London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Favourite long week-end summer getaway and beach close to London? East Head National Trust has our vote and so are the days out near Chichester with kids or without! 1 hour and 45min drive from Kensington, one can leave home 9am and be by 10:45am by West Wittering parking (pre-book in advance!). Then a 20 minutes walk by the sea to find wonderful shifting sand dunes, saltmarshes and flowing tides; our kids fell in love just as we did when we first discovered it 8 years ago!
One of the last surviving pieces of natural coastline in West Sussex with a gorgeous and dynamic sand-dune habitat: marram grass, which needs the cover of the shifting sands to be able to grow; pink and white striped wildflowers; skylark and their songs; ringed plovers and occasionally even seals.
The boys loved playing and running in the sand dunes; walking along the saltmarshes and collecting crabs and water creatures; sunbathing and swimming. We found the shallow blue waters warm by English standards and the 7 years old and I swam for 1 hour we reckon!
The dunes are also the perfect shelter for chilling and reading whilst the kids play frescoball by the beach or frisbees. Lots of yachts and boats anchor off the northern end – glorious sailing days!
Bring your picnic and bottle of wine, National Trust shores are unspoilt and uncrowded, we have spent in here 2 blissful sunny half days.
Back to sailing we had a wonderful 5 hour trip with aboard Pearl with Alistair: departure from Dell Quay. Book your lunch or dinner before at Anchor and Crown, a 16th century water edged beautifully restored gastro pub with old beams, log fires and wonderful estuary views.
Chichester harbour treated us with sunshine and balmy 22 degrees, perfect to sip bubbles, soak in the estuary views and swim, we loved it and hoping to get back!
We got our culture fix at Arundel Castle and Gardens, as gorgeous as we remembered from 13 years ago! The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and their kids still live in, the gardens are impeccable, 1000 years of history packed in here and beautifully displayed plus enchanting landscapes across the South Downs and the River Arun.
We spent 2 nights at Hilton Arundel – one great base for the days out near Chichester with kids or without: 10 minutes’ drive to Arundel castle, 20 minutes to Dell Quay and 30 minutes to West Wittering village.
On this trip Hilton ‘treated’us with a very cosy family room rather than 2 interconnected rooms that we booked as well as 2 fire alarms in the middle of the night. The kids were too tired from all days wanderings to even hear the loud alarms, I have to admit that for grown ups was less so ! The dining in the gardens and yoga in the morning in the grass made up for it, as always adventures ad mishaps will be there but there was also tones of fun and occasionally some zen! The kids also loved Hilton’s pool, the table tennis and chess – lots of friendly families, so all chilled and easy.
Friends have tested also staying at Amberley castle and warmly recommended as well as winetasting at Tinwood Estate – so plenty of ideas for days out near Chichester with kids or without, we struggled to fit it all in a long week-end!
For more seaside inspiraton within 2 hours of London, check out our Best of Kent coast article: we are still raving about Botany Bay tall cliffs, art in Margate, Dover cliffs and Whitstable oysters. Less patience and/ or time to drive? Check our list of 26 best day trips from London within an hour drive or within 30 minutes drive from Kensington, head here. Have a great summer all!