People thought we were crazy when we said we were going to go backpacking and camping in January in the UK. It’s “too cold”, “too wet”, and “too muddy”. But, we did it! And it was amazing! And you should all do it!
This weekend we packed all of our outdoorsy gear into our big backpacks and headed down south into the South Downs National Park. We took a train and a bus to get to Ditchling. From there we hiked about 2 miles to Ridgeview Wine Estate for some sparkling wine tasting. The vineyard was beautiful and the tasting was great. One of the best tastings we’ve ever been to for your money. We sampled 7 different sparkling wines, each one with a very generous pour! We both agreed that the 2011 Blanc de Blancs and the 2013 Rose de Noirs were our favourites. We bought a bottle of the Rose to bring back to London with us (Dan had to lug it around for the rest of the weekend!)
After wine tasting, we walked another few miles into town for a quick lunch at a cafe’ before another few miles into our campsite. We stayed at a place called Blackberry Wood. It is quite a quirky place. They offer camping in a helicopter, double decker bus, a tree house and a few other odd shelters. We settled for the simple, wooded site and set up our own tent. There were only 2 other tent campers there, so it was nice and secluded!
After setting up, we took a nice rest and enjoyed the quiet outdoors. Living in the city for awhile now, I often forget how much I love nature and enjoying the quiet outdoors. At dusk, we laced up our hikers again and hiked off another couple of miles into town to grab a pub dinner. We enjoyed the warmth of the indoors and the fireplace with our delicious pub food and pints. At this point, it started raining, so we cheated and called a cab to take us back to our campsite.
Although it was still drizzling when we got back, we decided we had to still have a campfire and s’mores. It’s really hard to find s’mores ingredients in the UK – so we decided to improvise with Biscoff biscuits, dark chocolate and of course marshmallows. You guys – don’t ever use a graham cracker and Hershey’s again! This was a total game changer! It was amazing and I never want a traditional s’more again! Delish! (Total failure on my part to take a picture – but I was too engrossed in it’s delishness to stop and snap one!)
Although it rained most of the night, our tent kept us dry and (mostly) warm. I wouldn’t say it was the best night’s sleep – but it was still good. One of my favourite things about camping is having coffee in the morning. We love Starbucks instant packets for camping. We boiled water with our little stove and were able to enjoy Starbucks coffee while relaxing in our tent.
Nothing crazy exciting about this weekend. But it was perfect. Short and sweet. Dan and I love the outdoors. We did get a bit cold, damp and muddy – but we love getting away and enjoying our time together. It really was so beautiful, refreshing and relaxing. And we were able to get some good mileage in 🙂