This past weekend was one of the hubster’s work weekends. I often take the boys over to my parents house at times like this, but they are currently holidaying in Sicily (lucky things!). Fortuitously, we had been invited down to Salisbury to stay the weekend with my sister-in-law and her two boys, where they have just moved into their new house after a five year stint in Germany. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances this plan had to be postponed. On the up side this left us free to arrange a get together with my sister, brother in law and nieces for a lunch date on Sunday.
We hadn’t really had any plan until the night before when we suddenly realised that we hadn’t really got any idea about what we wanted to do. It is an hour’s drive between our homes so we thought it might be nice to find something to do which is kind of half way between. After much umming and erring, mulling the pros and cons of RHS Wisley, Painshill Park or, our initial desire – ‘a castle!’ (looking at Hever in Kent, the Boleyn family seat – simply too far for us), we settled upon Box Hill near Dorking, National Trust owned land with plenty of walks, trails, nearby cafes and pubs. As my first thought had been to do something outdoorsy which would give us the chance to appreciate the beauty of Autumn, this was a grand idea and the weather was set to be dry (if not sunny).
We opted to do an early lunch for the sake of the boys who get hungry early (!) which ruled out the Smith and Western restaurant nearby which doesn’t open until 12. We ended up at the Ryka’s cafe which is apparently one of the biggest biker’s destinations in England (!!). It is essentially a greasy spoon caff where your main option is burgers, burgers or more burgers (or, in the case of the kids, chicken nuggets!). We appeared to be the only people in there who weren’t dressed from head to foot in leathers!
Next we hopped back in our cars and drove up the zig zag road which formed part of the London-Surrey Olympic Cycle circuit (and there are still plenty of Tour de France style scribblings on the road!). It took an age to drive up as the road was littered with cyclists funnily enough, causing my youngest niece to comment that she had a problem with Lycra (leather is OK apparently).
There is a lovely ‘Natural Play Trail’ up there so, wellies donned, we set off to discover: Slippy logs:
A portal through a tree to another world*
And some breathtaking views:
Not to mention many, many, many muddy puddles (which I appear to have omitted from the camera roll – probably due to a sudden fear that my children would re-play that scene from the Vicar of Dibley where she merrily skips into a puddle which turns out to be waist deep!) Before heading to the cafe for hot chocolate, babyccino, ice cream, cake, flapjacks and coffee (Not all for me I hasten to add 🙂 ). It was here that EJ started singing Happy Birthday much to my bemusement until I realised he’d clocked the NT bunting!
All in all a lovely little outing.
*The other side of the tree.
Linking up to What’s the Story over at Podcast Dove.