Thursday, 6 September 2012

Brighton again – and again, and again…

Today we hand over to Laura Canning from camping website Pitch-Up to give us some tips from her experiences of camping in Sussex....

‘We’re getting married,’ was the rather tipsy sentence I heard from a friend a year and a half ago late on a Friday night. After waiting until the alcohol had worn off from the happy couple and it was confirmed that yes, in the cold sober light of morn they were still getting married, I found myself making preparations to go to Brighton for the first time for their hitching. On Brighton Pier, the hippies.

Why it was the first time, I don’t know – all I can surmise is that there are too many places to see and that Brighton was just one on the ‘must do someday’ list. But after my first time there, I decided that it had been rather considerate of the couple to get spliced in Brighton and let me see a place I might not gone for some time. And then I went back again. And again…

We invaded The Old Ship Hotel for the wedding weekend, but as I’m a camper and like to stay somewhere off the beaten track, I looked for places around the city so I could go into Brighton every morning but see a bit of the surrounding countryside on my travels too. Maximise the time away from the office, that’s my motto…I found a jolly mixture of places to camp around Brighton with tons of things to do from fishing to shopping (natch). Here’s where:

The Barn Caravan Park: I picked this site as part of a week’s holiday as it’s only seven miles from Brighton but is a quiet secluded site and has free wifi – off the beaten track is fine, but I still want to laze about and read the papers on my laptop…There are pitches at The Barn for touring caravans and motorhomes, but I brought my trusty old tent instead, firing up one of the brick barbecues for dinner and pushing the kids away from the climbing tower slide. Well, I got there first.

Arundel Youth Hostel: Camping in the grounds of a Georgian villa while pretending from my tent that one day all this will be mine? Yes please. I moved on here from The Barn for a couple of nights to check out the Monarch’s Way – and the pub just up the road. There was a day at Arundel Castle and the Wetland Centre, a day on the South Downs, and both evenings on the villa veranda with a glass of wine watching the sun go down. Lush.

Arundel Youth Hostel
Merrylands: This site was for a weekend away with the other half, and we even managed to get a spaniel to take along with us – well, the site is dog-friendly and we wanted to pretend we had one (it was our neighbour’s dog – we did ask). The campfire was the other main pull: Merrylands loves its fires and smoky smells, and there’s nothing quite like cooking dinner out in the open over a fire. Even if we did have to struggle to keep the sausages away from the spaniel…

Owlsbury Park: Now I’m not saying the other half and I have anything against children, but occasionally it is nice to pitch up in an adults-only park. We think most parents would agree. Add to that the fact that Owlsbury is known for its wildlife and we were packing the rucksacks before you could say ‘It’s my turn with the binoculars’. This time round we borrowed a campervan rather than a dog, rolling up for a three night stay where the other half went fishing while I had a snuggly lie-in and waited for breakfast. Then we drove through the countryside to Brighton each day for shopping and sightseeing. Arnie style, we’ll be back.

Summer Ponds Fishery and Campsite
Sumners Ponds Fishery and Campsite: Yes, we went fishing again. Or rather, he did while I lazed on the grass and read many magazines, then told him if he wanted to see fish couldn’t we go to the Brighton Sea Life Centre and then go shopping instead? We used this as a base for Brighton for two days and for a day of fishing/reading/woodland walks – the lakeside café with hot food was a big hit with His Nibs too. And we did get to the Brighton Sea Life Centre, and shopping as well. Sorry, His Nibs. I’ll make it up to you on our next Brighton trip. Which I’m going to book in for a month and a half’s time…now where shall I stay next?

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