Camping in East Sussex

A couple of weekends ago we packed up the car and took ourselves off to East Sussex for a spot of

camping

. And despite my doubts, we had a lovely time! Here are a few pictures of our trip.

We set off on Friday night and headed for Hale Farm, a very simple family-run campsite in Chiddingly, near Lewes.

We arrived later than we had hoped so ended up setting up our tent in the dark, which was not ideal. It was also our tent’s first outing so we were unfamiliar with how to put it up. And then it started drizzling. Despite slightly frayed tempers we managed to get our tent up without (too much) argument, eat dinner in a brief spell between drizzle showers and then sleep blissfully for 8 hours under our temporary canvas home.

It was a lovely campsite that I would definitely recommend. Three huge fields with loosely marked plots and fire pits, a couple of very clean compostable loos, beautiful quiet surroundings and even a little collection of farmyard animals. Fresh free range eggs and logs to buy and very friendly owners.

The next morning we awoke to the most beautiful sunshine and our

camping

trip didn’t seem like such a crazy idea anymore! I set about making house (which, let’s face it, is basically what attracted me to the idea of

camping

in the first place), and R

got the camp stove fired up and made us bacon and eggs.

We

chose a pitch in a field on its own (yes, we are very antisocial

campers

!) which meant that we were further away from the facilities, but, wonderfully alone to enjoy the stretching green views in all directions. After a sit in the sunshine and a quick shower we set off to explore nearby Lewes.

Lewes is a beautiful little town, full of interesting shops and ancient alleyways, pretty houses and lovely cafes.

I spotted this rose and wisteria-bedecked cottage, right in the centre of town.

Lewes is also home to lots of excellent antique shops which always endears me to a place! We especially loved

Closet and Botts

, with its carefully curated selection of old and new treasures, with a good helping of French vintage, and lots of beautiful candles and soaps.

It also has a lovely flower- and-old bike-filled courtyard out back.

The Lewes Antiques Centre was also a brilliant place - a mecca to all things vintage, completely bursting to the rafters with all sorts of wonderful things.

Unfortuntately within about an hour of being in Lewes, the heavens suddenly and dramatically opened and the most incredible torrential rain fell, running in violent rivulets down Lewes’ little streets. We almost cried at the thought of our towels drying outside our tent! Eventually the sun emerged again and, after lunch and bit more shopping, we headed back to the campsite.

We got back in time to meet the owners on their firewood round and then went for a wander across the fields, cup of champagne in hand.

The rain had washed everything in soft dew, and our legs and feet got wet tramping through the thick grass and clover.

The smell of rain-soaked elderflower was heady and under the trees it mixed with the pungent aroma of wild garlic and mushroomy damp wood.

After a little explore we decided it was high time to light the fire and get dinner going.

(After a spot of flower arranging obviously)

As we were cooking, a fine mist started to emerge from the edges of the field, shrouding everything in softness.

We set up our table and blanket near the fire and lit the candles and lanterns.

Settled next to the fire, dinner blipping away gently nearby I started to understand the appeal of camping a little better.

There is undoubtedly something special about being outside all evening, watching the fire dance

with a glass of something in hand, layering up up as the sun goes down, eating by candle and fire light, the smell of smoke and earth seeping into everything. Knowing that bed is just a few metres away and when your eyes start to get heavy you just have to put out the fire and fall into it.

On Sunday

we woke to more drizzle which soon turned into rain. We had our breakfast inside with the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the canvas and then packed up and headed home to dry out our tent!

Despite the rain, we loved our trip. It was a bit of a gamble buying our tent, but I’m glad we did. I like how it allows us to explore and go away for the weekend cheaply, and I love the feeling of freedom it gives you, to eat simply, to talk more, to forget about washing ones hair or looking in the mirror!

We have just come back from a longer 

camping

trip to Dorset which was less rainy - I will write about it soon!