We set off just after 8.30 and decided to go via the A14, the M1 and the M25 via Heathrow (rather than our ‘normal’ A14-M11-M25). Distance-wise there wasn’t much in it, but Google Maps suggested it would probably be quicker - at just under three hours. Well, even though it didn’t seem like it at first as it turned out to be a very stop-start journey punctuated by some occasional rapid progress, we arrived at our first stop – Northbrook College in Worthing – just before 11.30 – and our friends Ian and Sharon arriving around the same time.
No, we weren’t returning to education, but taking advantage of the twice-weekly ‘silver-service’ lunch opportunity managed by the catering students. First impressions were mixed as we found it impossible to actually get in to the building! A helpful (but security-immune) Student, pointed to the swipe-card gizmo, but let us in anyway!
We found our way to the waiting area, where after checking our names, we were informed that we should have waited downstairs to be collected. Onwards and upwards (literally), and we were invited to order some drinks. How about a J20 and a Guinness, a Coke and a red wine? Half marks as we were told that they didn’t have any J2O nor any Guinness but luckily, Ian got his Coke and Ann got her red wine, after assertively asking for a wine list!
After being seated, we were given the menus with some delicious options to whet our palates. The service was brisk and we were soon looking forward to our choices. I won’t embarrass anyone here, but it was all a bit lack-lustre. The food looked good and was well presented, but flavour-wise, it was disappointing. For staff that were supposedly trained in silver-service, the behaviours fell very short of the mark. Anyway, it didn’t stop us enjoying the company and we were soon up-to-date with all the gossip!
We finished noshing and nattering just after 2pm and then headed back to I and S’s for a cuppa before heading off to Worthing town for some retail therapy. We each bagged a few bargains and then headed off to M and S for some provisions and then onto our ‘home’ for the next two nights: The Castle Inn Hotel in Bramber. We found it pretty easily and a warm welcome awaited us.
And what a lovely room! A comfy and wide bed, free wi-fi, TV with every possible channel and a nicely (and tastefully) decorated room. Perfect!
We ate the M and S food, watched a bit of TV and planned our walks for tomorrow after retrieving some leaflets from Reception.
After a hearty breakfast, we looked through the various leaflets to determine exactly which walk we going to do. In the end, we opted for the ‘Three Churches walk’ (the red dotted line on the map) covering four miles and (predictably) taking in three Churches – not too long and a bit of history thrown in too! Spot on!!
The weather looked good and after a short walk from the Hotel and we were at our first Church – St Nicholas – close to Bramber Castle… the oldest Norman Church in Sussex… and closed!
Church of St Nicholas
The Remains of Bramber Castle
The day was getting even warmer and it was turning out to be a perfect day for walking with some great views of the countryside.
One Church down and two to go! Next on the list was St Peter-in-Beeding (originally a Benedictine Priory)…
…and also locked and closed!
Perhaps we’d be luckier with the last of the three – St Botolph’s…?
…and we were! Looking at the Visitors’ Book confirmed that this was indeed a popular place – over 100 visitors last month alone!
With the three Churches ticked-off, we deviated slightly from the planned route – making it slightly longer – and headed off towards the town of Steyning.
Scenes of Steyning
It was all very ‘English’ and we had a good look round. Eventually fatigue got the better of us and we dropped into the aptly named The Steyning Tea Rooms. It was less about hunger for us and more about somewhere to rest our feet but the menu was impressive and we settled for ‘Scone Overload’ - savoury scones to start , apple scones, cream cheese and onion marmalade, followed by err, scones, jam and clotted cream!
Game of Scones!
Then it was a shortish walk was back to the Hotel for a brief ‘feet-up’.
Time for a rest!
A quick look at Ann’s phone app revealed that we’d walked a total of 6.9 miles today – that’s a new daily record for us, and the pedometer (and smug-o-meter) was edging off the scale!
In celebration mood we headed for the Beer Garden to enjoy the continuing sunshine where we idled away the afternoon doing nothing-in-particular – and that suited us perfectly. A few hours later, it was a quick change of clothes and we headed back downstairs to the Pub for our evening meal.
Now that’s what I call a Burger!
It was a great way to end our last full-day here - great food, a great hotel and a great walk!
We were up slightly earlier than yesterday with a plan to leave the hotel by 9ish. We actually got away before 9 and had a smooth journey up to my Brother’s. We caught up with all their news and Neil let me have some of his ‘hand-reared’ plants - Tomatoes and Chillies.
The journey home wasn’t so good! What should have taken about two hours ended up being a almost three-and-a-half. A combination of Friday, traffic, bank holiday traffic and a few accidents earlier in the day meant that every route we took, was a problem.
Traffic aside, it’s been a great break and I think we’ve decided that wherever possible in the future we’ll try and book mid-week getaways instead of ones at weekend as everywhere is a bit quieter (excluding the roads!) – and a bit cheaper!