Another flashback post. I can’t remember why this one fell behind, but here you go! 🙂
On November 16, we flew to the U.K. from Finland, landing at Gatwick Airport, where we rented a car and drove an hour or so south to Hastings in East Sussex…in the dark…on the left side of the road…in the rain. Mike did a great job navigating, and I’m glad it was dark, so I couldn’t see how truly narrow some of the roads were!
Day 1: The kids were excited to have a bit of a yard to play outside, despite the rain and wind. L proceeded to test the strength of the wind with his tree branch and G measured water in her tin foil cup. Busy work makes people hungry, so we had our first taste of U.K. fish and chips at The Crown, which was highly recommended, and they were delicious!
Afterward, we wandered around Old Town for a bit.
We spotted some interesting things in the window of the Curiosities and Antiques shop, found a giant chessboard with nautical-themed pieces, and noticed street signs painted on a building that said (George and Russell – my maternal and paternal grandfathers’ names!).
Day 2: Drove down to the sea and parked near the shopping center. This was much easier said than done. Every road we were on was too narrow for two cars in many places, especially given the number of cars parked on both sides of the roads, so it requires skillful driving and maneuvering as well as give and take between drivers. I wasn’t a fan. (Fast forward to Stirling, where we didn’t have a car, but they had many more one way streets, which to me just makes more sense when the roads are so narrow. Just one gal’s opinion. :))
We spent lots of time walking up and down the beach as the kids played in the waves. They LOVED it!
We made our way further down the beach over to Hastings Pier and had a hot chocolate, ice cream treat, and a latte at the Pavilion Restaurant and Bar.
There was a great interactive exhibit at The Deck building on the pier all about the history of Hastings Pier from dancing to bands that have played there (including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Clash, and Def Leppard!) to the different versions of the structure to the fire that took it down, most recently in 2010!
(Cool motorcycle and sidecar!)
After leaving the pier, we walked down to the other end of the beach by Old Town to check out a great playground and just explore.
Right next to the playground were 3 unique mini golf courses. One of them even had pirate ships with with canons “firing” at each other!
A little further down were net houses and some old boats. The net houses are super cool looking, tall, black wooden sheds. They were originally build up on posts. Now they are on the ground, but they were used to protect the natural fishing gear that would rot if left wet for too long. As materials today are artificial, it’s not as important, but they are still unique and interesting buildings.
On the way back to the car, there was: More splashing in the waves, of course! Watching someone swimming in the sea!!! Brrrrr!!! A “no fouling” sign…or else! Purchasing fresh salmon paté at a local market. Yummy! Sighting of a Zoltar-like fortune teller machine!
And one more splashing picture because it’s so much fun!! See how much fun they’re having and look at those beautiful sun rays!!
On the way home from a great day, we had a little mishap that involved our rental car and a parked car. Mike will post about that and will include first-person accounts from all of us.
Day 3: Yay! Our first bright, sunny morning in Hastings! We decided we’d better get out and enjoy it before the clouds and rain rolled in. We headed to the East Hill Lift – the U.K.’s steepest funicular railway – for a ride to the top of the cliff and access to Hastings Country Park, where we roamed around for almost 2 hours! The views were spectacular, overlooking Old Town and the sea in all directions!
We headed back to the lift to find that it was temporarily closed for repairs, so we had to take the stairs and then it was time for some fish and chips!!
As we sort of expected, our nice, sunny day began turning into a cloudy, rainy day as we started to walk toward the pier. It wasn’t long after, that it became a total downpour with the wind coming straight at us! Not too windy to run on the beach, though!
We soldiered on knowing there were hot chocolates and lattes at The Pavilion Restaurant and Bar! But, when we got there, others had the same idea, so there was no place to sit. We walked down to the end of the pier for some windy, rainy photos and then popped back into The Deck building.
Above: Mommy and G followed the dancing feet painted on the deck as a salute to all the ballroom dancing that took place there during its heyday!
We made it into The Deck building just in time for the family day craft event. 🙂 G, Mommy, and L made sea salt bath gifts scented with rose (G) and vanilla (Mommy and L). The restaurant had cleared out a bit by that point, so we stopped in for hot chocolates (made with Cadbury’s chocolate!), a latte, and a mincemeat pastry before heading back into the weather.
As we left, it was starting to get dark, the lights were coming on, and the rain was starting again, but the kids still had fun playing by the waves as we made our way back to the car park. Shortly after we got home, the skies opened up and the wind picked up. We spent the evening having grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner and watching “Back to the Future!”
Day 4: When we woke up in the morning, we realized that none of us had slept very well as the wind blew and the rain battered against the windows all night. We found out (as it was still rainy and windy) that it was a result of the first winter storm of the season — Storm Angus — which caused quite a bit of damage, flooding, and cancellations of various events across southern England. Wind gusts by us were almost 60 mph, while other areas recorded even higher speeds! As we were all a little tired and the weather was a bit nasty, we spent the day lazing about watching snip-its of various shows, including Saved by the Bell, a John Wayne movie, and some game shows (The Chase, Pointless, The Crystal Maze.) 🙂
Day 5: The weather was still a bit “fresh” (cold and windy), so we decided it was a good day to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” We all really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it! Afterward, we walked just down the street to an outdoor sports store having a pre-Black Friday sale, where we found G a new pair of hiking boots and some socks. Unfortunately, kids’ feet don’t stop growing just because you’re traveling. (We were able to donate her old boots when we got to Wendover! 🙂 )
For dinner, Mike grilled burgers (in the rain), and we had leftover salmon paté and yellow and orange peppers. Delicious! We walked down to the Conqueror’s March for dessert – a sundae for Leo, a chocolate brownie and custard for Grace, and caramelised cheesecake for Mike and me.
Day 6: Storm Angus continued to cause strong winds and periods of rain overnight and into the morning, so we didn’t get out until late in the afternoon! Passing by a pretty church door, we went for a walk in the woods near our house with beautiful views. Had a tasty dinner (including garlic bread that resulted in the smiles below) at Robert de Mortain, a pub just down the road.
Day 7: Pack, clean, and head to Wendover. We couldn’t resist taking a picture of L in a real cupboard under the stairs, just like Harry Potter, except we didn’t make him sleep there and he’s not a wizard!
Below: One last picture in Hastings. It’s the backyard of the house where we stayed. I was amazed by how green everything was in the middle of November and how the backyard looked almost tropical!