Last year, we had the most wonderful weekend camping in the New Forest. I love the New Forest with all it's ponies and yellow gorse, it feels like nowhere else in the UK! And it is only an hour away from Basingstoke, so we can pop down after work on a Friday! We found an awesome quite basic pop up campsite in Lower Lepe where they allowed you to have small campfire. This is now becoming a prerequisite for deciding whether we will go to a campsite or not as I think there is nothing better than sitting around the campfire when camping. We've been camping a few times recently and I really don't understand all the people watching TV in their caravans! The reason I love camping is being outside, sitting by a fire roasting marshmallows, stargazing and pointing out the one constellation that you know... things you would usually do at home! There were no caravans here and everyone was outside around their fires, it was lovely!
We went camping with our friends Gavin and Nicola who turned up in their MG packed to the roof with all sorts of things! I thought I was bad with packing too much, but they brought everything from candles to beautiful rugs... I have no idea how they fitted it all in that car, but it was great and made for a wonderful home away from home (and totally converted me to taking even more than I usually do :-))!
On the Saturday we walked through the countryside to Lepe beach for some lunch and caught the beach bus back to our campsite for a braai! We bought a disposable BBQ which was totally useless, so landed up creating our own fire and propped the grill from the disposable BBQ up with Strongbow cans! Gavin is an really creative cook! When I cook I tend to use a recipe and buy all the ingredients I need, whereas he can rustle up an awesome meal from some random ingredients sitting in the back of the fridge! We ate like kings that night from just a few ingredients from the local co-op! We had steak, salmon and pork belly all marinated in lemon, herbs and spices followed by toasted marshmallows... nom nom!
On the Sunday after attempting to make a full English breakfast in rain and gale force winds, it brightened up and we headed out on a drive. Nicola mentioned the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive which we checked out. I had never heard of it... it is a lovely narrow road with ridiculously tall trees on either side. I think if you go a bit earlier in the year there are also rhododendrons and azaleas in flower adding some colour, but it is definitely worth the visit any time of the year!
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of a seafood platter, which you can get anywhere in South Africa. I have never understood why a small island like the UK surrounded by sea doesn't have them! Chris recently heard about the Noisy Lobster who apparently did seafood platters so we obviously headed there for lunch. The restaurant is on Avon beach which is a lovely sandy beach with colourful beach huts! We tried out a cold platter, which I have never had before... we had crab, oysters, mussels, prawns and lobster with chips and salad with some lovely white wine! It was amazing! Definitely worth a visit!
After lunch we went to Lymington, a lovely harbour town with colourful buildings and cute shops! After checking out the harbour and all the cute shops, we headed back for some cheese and crackers for dinner and our final campfire. A lovely bank holiday weekend had by all...