our fish bbq, which had been eagerly awaited and planned to the finest detail. We served garlic chilli prawns as a starter, followed by cod tails served on creamed spinach, with cous cous. Yum.

And with this view! We were in heaven. We layered up, got the hot water bottles out and watched as the last rays of sunlight trickled down behind us and the twinkly lights of the boats at sea began to sparkle. I found a great app telling us what each boat was carrying and where it was heading from. I’m so nosey. Once the sky became ink black, the stars came out and we enjoyed a Jack Daniels honey as we watched for shooting stars. It couldn’t have been a better first day back camping and we slept like logs.

Saturday dawned brightly and we had a relatively lazy start to the day. Early on we peeled back the front curtains to reveal the sea ahead – watching the view as we had a couple of cups of tea. We then cooked a fry up on the cadac, again, not wanting to miss a moment of that staggering view, I even remained in my onesie in public much to the amusement of some of the passers by. Our pitch was practically on the coast path, so we had lots of opportunities for friendly hellos with passers by.

I then braved my shower- a far more pleasant experience than I had thought it may have been.

Around midday we walked the very short distance to the coast hopper bus stop, which conveniently stops almost right outside the site, and made our way to the lovely Cromer where we met up with my mum, who had caught the train to see us.

The coast hopper bus runs once an hour and is dog friendly.

Once in Cromer, we didn’t stray far from the Pier, enjoying watching passers by and the ever changing sea. We’ve all missed the seaside so much. We’d brought some drinks with us and just sat, in the sun, until our tummies started to remind us that it was almost time for fish and chips. No 1 Cromer was busy, but not as busy as I’ve seen it in the past, but those fish and chips are just delicious and well worth the wait.

As the sun lowered in the sky, we went our separate ways, waving mum off at the station before we caught our bus back to Mundesley. We had time for a cuppa and another sit outside before the temperature plummeted forcing us inside – but our view remained through the windows until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.

Sunday arrived all too quickly, and our departure was looming. Before we packed away we enjoyed another cooked breakfast outside- we loved the local sausages, trying two interesting flavours, a bourbon smoked sausage and a pork and black pudding Sausage.

The Cadac Safari Chef 2 has proven to be a welcome addition to our camping equipment. It’s dinky size and versatility in terms of mixing and matching with our own frying pan etc make cooking on it a dream.

Sandy Gulls Caravan Park is terrific, so good that I almost don’t want to share it! In fact, I realised this weekend, that I must have had the same feeling when we last visited in October, as I appear to have failed to write a blog post about our previous stay here in October.

Back in October

At £20 pn at this time of year, we consider it to be a bargain. Even at peak times it doesn’t raise higher than £32 pn. The site has been invested in heavily, with new roads and hard standing pitches having been introduced. Pitches are well spaced, flat and have decent electric hook up. The facilities (water and waste disposal) are well kept and well organised, especially during the time of covid, and there was sanitiser everywhere. Plus, it must be the most scenic waste disposal location in the country right? We haven’t used the toilets or showers here as both times we’ve stayed they’ve not legally been allowed to open them, but I’ve read terrific reviews about them. The touring park is adults only, so it’s nice and quiet and there is easy access to the beach, and miles upon miles of walks from the site. We will DEFINITELY we back.

We may have only managed two nights away, but we’ve returned home feeling recharged and raring to the start the week ahead. We’re almost back to fully face to face now and life in school is chaotic but really excellent to be back. We’ve got loads of trips lined up in the coming weeks, so we look forward to sharing them with you.

Have you been away this week? Where have you been? Where’s on your list?

Until next time, keep safe and happy camping to you all

Lx

Adventures on The Thames Valley Path; May Bank Holiday weekend

Ruby the VW campervan is parked up on the banks of the River Thames. We can just about see boats going past through the trees from our pitch at Hurley Riverside Park, and the campsite is filling up, as you would expect for May Day Bank Holiday. We were drawn to Hurley Riverside Park due to its close proximity to the river, and our desire to clock up some more miles on the Thames Path.

The river is just behind us

After a hectic week at work, and a morning gig on Friday, it was lunchtime by the time we had thrown some food, clothes and ourselves into Ruby and escaped. I was frazzled – I’d managed to clock up 42 hours of teaching in 4 hours, 20 hours of admin and a gig. Our mission for the weekend was to eat, sleep and walk!

Hurley is a really pretty little Thames-side village which is home to the campsite and two pubs – one of which is the oldest coaching inn in England. We managed a quick drink outside Ruby before the heavens opened, so we opted for an early dinner – a new recipe for us, Tandoori Sea Bass which was delicious.

By the time we’d eaten it had stopped raining briefly, so we grabbed a brolly and went for a wander along the Thames to the village – just under a mile – and had a drink at The Olde Bell, England’s oldest coaching inn, which is dog friendly in the bar and had a great fireplace.

