Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Do you ever just feel you need a change of scenery without the aggravation of checking into airports and all that entails? Sometimes a couple of nights away a little closer to home is all you need to clear the cobwebs, and return home refreshed. Which is why I have had a few UK mini-breaks in recent months. It’s a good opportunity to catch up with friends while doing something different – and nobody has to cook!
It is amazing how different everything looks just a relatively short drive – or train ride away.
I have a friend who used to live in Eastbourne – she had to visit to sort out a few things and rented an apartment for a week and suggested that I join her for the weekend. I had forgotten how unspoilt the area is. We both like to walk and had some terrific walks along the coastal paths – we were lucky with the weather! The South Downs National Park in Eastbourne actually has more walking routes than any other national park in the UK. If, like me, you have no natural sense of direction, then the (free) Eastbourne Trails App is a useful tool, current trails take you through the East of the Pier heritage trail, the Blue Plaque Trail ( of which there are many!) and the Seven Sisters trail.
For us it was less than 2 hours away from where we live – in fact it is just 90 minutes from London- but seemed a world away from our very busy corner of Berkshire.
Lots to do in Eastbourne
I discovered that there was a lot more to do in Eastbourne and the surrounding area than I had anticipated – in fact we are planning a return visit – perhaps to coincide with Aegon International Eastbourne tennis tournament – neither of us were lucky in the Wimbledon ballot this year so it is one way of getting our annual tennis ‘fix’. There are a lot of other events throughout the year, including food festivals and an award winning airshow.
There are 5 theatres so plenty of choice if you want to take in a show, and lots for the history buff to do (I hadn’t realised that this is where William the Conqueror landed in 1066), and this year Eastbourne are celebrating literary heroes – so you can walk in the footsteps on the likes of Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Lewis Carroll.
The South Downs National Park covers a huge area 1600 square kilometres, and there is so much to see and do. From cycling and horse riding to visiting pretty villages and historical sites (I have a National Trust Membership which is fabulous for weekends – home and away), so a weekend break needn’t cost a fortune. Nor does just standing and taking in the view of the chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters Country Park or exploring the marine life in the rock pools at Holywell Beach.
There is so much variety in terms of scenery in the UK, and with the current exchange rates, this seems like the ideal time to do it- and another trip to Eastbourne is on my list.