At the start of June the Grumpy Family decamped from our cozy home and headed to Dorset for Baby’s first camping holiday at a lovely little camp site called Higher Moor Farm. Typically the weather the week before we went was glorious but turned windy and rainy for our trip. Despite this, we soldiered on. After all, a holiday at the English seaside isn’t complete without some torrential rain!
Today we’re off to Higher Moor Farm for Baby’s first camping trip. The day started promising enough, Baby quickly fell asleep in the back of the car while the satnav worked out the least convenient rout to take us. Unfortunately the peace and quiet wasn’t to last as Baby soon woke and realised that she was all alone on the back seat. What followed was 2 hours of very unhappy Baby which finally ended when 80’s radio lulled her to sleep.
We arrived at Higher Moor Farm a little early for check in but luckily the lovely owner was more than happy to let us in and the Gods obviously decided that we had suffered enough and stopped the rain long enough for us to pitch the tent and settle in.
I was all ready to take a nap before dinner but Grumpy Dad had other plans and surprised me with a beautiful engagement ring! Woohoo! We’re engaged! I’m absolutely over the moon.
We finished off today with a meal at the local Beefeater before heading back to the tent to listen to the rain and obsess about keeping Baby warm.
Last Night was FREEZING! Baby handled it much better than I did. Bundled up in an assortment of layers she slept like a log in her clever little travel cot. I on the other hand spent most of the night Googling the weather and worrying that she might be a little chilly.
Today we headed off to Weymouth for the day. It was cold and windy and sometimes wet but I was determined to show Baby the sea so we headed down across the beach with her buggy. I hadn’t quite appreciated how difficult it is to take a buggy over sand but we got there eventually. Predictably Baby was neither interested or impressed with the sea and and even less impressed with the sand storm we traveled through to get there so we headed back up into the town pretty quickly.
While the beach was as beautiful as ever Weymouth town was a little disappointing. Grumpy Dad and I had been there many times in the past and it had always been full of interesting little shops, but we found that many of the shops had closed down leaving the town looking a little worse for wear. We were also sad to see that Brewers Quay, which had been full of gift shops and little boutiques was now looking very shabby and in the place of the pretty boutiques was a sprawling tatty junk shop.
We finished our trip to Weymouth with a turn around the arcade where I tried to win Baby a toy in the claw machines, but after feeding it with £5 and managing to lift the toy on every go without winning it, we decided to call it a day and head back to the campsite with a picnic.
It was another freezing night in the tent so we decided to start the day with bacon rolls and tea at the campsite. Despite the cold night we were expecting the best weather of the week today so we made plans to explore the Jurassic coast.
Our first stop was West Bay which is much better known as Broadchurch. Having learned from yesterdays stroller on the beach experience, we decided to put Baby in her sling so that we could explore the beach and cliffs. This was an excellent idea as it meant we were able to really enjoy the beautiful scenery and a little fossil hunting, but carrying a baby along a pebble beach could be an Olympic sport! And after about an hour my legs were screaming so we headed into the town to explore the short pier and harbor before moving on to Lyme Regis, just up the coast.
Lyme Regis was without a doubt the nicest sea side town I have been to in years. The sea front is littered with little sea side shops along a beautiful pebble beach. Everything about the location was lovely and had a feel of a sea side town from my childhood. We stopped at a little restaurant called By the Bay for dinner, where the staff couldn’t have been lovelier if they had tried and the fish and chips were amazing. Baby also enjoyed herself making friends with anyone who glanced her way.
Fed and refreshed we headed up to the little town where there was a selection of little shops. The one thing that hits you about the town very quickly is that you literally cannot walk down the street without tripping over a fossil and landing in some fudge! Every other shop sells one of these… we ended up buying both!
We ended the day sat on the beach where we found two small fossils by accident.
Today was a game of two halves. We planned to go to the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth in the afternoon so we decided to explore the Weymouth market during the morning.
Sadly the market has gone the same way as Brewers Quay, leaving only 6 sorry looking stalls where once there was hundreds. Despite this disappointment we took ourselves off into the town for breakfast then headed over to the Sea Life Centre.
The Sea Life Centre more than made up for the disappointment of the morning, although Baby wasn’t too convinced that fish were her thing. She did however seem very taken with a little puffer fish that followed her hand around obediently. Baby absolutely adored the contingent of otters and watched them avidly for as long as we let her, chirping back at them whenever they made a noise. The sea lions who I decided looked like dancing sausages (I may have been getting hungry at that point) also seemed to fascinate her despite her increasing exhaustion.
We rounded off the day with a meal at the Springhead pub, which was a lovely little country pub/restaurant tucked away off the beaten path. The service was fantastic and friendly and the food wasn’t bad either. If you read my blog often you’re likely to know that I usually judge a place by its toilets and the toilets at the Springhead can only be described as fabulous!
Tonight is going to be another cold one but we’re getting used to it now and Baby seem content bundled up in her little cot.
Today we decided to travel a little farther afield and visit Beaulieu Motor Museum. It was a bit of a drive up to the New Forest, once again hampered by the fact that our satnav loves to take us the scenic rout, so when we arrived we were already quite tired.
Luckily the park was quite quiet with it being the Friday after half term, so we relax at the café to recharge our batteries before embarking on the displays.
Inside the main hanger were all manner of cars and bikes both old and new, including some which were recognisable from movies, others which had historic value, and many which were just interesting specimens from various eras… With all these cars to choose from you would think Grumpy Dad (who does like his cars) would have been excited by something a little more impressive than a VW Golf, but no.
The largest themed section of the motor museum is the Top Gear gallery which includes many of the poor cars that the cast have mangled over the years, along with some of the new ones which have been abused since Matt LeBlanc took over. This was definitely my favourite section, but then, I’m not much of a car enthusiast.
My favourite part of the park was the house and abby at the other end of the grounds. I loved the wonderful paintings and artifacts in the house which were made even more enjoyable by how friendly the staff were.
The day was exhausting but well worth the effort.
Today is our last day in at Higher Moor Farm so we decided to take another road trip. This time we chose to drive into Devon to visit Sidmouth.
Sidmouth is a pretty town with lots of interesting little shops, a long promenade, and a beach which is part of the Jurassic coast. Unlike Lyme Reges, Sidmouth is very flat so we were able to navigate the shops with the buggy, buying little bits of tatt and fridge magnets.
Once we had our fill of the town we headed out to the sea front to walk along the cliffs. The path along the sea front takes you right up against the sandy cliff which is both fascinating and unusual. A very kind local who noticed us admiring the composition of the cliff, stopped long enough to point out some markings which Geologists have identified as ancient burrows which were filled in by floods.
At the end of the walk was a large pebble and sand beach that would have been very pleasant had it not been cloudy and blowing a gale! Regardless, we hung around to enjoy the view and inspect a few pebbles, eventually finding one which had a limpet shell and some kind of fossilised tubes embedded in it. The perfect gift for fossil mad Child.
We returned to our little tent home exhausted, forgetting plans to head out for a meal and instead choosing to cozy up with tea and cake for our last night in Dorset.
It’s been a long week but we’ve finally reached the end of our holiday.
We woke up to another damp and windy day so we did the only thing that made sense and headed out to the local Beefeater for a very large fried breakfast before packing down the tent.
On a full stomach the tent packing went quickly with Baby amusing herself by rolling around pulling up grass. I then packed up the car while Grumpy Dad stayed out of my way and hummed the Tetris theme tune on repeat.
I wedged myself into the back seat with Baby on the way home, ensuring that the trip was quieter but less comfortable than the journey to Higher Moor Farm.
Tonight I am looking forward to curling up into a real bed again.