Archives For Out and about in England

Simple Sunday Pleasures | Whitstable

Helen —  September 11, 2013 — 2 Comments

On the weekend we piled in the car and drove an hour or so to the seaside at Whitstable in Kent.

Whitstable chalkboard

It is a completely charming seaside town, and both the kids and the grown ups love it.

Whitstable stony beach

The beach isn’t quite what I am used to growing up in Australia but my little English roses love the shingle beach and aren’t at all bothered by Baltic water temperatures or sore feet.

Whitstable seafood

Lots of little sailing boats line the shore. I’ve never seen many out at sea but perhaps we haven’t been at the right time.

Whitstable

Whitstable is famous for its seafood, especially oysters. We had a deliciously simple lunch at the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company. Luckily for me, Smithy doesn’t like oysters so I get them all! Apologies to vegetarians or those who are just grossed out by these slimy delicacies!

Whitstable oysters

The pudding was delicious – coconut flavoured meringue wtih raspberry and passionfruit. I was too slow to snaffle the passionfruit from Miss S. Also a rare delicacy here!

pudding

seaside flowers

Pretty wildflower gardens along the sea front.

Whitstable

Whitstable

After lunch and a stroll we drove up, past the castle, and hung out at “the top” for awhile. Its a good place to sit and ponder, and perhaps have an ice-cream.

Whitstable

Kite flying didn’t really happen but we admired the cheerful beach huts before piling into the car for a delightful (ahem: two tired, sugar filled children) trip home.

Whitstable

Each time we visit Whitstable I am practically pressing my nose against the car window, checking out all the interesting looking antique, yarn and gift shops along the road into the village. Yet we have never once made it that far on a trip yet. Maybe next time.

Whitstable

 

What is your favourite beach/seaside place to go to? Tell me in the comments x

Glamping at The Bivouac

Helen —  April 3, 2013 — 1 Comment

easter egg hunt

After our annual Easter Egg hunt with the gang (ten kids!) on Friday we jumped in the car to drive to “The North”. The destination was The Bivouac in the Yorkshire Dales.

It was dark when we arrived and we crunched our way across a snowy field and through the trees to the woodland shack at the end of the trail. There we discovered the gorgeously named Teasel Burrow where the woodburning stove was just starting to heat up the cosy shack. Steve’s sister and boyfriend had already arrived and settled in. Even with four adults and two kids there was enough space.

cabin in the trees

bivouac woodland shack teasel burrow

There was a thick layer of snow over the field in front of the shack. It felt like the depths of winter and not the beginning of spring.

snowy view from the cabin

 Inside the shack was comfortable and welcoming. Everything was designed with perfect attention to detail – from a welcoming Easter decoration to the curving organic wooden structure of the shack itself. We enjoyed sitting around the table in the warm candlelight from the many lanterns.

easter egg decoration

the bivouac clamping woodland shack

There was a bathroom with a loo and shower. The water is heated by the woodburning stove and takes a couple of hours to heat up so we ended up using the communal shower block, mainly there for the people staying in the yurts. It was without a doubt the most luxurious camp ground shower block I’ve ever seen. Bespoke organic toiletries from the Bivouac Apothecary and hairdryers. Definitely on the glam side of “glamping”!

the bivouac

the bivouac apothecary

The three tiered sleeping area provided bedding for seven and an adventure playground for the kids.

the bivouac woodland shack

We had an outing to the ruins of Middleham Castle, about a twenty minute drive away.  Even in its deserted state the castle is still a spectacular building.

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle

Afterwards, we headed back to the Bivouac Cafe for lunch with some old friends who had driven down from Cumbria to meet us.

the bivouac cafe

Like everything at Bivouac, the cafe is full of creative details that give an inspiring and homey experience. Its also very family friendly which we appreciated with a kids playroom downstairs, great (healthy) kids menu and really nice change facilities – wipes and nappy bags provided! (sorry if that is TMI but when you need them, you really need them!)

the bivouac cafe

the bivouac cafe

 the bivouac cafe

the bivouac cafe

The food was delicious, nourishing and fresh, cooked by a chef onsite. Not your typical camping meal of half -burnt smokey sausages with soggy bread (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

the bivouac cafe food

 the bivouac cafe lighting

The owners, Beth and Sam Hardwick are welcoming and warm and their amazing vision for this special place really shines through. Beth talks about their experience setting it up in this article at The Ethical Traveller and I am so impressed by what they have achieved. 

We drove back to London feeling relaxed and restored, already planning our next trip to “the Biv”. Maybe in summer this time to enjoy more of the walking the area has to offer.