Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Little Miss Play It Safe. I’ve never been much of a risk taker (the biggest risk I ever took was quitting my job to go freelance) or a rule breaker (once got caught with my phone out in GCSE Chemistry and was sent to the Headmistress) so a Staycation this summer suited me just fine. It was the finding it that was the hard part, because we had strict criteria (don’t we all!) We were staycating with our best friends, so needed minimum 4 bedrooms to sleep two families of 4, we wanted a private garden so we could send the kids outside to play, we wanted parking and we wanted to be a stones throw from the beach. Not much to ask during a pandemic when most people are googling the same things. But after losing so many nights of my life that I will never get back to air bnb/ cottages.com/ mulberry cottages I finally landed on gold.
We stayed at Vallance House in Hove. There are five bedrooms (four are upstairs, one is downstairs which we didn’t use because we weren’t happy with any of the kids sleeping that far away from us.) The two big boys shared a twin bedroom, which they absolutely LOVED. Getting them to fall asleep was tricky at times but their conversations were the cutest things to listen to. Alfie was in with us, in the travel cot, which he didn’t sleep in so starfished between us. For a kid that sleeps 12 hours solidly every night (since he was 6 weeks old) he chose this to be the week that he woke at 4.45am every.single.morning. I ended up snoozing on the comfy sofa with him for a couple of hours while he watched Netflix before the rest of the house came down to breakfast.
The house was brilliantly located two mins from the beach in one directions, two mins from Gails (which opens at 7am FYI, I was the first there one morning) in the other direction. It has garden complete with trampoline, football net, bbq and outdoor heater. There are three bathrooms and a washer/dryer. We massively overpacked on the household items (bin bags, washing up liquid, dishwasher tabs) because the lovely host had left everything out for us that we could need. One thing that I am really glad that I packed though was a pair of slippers. Made it feel much more homely.
We did an Ocado shop of essentials for the week to arrive to the house for the kids mainly but also for breakfasts.
Most days we were out on the beach for lunch so took packed lunches for the kids. One day we walked from Hove to Brighton (about 50 mins with prams and scooters) and we ate at Shelter Hall Raw, an outside eatery where you order all of the food from your phone. It was really well done in terms of social distancing and every eatery offered 50% off as part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Rockwater Hove was a 7 minute walk from the house, a really cool outdoor beachside set up serving ice creams, alcohol and seafood from shacks by the shore. It’s really lively and buzzy, if you can get a seat to watch sunset it’s a lovely place to spend time.
Adult wise, most evenings we ordered from Deliveroo once the kids were in bed (I can highly recommend Giggling Squid for Thai) and one evening we took it in turns to go for a girls night (early) and boys night (later) and have fish and chips on the beach.
They had the absolute time of their lives. From scooting along the promenade, deciding which of the coloured beach huts they’d most like to live in, to hunting for crabs on the beach and climbing up rocks, they were exhausted every evening.
One day we drove to Littlehampton in search of a sandy beach. If you go that way, head to East Beach. There’s lots of parking, a cute cafe serving take away food and a little train that the kids can ride on.
We spent an amazing afternoon at Drusillas Theme Park, about a 25 minute drive from Hove. We haven’t yet eaten inside a restaurant or gone in a shopping centre so it was a big deal to go somewhere like this but they have it absolutely spot on. They’re running at a 50% occupancy so it doesn’t feel busy, there’s hand sanitisers everywhere, a one-way route that everyone adheres to. It’s all outside, but if you que for any of the restaurants you need a mask. All of the rides are sprayed down between people (and only one family per section) which was great to watch. We all had the best time.
AND THE REST:
We completely lucked out with the weather, but we had the best week ever. There was no airport faff, no time difference and so much to do. Yes, I missed kids club, hotel breakfasts, someone making the bed and picking up the towels but I feel like the kids really made wonderful memories on this staycation, and I can’t recommend it enough. Hove felt really calm and quiet, much more so than Brighton that we only went to once during the week. There are so many beaches dotted around to explore – like Rottingdean, East Beach in Littlehampton and Goring Beach that you can’t get bored.