Our trip back to England was a long one. We got up early (5am) in Iceland, had breakfast and made the hour long journey to the airport, bidding farewell to the dramatic scenery.
We returned our rental car and then made our way into the terminal. We waited in a queue for half an hour to get our tax refund (we bought some cushion covers – if you bring your receipt to the airport you can get a refund of the tax). Then we lined up to drop our bags off. We joined the queue almost 2 hours before take off and the queue was about 50 people deep – which wasn’t too bad. However, the British Airways staff (there were only 2 and an empty counter) were very slow and, as a result, we had to run through the terminal (stopping for a passport check) to catch our flight. Soon we were in the air and flying to Heathrow, London.
We landed on time, but for some reason the shuttle bus was half an hour late. We finally made our way through the airport after picking up our bags and headed to get our car. There was a fair deal of paperwork involved and waiting but finally we had our little Volkswagen.
Then we started our drive to our accommodation in Northiam, Sussex. Of course, having to drive on the M25 around London meant that there were long delays due to traffic – it took us over three hours to get there (and a short pause for a deer and her baby to cross the road!). We dropped our stuff off and then drove to the supermarket to get our food for the next few days. When we arrived back at the unit our friendly hosts were there and we got chatting. Then upstairs to settle in and make dinner. Finally got to bed at 1am!! What a day. Our accomodation was amazing – right next door to our hosts who lived in an oast house – used in the past to dry hops for brewing. We had a beautiful unit with views of the countryside and we enjoyed patting the goats and dogs! We loved the local products left for us to sample.
On our first day out we were immediately struck by the green tunnels, and amazing nature that was all around us. Driving here was very relaxing (apart from the laneways with only room for one car!)
Our first stop was the church at Guestling Green. On our drives around we saw signs for a local flower display so we thought we would check it out. As soon as we parked the car we found our first surprise – fresh blackberries growing on the hedgerows! The church was beautiful and old and we enjoyed looking around the flower displays – each by a local parishioner and based on a theme. We stopped for a homemade cake before we left.
The next thing we went to – we also spotted the ads – was the Rye and District County Show. We weren’t sure what to expect but it was a fun agricultural show – with horse riding and (our favourite) a dog show, and some old vintage cars.
We finished the day with a friendly pat of the goats at our accommodation.
Our next excursion was to Dover- about an hour away from where we were staying. We were keen to go for a walk alongside the famous white cliffs. The carpark was surprisingly busy (and cost 5 pounds to park). We visited the visitor centre (grabbing a delicious ginger wine to take home) and then started the walk – it was a bit windy – and took about 40 minutes each way to walk to the lighthouse – with dramatic views of the harbour/port (the world’s busiest), the castle and the cliffs. We really enjoyed the chance to get out into nature and this was certainly a highlight.
The following day we went to Hastings to experience what a British seaside town was like. The high street was very vintage, and we were amused by the pebble beach and unusual sculptures. We were a little turned off by the large crowds.
After admiring their apples, we decided to do a walk from our accomodation which we enjoyed – although got a little lost! The wild mushrooms were certainly a highlight.
Cranbrook and Angley Wood
Wanting to do a longer walk, we went to a nearby village called Cranbrook. Near here was Angley Wood – this area had many paths which enabled us to merrily wander through before finishing at a local pub that had amazing chips and a labrador we wanted to take home.