Being near water not only brings back incredibly happy childhood memories, it also makes me feel at ease. I can physically feel the weight lift off my shoulders, I can feel my muscles relax and my troubles and thoughts leave my anxious mind. I could stand and stare into the calming blue forever. Which is why I’m sharing my favourite places to go when I need to breathe deep and exhale…
This is my favourite place of ALL TIME. I can recount endless childhood stories from Mudeford and reminisce for hours. We used to stay in a caravan park near by for our family holidays with my grandad. We’d take countless day trips to Mudeford to go crabbing, eat cockles and have a pint of prawns. We’d catch the boat across to the Spit, sit on the beach and build sand castles. In the summer my cousins would visit for the day and we’d compete to see who could lure the most crabs in. It would be messy and brilliant, with our grandad staying neutral as he darts around with the net between the four of us. We’d get there early and go home late with a strong stench of dead fish on our hands from the bait. I loved it.
For my family hen do last summer, my mum, auntie, cousin and other cousin’s wife bundled me off there to celebrate. We started our day on Avon Beach (more on that below) and ended crabbing, like the olden days all while swigging from jugs of Pimms. We watched the sun set and the fireworks over the harbour and it was epic and nostalgic all in one.
We start every new year with a fry up (or avocado on toast which I definitely recommend) at the Noisy Lobster, followed by a gentle stroll down the beach. We watch the crazy swimmers, the dogs chasing their new balls across the sand and the kids on their Christmas-present bikes. This is where I’d always choose to go for reflective walks. To dust off the cobwebs. To start again.
It’s also where my family set up a hen do for me last August, complete with gazebo, flamingo piñata, packed snacks, Pimms and games. It was brilliant. Surrounded by my favourite people, in my favourite place.
West Wittering will forever conjure up memories of extreme sandcastle building with our grandad. I’m talking cars, people. He was such a hero, he handmade cars out of the sand for the four of us cousins to spend the day playing in.
If my godfather joined in we’d build a massive sandcastle fort around our base, with my auntie adding decorative sand-drizzled touches. It’d be a day of my dad dragging us kids out to sea in our inflatable dinghy. A day of sandwiches and fizzy drinks, all with a side of sand. A day of seeing who could stay in the sea the longest before turning blue.
We haven’t been in forever but are planning to change that this summer.
This is a recent and new addition thanks to my mum, who took me here on a rare day off together. We arrived early, grabbed a tea from the cute cafe and wandered down towards East Wittering. The beach is pebbled and vast, the sea was full of windsurfers and even a few horses being taken out for a gentle trot. It has one of those long, stretching beaches you just want to walk down forever. It was fresh, therapeutic and good for the soul.
I’m quite lucky that at the end of my road is a splash where the river runs through. It’s small, fairly overgrown with greenery, full of ducks and is where I escape to if I need some down time. It’s calming, still and peaceful. Perfect for a breather when I can’t get to a deserted beach! Just five minutes here makes me feel alive again.
If I can’t get to any of the above places, I head to the bath, fill it with an obscene amount of bubbles and light all the candles. Now that is bliss.
And of course, we got married by the sea. Because for me, everything is better when you’re near the water.