We returned last Friday from our first proper holiday of the summer. And what a week we had! Finally, some proper sunshine to help us make the most of our week away. We went camping in Suffolk, at the Southwold Camping and Caravan Park. It’s not the most luxurious campsite around: the amenities are pretty basic and there are a lot of cobwebs about. But the location of the campsite is incomparable! Right next to the gorgeous Southwold beach on one side and the harbour at Walberswick at the other. It’s also walkable from there into Southwold. We spent a lot of our time on either the beach or at the model boat pond.
Southwold itself is a lovely, proper seaside town. It’s somehow managed to maintain a quiet, laidback feel – in my opinion – without becoming full of tat or rundown, closed shops. There are quite a few ‘upmarket’ clothes shops that I find a bit tedious, but it’s made up for by the beautiful beach, stunning views of the beach huts and lighthouse and pretty walks around Walberswick.
The kids loved camping, unsurprisingly. They love the whole process of it: putting the tent up, sleeping in their sleeping bags, cooking on the Trangia. The campsite we visit is brilliant for families because it is a few hundred metres away from the beach. So you can hear the waves crashing at night, wake up early and there’s the beach to visit which will keep any young child entertained for hours on end, leaving whoever is the lucky other half to have an extra hour’s sleep in peace… I’ve got to be honest, it’s usually me that gets the lie in, especially on a camping trip. This time, I was reading ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn so didn’t really make the most of my lie in one morning, which was a mistake as I’d stayed up til some stupid hour the night before reading it as well, with my torch underneath my sleeping bag hood. It was great and foolish in equal measures.
See that child in the picture above? Looks angelic, doesn’t he? And for the most part, Dexter is wonderful. He’s a very happy, slightly daft little boy who still runs like a drunken zombie, will climb anything in sight and will sing nearly any nursery rhyme you like in a surprisingly deep voice… all of this is adorable, cute, blah, blah, blah. Try it in a tent. At night. When everyone else is asleep. Dexter himself is asleep, apparently. But does this stop him roaming around the tent, trying to jump on his big sister, sing his little heart out and murmer, ‘Doing? Doing?’ every five minutes? No. As Aidan said the morning after the particularly horrendous first night, ‘That is a kid who will sleep walk if ever I saw one.’ We always knew he did this in his cot every night, but I think both of us thought he was still awake. It turns out, he isn’t. He’s pretty much asleep, still yodeling ‘Eeee Ayee, eeee ayee, oohhhhh….’ For hours. Guess who’ll be still in a cot by the time he goes to school?
There are a couple of good antiques and vintage collectables shops in Southwold that we always enjoy a look round. The kids were particularly taken with the vintage toy section in Wow Vintage. I really liked the Radio Flyer cart outside, especially as we’ve got an old Radio Flyer trike already, but it was too expensive. The displays inside the shop are fantastic, laid out over two floors; it’s crammed into a tight space, but it’s arranged so well that it doesn’t feel too full or junky. Definitely have a look if you’re in the area.
Corliss was a little superstar on holiday. Despite being very, very attached to her dad for the entire week, other than that she was on top form. She loved the tent, flying her kite and digging on the beach and sailing her boat on the model pond. She was cracking us up with makeshift binoculars: basically, making glasses out of her hands and looking through them. Although, it has made me think maybe we should get her eyes tested. She went to sleep like a dream every night, just rolled over, closed her eyes and was asleep. I’m not surprised though as she walked miles every day.
All in all, it was a pretty fantastic holiday. Even the traffic wasn’t too bad getting there and back so it made it feel that much more accessible. We’re thinking of booking for the whole week next year, probably around the same time. We might even venture further away than Southwold and Aldeburgh if we’ve got a few more days, but I’d be happy to spend it on the beach with the kids, digging away, paddling in the sea and chalking patterns onto rocks and shells. We’re off next week to Sardinia for a week, so hopefully we’ll have another fantastic time there too. Summer holidays are nearly over; I’m looking forward to the new school year but I’d actually be happy for the summer to last a little bit longer yet.