By the time back we got back to Ruby, the fish and chip van that visits the campsite on Friday evenings was just closing, and so we took advantage of the leftovers at a bargain price as we’d got cold and wet on our walk back from the pub.

Piggies! But they were delicious 😋

Saturday

We enjoyed a fairly lazy morning, and a nice omelette for breakfast before setting off towards Marlow on the Thames Path.

There was a section which was closed off due to a bridge needed repaired, but this diversion on quiet roads took us right past Town Farm butchers. Whoops. We cannot resist local butchers, specially those on a farm!

We stocked up on sausages, lamb kebabs and burgers with the intention of trying for a bbq tomorrow if the weather behaved, before carrying on towards Marlow.

At Marlow there was a great little farmers market where we got to have some local sausage rolls and also some local gin, which was so good I brought a bottle. Thank goodness we bought our large rucksack on the walk! DuPaddlebodring our walk we’d encountered blue skies, rain and even hail so we wore our raincoats allowing for more space in the rucksacks.

We decided to walk back on ourselves along the river up to the bridge that we couldn’t cross, and passed some huge houses right on the edge of the river. It was a truly gorgeous stretch of the Thames. We realised at this point we’d walked 7 miles and the thought of going 7 miles bake was exhausting – plus the weather had turned again, so as there was not any bus routes from Marlow to Hurley riverside park we opted for an Uber which picked us up right on the footpath and delivered us all the way back to Hurley – to the pub, the Rising Sun – a pint had definitely been earned, and we enjoyed the local Marlow brewery Rising sun ale.

Saturday night we enjoyed pulled pork which had been cooking in the slow cooker whilst we had been walking, along with some local gin, before crashing out for an early night.

Sunday

There had been quite a lot of rain in the night but thankfully it dawned quite sunny. The forecast today was brighter earlier so we opted for a lunchtime bbq. Before that, we inflated the Stand Up Paddleboard- one feature of Hurley Riverside Park is it’s on site slipway into the Thames. We had an hour or so larking around on that before showering and sparking up the bbq.

The bbq was one of the best I can remember – those sausages from Town Farm were so good that even our neighbour came to ask where they were from!

After lunch we were absolutely stuffed so decided on a walk the other way down the Thames- towards Henley on Thames. Last year you may remember we walked as far as Hambleton Lock, and so this afternoon we decided to walk back to The Flowerpot Hotel – this means that we’ve now covered from Henley on Thames to Marlow of the Thames Path.

We enjoyed a couple of drinks before making our way back to Ruby to fall into a Food coma! Actually, we made homemade pizzas in the Remoska but we were tiddly and we made a right mess of them – we did managed a slice each, before falling asleep!

Monday

Time to pack up, but before we headed east home, we dropped into National Trust Cliveden – along with the world and his wife! It was so busy and chaotic there that we managed a lap around the gardens before calling it a day and heading home. The gardens were stunning, there were just so many people.

We’ll have to return!

We had a brilliant weekend, and actually came home a bit grumpy as we’d really “come down”. We enjoyed the location of Hurley Riverside Park, although we personally bought the facilities could have done with a bit of investment. The showers were in a portacabin and although it was warm it wasn’t hugely clean – though I suspect that was more our fellow campers not cleaning up free themselves. The park was full to busting and in our opinion there probably could have been a few more showers – 2 male and 2 female for such a huge site seemed slightly under catered for – we actually had to queue a couple of times! However, a great location for the River Thames.

Until next time

Lx

Touring The Thames Valley: Part 1, Chertsey

The Thames Towpath has been on our list of places to visit for quite a while now, but as with all these things, things get bumped up/down, life or sometimes long haul trips get in the way, you know how it goes. We both naturally enjoy being around water and enjoy walking and cycling along Rivers and Canals. For one thing, they are usually dead flat – so no sneaky hills for us to contend with!

This Summer Holiday gave us the ideal opportunity to get cracking on our Thames Towpath walk, and luckily we were able to get booked on to a couple of Club sites in ideal locations for us. So, after a gig on Friday morning, we threw everything we needed into Ruby the VW Campervan and set off south, only getting caught up briefly around Heathrow, which wasn’t bad considering it was the Friday before the last bank holiday and we were travelling in the afternoon.

Our first campsite base was the Camping and Caravan Club site at Chertsey – situated right on the banks of the Thames, overlooking Chertsey Lock and Weir it was an ideal location for us. The Club Site was clean, spacious and tidy and we were very happy with our pitch which had a lovely view of the river.

Last night I made a homemade Chicken Dhansak which I’d portioned up for our dinner tonight – an easy and delicious meal for our first night. Across the road from the club site is a 24 hours Spa and Petrol station so after a quick wander down the Thames and a pint at the local pub, The Kingfisher, we popped in and picked up a samosa to accompany our DIY curry night. The fresh samosas heated up very well in our Ridgemonkey.