Annoyingly Miss G is now required to pay a full price plane ticket, so for Easter we decided to skip the foreign travelling and stay in England, a country that I have lived in for the past 13 years and that I have hardly explored. The reasons for this are many, but rubbish weather and my love of city breaks are perhaps the main ones.
With a last minute booking to a guesthouse, with wellies and hats packed, we set off to Dorset. Leaving a sunny London on Good Friday, we arrived in Christchurch, Dorset, three hours later. The afternoon was spent at Highcliffe Castle and beach, which were as beautiful as they were freezing cold. Undeterred and layered with clothes to the point of not being able to move we went and explored.
Dinner was an impromptu stop at The Lord Brute in Christchurch. We were all tired and cold and hoping for a fine meal. It turned up to be a huge mistake not to order starters as this threw the kitchen in total confusion and we had to wait 50 minutes for our mains, whilst watching people receiving their starters five minutes after they had sat down. More confusion came with regards to Miss G's allergies and it suffice to say that we paid no service charge for our delicious yet very late meal. It makes me so crossed that many upmarket restaurants can be so clueless on food allergies and yet high street chains are so knowledgable.
Despite the long day and the not entirely restful night, we set up a big treat for Miss G on the Saturday. We left Dorset for an enjoyable half an hour drive through the New Forest to go and visit Peppa Pig world. Luckily the sun did come up at times and, despite the Arctic temperature, we all had a lot of fun. Little G could not believe her eyes when her favourite character, Suzy Sheep, came out to say hi, but she did not appreciate us taking her to a fairly high water slide (evil parents!) but thankfully a £2 pencil case from the Peppa toy shop washed away the tears quickly. Phew.
Whilst Little Miss G earned a well deserved nap in the car, we drove all the way to Poole Harbour (beautiful!) and she woke up just in time to see us catch the chain ferry to the village of Studland in the Isle of Purbeck. The scenery was incredibly picturesque and the beaches looked beautiful, but we decided against the view (and the cold) and in favour of a warm and early dinner at the famous Bankes Arms pub.
Owing to some previous commitments we cut the holiday short by one day and returned to London on Easter Sunday. Luckily the Easter Bunny remembered to bring a chocolate to Dorset and with a breakfast of chocolate in bed and our bags packed we spent our last day away from London exploring the New Forest.
I admit that the deer watching platform and the oldest oak tree in the forest were a bit underwhelming for us, but the actual forest in itself was charming and simply stunning. We had to cut our walk short when Little G set her mind on playing a game of hide-and-seek. We would probably still be there, police cars and all, if we did not strapped her in the car headed to Lyndhurst.
Lyndhurst is the main village in the New Forest and has a small and inviting high street. The highlight for us was the Old Apothecary. Before driving back to the Big Smoke, we visited the New Forest Museum in Lyndhurst which was pleasant and informative, if not rather focused on poo. From chocolate pony poo, to match the game of animal-footprints-poo, it seemed to us that those New Forest people have quite a lot of poo in their minds.
Luckily the drive back to London was smooth with no traffic and with a snoring toddler at the back of the car. The Easter bunny left a bag of presents in our living room, which was all Little Miss G needed to end the holiday on a super high. (I should add that the Easter Bunny was both smart and recession conscious and he made his money go a long way thanks to Peppa Pig hair pins, magazines and eBay goods. Clever bunny, indeed!)
We will return to these regions in warmer weather as it was obvious to us that there was so much more to discover and enjoy. Now, when is the next Bank Holiday again?
I've linked this post with Country Kids from Coombe Mill