One of the few joys of travel in the last 2 years is we’ve been forced to explore a little closer to home. This weekend I took the opportunity to get away to Oxford and Sussex for a few nights.
We had taken some advice and it was generally agreed that if you are self driving the best way to access Oxford was by Park and Ride. There are about 6 of them scattered around the Ring Road and the process was super easy. What it has meant for Oxford is that the city centre is lovely and almost car free – however watch out the students have bikes and they nearly knocked us off our feet a couple of times.
We hadn’t booked a lunch and ended up grabbing something simple in the @thecoveredmarket. As delicious as it was – we kicked ourselves for not taking our own advice and booking a table at @quodrestaurant. We got our 10 000 steps in with visits to Ashmolean Museum, Bodleian Library, Blackwell Books as well as exploring the back streets near New College my fathers Alma Mater from the sixties.
We stayed spent the night South of Oxford in a village called Sonning on Thames. We subsequently learnt was where George Clooney, Theresa May and the guitarist from Led Zeppelin called home. Having spent an hour in the morning looking for George, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Coppa Club before heading further south.
On this trip we circumnavigated London and headed to Brighton for the afternoon. After Oxford, Brighton did seem a bit bohemian. I believe strongly in the old adage ‘have you even been to the seaside if you don’t have an icecream’? It was very windy and cold, but it didn’t stop us finding a Flake 99.
We checked into Ockenden Manor and Spa in Cuckfield. What an absolute treat to be back here. I’ve usually stayed in one of their modern Spa Suites , located in their purpose built spa building. This time we were treated to stay in one of their feature rooms. Behold glorious woodland scenes Sanderson wallpaper, marble bathroom, huge rain shower, massive bath, fireplace and an old four poster bed. I am so delighted that prints and colour and wallpaper are back in design, this really felt like a proper Country House Hotel. So inspired by the ambience my husband has consented to Sanderson Wallpapering our downstairs bathroom when we get home. Dinner is served in their restaurant and we enjoyed every mouth full. Breakfast is served with beautiful Pip Studio Crockery with an absolute explosion of colour. It was perfect.
A note to the wise, pack your wellies or your walking boots, we had to abandon our planned walk at the first gate as it was really muddy. The hotel has about 10 walking routes with views across the Downs and amongst pretty countryside. This really is green belt country. After a gentle stroll around the pretty village of Cuckfield we headed back to Ockenden Manor to spend the day in the spa.
The spa is exactly as a spa should be. I had a lovely full body massage and then relaxed in the outside Jacuzzi. My husband managed a few lengths of the inside / outside pool. All you can drink Nespresso Coffee is available to guests. Book your spa treatments before you arrive, the Spa was busy and popular.
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