We forced ourselves away from the stunning hotel to explore the local area and see what West Sussex has to offer.
First up was the SEAS winter fair that was full of eager christmas shoppers and excited children hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa. We grabbed a cup of warm spiced apple juice and meandered around the many stalls, food huts and demonstrations at this lively agricultural annual fair. I even managed to tick a few people’s christmas gifts off my list which was a bonus!
Weighed down with handmade gifts and unique artisan offerings we headed back to the car and on to the next place on our itinerary. We drove over to Borde Hill to have a delicious light lunch at Cafe Elvira (the haggis was the best I’ve had outside of Scotland!) before meeting guide Eleni Clarke, the vivacious and warm owner of the impressive estate.
Eleni walked us around the grounds sharing her knowledge of the many varieties of plants and flowers that they have carefully cultivated here over many years. Winding paths behind ivy covered iron gates led you to the next part of the gardens, it was the perfect place to get lost on a crisp Winter’s day.
I can just imagine in the spring it turns into a riot of colour and scent. After getting lungfuls of fresh air she invited us back to her house to have a cuppa and a chat in the gorgeous antique filled living rooms.
The next day we were back in the great outdoors and headed to Wakehurst Gardens. The popular botanic gardens contain woodlands, wildlife and is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world.
Our path was trailed with lanterns, large light up robins and the tallest fir tree I’ve ever seen (turns out this is the tallest living xmas tree in the UK!) laden with lights as part of their Christmas light walk. Sadly we didn’t have time to return once it had grown dark but I’m sure it would be the most spectacular sight.
Our trip finished with an enormous Sunday roast at the Old Dunnings Mill. We’ve started Everleigh’s weaning ‘journey’ which I thought was going pretty well until she decided mashed carrots just wasn’t for her … all over the dinner table! At least we got to enjoy a roast dinner with all the trimmings before we cleared up and left. All the joys of travelling with a baby, I guess!
Thanks to Tourism South East for supporting this trip. All views are 100% my own.