Hey all, hope you are well.
Anyone who follows my Instagram page knows that we have just been away for the weekend. It’s been a few months in the planning stages as a weekend childfree is one to really take advantage of!
We love our boys dearly but every so often Nana and Grandad give them a break from us and us a break from them!
We decided to look at AirBnb for the first time. I had heard good things about it and as hotels and holiday lets are so expensive nowadays it seemed a good way of getting something special without the expensive hotel price tag.
We had the idea to go to Romney Marsh with a view to exploring East Sussex. Romney Marsh is somewhere I’ve driven through and always thought was pretty but never really spent much time in. We came across a place called ‘The Shed’ which is in a rural part of Bonnington on the Marsh. It ticked all the boxes for relaxing, quiet and away from the day to day fast pace of life.
The name really didn’t seem to do the place justice from the pictures and the lovely owners were fab with communicating with us and making sure we had good directions. We arrived on Friday and pulled through the farmhouse gate with the shed in front of us. Some of the Airbnb options are rooms within the owners address and some are separate dwellings, cabins, annexes etc. The Shed is a converted apartment over a large country style workshop. Separate from the beautiful old house across the way of the owners Tina and Jeremy.
Tina showed us around and we fell in love, the decor was beautiful, simple, relaxing and in great style. Hand painted murals adorned some of the walls and furniture. Vintage furniture and accessories were dotted around the house including an old wooden ladder leading up into a nook which had a little bed area with a sky light, beautiful old glass bottles and old weighing scales.
There were fresh flowers dotted around each room (if you know me you will know how much I loved this!) as well as creature comforts such as tea, coffee, fresh milk, a range of additional tea bags in all manner of varieties, fresh croissants, toiletries and a lovely card and bottle of prosecco in the fridge as I had told Tina we were celebrating our anniversary.
The Shed has its own garden with a table and chairs (cushions provided too!) and a lovely view across open farmland. You can also wander around Tina and Jeremy’s garden which is absolutely stunning, full of flowers in bloom and their friendly golden retrievers!
Everything was wonderfully comfortable, relaxing and we really felt at home. We would love to go back and I think the next child free weekend we have we will! If you would like to take a look at this gorgeous retreat please click here. I know that you will love it too!
We spent our first day exploring East Sussex and started with gorgeous Rye. It was somewhere I remembered going as a child for outings to eat fish and chips and sit by the river. I don’t recall ever really exploring. We went quite early and parked easily (lots of little car parks dotted around) we had been warned by Tina that it gets very busy so it would be better to go early. I was blown away with all the gorgeous shops you find on The Deals which are all housed inside tall black buildings with wooden cladding. There were antiques, interiors, crockery, gift shops, coffee shops and all manner of other shops to look through here. They were all colourful and full of delights.
We then walked up the famous Mermaid Street which goes up hill and into the centre of the citadel (how clever do I sound, I said citadel!) Its a cobbled street and every house was unique and gorgeous. Pastel coloured wooden front doors, wisteria growing over the windows, seagulls who seemed so at ease with people one of them guided us up the hill and all manner of pretty signs and reminders of how old the houses were. It was early and quiet so we walked up totally on our own other than our friend the seagull who appears in every picture I took on Mermaid Street!
We then wound our way around all the little streets and side streets stopping off at various delightful shops including ‘The shop next door’ and the Rye Deli on the High Street. We then made our way to the church of St Mary which was breathtaking. The church itself is huge and the stained glass windows are absolutely beautiful. We paid seven pounds for the trip to the top of the church tower which we had been told boasts the best views of Rye. It was quite a climb along some narrow passages but totally worth it at the top. The day was sunny and bright and we could see for miles.
We then drove about a mile and a half down the road to the beautiful Rye Harbour, this is a really well looked after area with an art gallery, nature reserve, pub and cafes. We didn’t walk the whole of the reserve but the part we did was lovely. There were clean toilets, a lifeboat station and lots of boats to look at. Would be a fab spot for taking the little people with their scooters or bikes.
Then it was off to Hastings, where I had heard there is a vibrant Old Town and arts scene that we were really keen to check out. We were not disappointed! The Old Town is clearly signposted from the town. As it was so busy on the seafront we couldn’t park there but found parking reasonably not far away at the Priory Meadow shopping centre in the middle of town.
You know as soon as you enter the old town, you can smell all manner of exotic food, we could hear bells and singing from the Morris dancers and the shops had all manner of delights spilling out from inside to the street. As it’s a bank holiday weekend and Hastings was celebrating there were Morris dancers and little gatherings of people with flowers in their hair and feathers in their hats dotted along the old town and they were fab! We went into every shop from vintage furniture, homewares, lighting, retro stores, clothes and cafes. I was blown away by the creativity and originality of some of the shops and treated myself to a gorgeous metal star garland to hang above our bed suspended on a large piece of wood (looks better than it sounds I assure you!)
We had a lovely lunch at the Two Bulls Steakhouse just at the end of the old town and I had the nicest banoffie pie I think I’ve ever had. It came with toasted peanuts and toffee sauce around the edge and over the top and although I knocked it all over the plate and onto the table (much to Karl’s embarrassment) I enjoyed every single bite.
We stopped off at The Pilot in Dungeness on the way home for a pint of cider and a walk on the beach which was very peaceful and the cider was good! The Pilot serves what my parents call Moby Dick and Chips as he cod is so huge and I remember many a happy childhood memory there.
On our last day we checked out of the Shed after a lovely lay in and drove to nearby Mersham and to The Secret Garden for brunch. I’ve only ever been here for tea and cake so to have a meal was a real treat. The restaurant is stunning and each table was adorned with such beautiful flowers that at first I thought we were interrupting preparation for a wedding breakfast. The food was scrummy and although we were only having brunch we got beautiful toast made from bread baked on the premises with fruit and homemade jam.
I of course lowered the tone by plastering my tea cup in my current favourite shade of bright pink lipstick! Only me hey!
We then had the pleasure of exploring the secret garden itself. A beautiful walled garden full of blooms of all shapes and sizes, gorgeous trees full of blossom and magical areas used for weddings. The area used for newly weds to sign the register was a closed in wooden structure with fresh floral garlands adorning the entrance and roof. It was something out of a fairy tale.
At the end of the garden is a large greenhouse which houses the florist who provides all the floral arrangements inside the restaurant. Sadly it was closed today but the outside areas reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and was somewhere I could get lost for hours. If you would like to check out the menu for the Secret Garden click here. It’s a must to eat there!
So we are now home, back with the boys, surrounded by Lego, the new drum kit and all manner of junk modelling creations. We had an amazing weekend and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it and it will be helpful to you if you decide to visit these gorgeous places.
I also think this is the longest blog post I’ve ever written so if you have got this far I applaud you, I thank you and I owe you a large glass of wine. I’m going to have one after writing it!
Have a fantastic week you lovely people xx