I love London. I really do, the hustle and bustle is just what I need at this point in my life. But that being said, I still need pretty regular breaks to get out of the city and just… breathe. It’s essential to get some headspace and greenery pretty often. I haven’t been travelling that much at the beginning of this year, mainly to do a bit of saving, and it has paid off with the new car! So once that was all sorted, it was time for us to get off on a little road trip. It took me ages to decide where to go, but I finally decided that Petworth and the South Downs was a good option, mainly as it was so close and affordable! (And don’t worry, I now have quite a few trips planned this year, so JC travels will be making a comeback!!)
We didn’t take any time off work, so this was a purely Saturday/Sunday deal. Although I wanted to spend some time in the forest, I was desperate to get me some sea air! So our first stage was to drive the couple of hours down from London to the coast. We went to a bit of coastline just outside of Littlehampton (which I have to say is not the most inspiring of towns…) and despite so pretty average weather, we had a really lovely walk down through the coast towards Bognor Regis. I got my sea air, there was literally no one else around and it was just the kind of space I had been craving. We even wandered past what I’m sure was a haunted house.
Heading back from the coast, we hit the south downs and the gem of the trip. We found the South Side Studio online, and it looked like the ideal little B and B to stay in. It’s actually an annex of a house in the middle of the forest, with only the one room, but just check out that view. It was right in the thick of the trees, whilst so cozy, warm and full of lovely food for snacks and breakfast.
And although we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there was a friendly local pub just down the road! It was so dark when we were walking, I literally couldn’t see a metre in front of my face, but we eventually stumbled around and ended up at The Cricketers. Some steaming bangers and mash and a good gin + tonic hit the spot before we headed back to the forest for bed.
On Sunday, after a lazy morning, we went for a walk through the woods behind the house and stumbled upon an amazing fishing pond. This along with views over the hills really set us off on a good day.
Rain was threatening, and as I do have a National Trust obsession, we headed off to Petworth House. Petworth is a huge stately home, surrounded by woodland and park. It also has a huuuuge art collection which was awesome to look through, with a lot of amazing marble statues. We got the audio guide and learnt a lot about the house and the history of the art. I loved the carved room the best, with Turner’s paintings of Petworth installed on the walls. The house even had a secret tunnel underneath which the servants would use to deliver the dinners.
After a wander around the garden and a bite of lunch in Petworth town, we headed off back home. Overall, I had such a lovely time and it is crazy how close this bit of the UK is to where we are! Only a little over an hour from Petworth in good traffic. I definitely want to take some more day trips out here when I’m needed a little break from the city.
What little gems have you found near your home?