Shaftesbury, Burwash & Brighton, U.K.

We’re one week into the trip and yet to feel those holiday vibes kick in. I think it’s going to take some getting used to, this waking up and not having to go to work malarky. That said, we’re loving it!

For me, coming to England doesn’t feel much like a holiday anyway, as I’m home. For Tim, it’s new and exciting, or at least I hope it is and he’s enjoying being dragged around my old haunts and meeting all the family.

So where did we start? Down at Mum’s in Shaftesbury, an old Saxon market town and the gateway to the Southwest of England. Shaftesbury’s ‘Gold Hill’ was made famous by a 1973 ‘Hovis‘ ad. It’s picturesque and very country; lots of Land Rovers whizzing through the cobbled streets and people sporting shooting jackets, Hunter wellies, and tweeds just to pop to the shops. There’s even a new, boutique shop that’s just opened, selling only flat peak hats for the country folk and tourists alike. 

Tim said that after seeing Shaftesbury, he now knows the meaning of the word “quaint”. I have to agree, it’s just that. He also said that you might expect to see a dead body around every corner. It could be a town straight from the screen of ‘Midsomer Murders’ or ‘Inspector Morse’. 

We spent our first five days settling in and getting over the jet lag. We hung out with Mum, went to the Dorset food festival (where there were more than enough cheese stalls) and even went to the local art class. Tim revealed his inner Picasso! We also made a day trip to Bath, a town known for it’s Roman-built natural spa baths, 18th Century architecture and dangerous shopping. The U.K. has such a rich history, there are many towns like Bath that you could spend day after day visiting, Oxford, Cambridge and London to name a few. English Heritage and National Trust also do an incredible job at preserving ancient sites and buildings. If you’re a History buff, the U.K is a great place to visit. 

The last half of the week we were in Burwash, East Sussex, at my brother’s house. They live right in the country in a lovely old Oast House. As my sister in law celebrated a milestone birthday this week, we were roped in to babysit my nephew while they booked onto a weekend retreat. Lucky for them!

We went to Dungeness, a headland in the county of Kent which they call “the desert of England”. A unique place – no boundaries, it’s a desolate landscape covered mostly with a shingle beach but with wooden houses or old train carriages (now dwellings) and the odd scrap heap dotted about. With the backdrop of a nuclear power station, it gives the whole expanse a post-apocalyptic feel. Juxtapose this with the fact that it’s home to 600 species of plants, which is a third of all plants found in the U.K., it’s no surprise that artists and photographers flock to Dungeness for inspirational landscapes and unusual photo shoots. 

We ended the weekend with a day trip to Brighton, the city where I went to University. It was a nostalgic drive back onto the campus and then parking outside my old house. It will be 10 years next year since I started Uni – how time flies! We had a great day wandering the lanes, having lunch on the beach and chilling in the Pavilion gardens. It’s definitely a city I could live in if we were to come back for a stint in the U.K. 

So, with four British counties under the belt already, next week we’re in sunny Scarborough, North Yorkshire. We used to holiday to this seaside town when I was growing up, as my family are from here, so maybe this is when we’ll start to feel those holiday vibes.

Check out the photos from Brighton, Camber Sands, Dungeness, Burwash, Bath and Shaftesbury

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