As the Lightys drove through the Sussex countryside a few weeks ago, a rush of memories came back. You see, many a weekend of Mrs Lighty’s childhood was spent in the 1066 county, visiting my paternal grandparents. Yet I hadn’t been back for over a decade since their passing.
So when Mr Lighty had some last-minute holiday to take before the end of Mrs Lighty’s maternity leave, we quickly scoured the internet for a baby-friendly break. Sussex, and in particular, Snaylham Cottage, was the answer we found.
Driving down on a drizzly Monday afternoon, it was to be an emotional start to our holiday. Our first stop was the village of Ninfield, where Mrs Lighty’s grandparents had lived, to visit their grave in the pretty village church, and to introduce them to Baby Lighty. I wasn’t really prepared for how emotional a visit it would be, but I was pleased to see that that church and grounds were still very well maintained.
From here, we made a quick stop in Battle for a wander, as the rain had finally stopped, and a coffee. This was another haunt of my childhood weekends, and I can vividly remember the Bonfire Night parades through the town, with the floats’ occupants throwing boiled sweets out to the waiting children – that would probably go against health and safety nowadays, but it’s something that I remember quite clearly enjoying as a child!
Self-Catering in Sussex
Onwards we travelled to our accommodation for the next few nights. We’d picked Snaylham Cottage, not just because it seemed to be well set up for families, but also because it looked oh-so-cute from the photos. We definitely weren’t disappointed!
The cottage was beautifully decorated and its windows looked out over the surrounding farmland. It was well equipped with the likes of a dishwasher, washing machine, a proper oven, a DVD and a VCR player (yes, really, a VCR! Old-school videos included!!), as well as having been set up for Baby Lighty’s arrival with a travel cot and highchair. But what really struck Mrs Lighty as the icing on the cake were the lovely little touches that Liz the owner had included: the fresh farmyard eggs, the lemon cake and the dressing gowns; just the sort of things that Mrs Lighty will include one day when the Lightys get their own holiday home rental (I think I’d better start saving!).
After settling in to our home away from home, we decided to take on just a tiny bit of the 1066 walk. With Baby Lighty strapped into the sling, we set off for a quick stroll through the farmland before the sun went down for the day. Just the thing to work up an apetite before eating in the cottage!
The next morning we were blessed with brilliant sunshine – a sharp contrast to the previous day’s wet weather. Not wanting to waste any of the sunshine, we headed off to Hastings for the day. The Lightys do love a good seaside town, and Mr Lighty in particular likes seaside towns out of season, for some reason!!
We had a lovely long stroll along the seafront and through the town itself, taking in some of the more bohemian shops and delicatessants which have sprung up along the fringe of the highstreet. We loved the look of the minature railway too, and I can imagine us returning for a ride when Baby Lighty is bigger!!
After a lunch of gluten free quiche (yes really!) in a family friendly restaurant on the seafront, we then headed inland to the town of Rye. I didn’t know what to expect from Rye, as it wasn’t somewhere that we’d visited as children. So imagine my delight to find a real treasure of a town with lots of independent boutiques, a second hand record store and tearooms a plenty! As we passed yet another junk shop, I exclaimed to Mr Lighty that this was just my sort of town!
After a wander through the narrow streets and a quick purchase from the record store for Brother Hatchy, we found the most delightful tearoom at the top of a steep hill just by St. Mary’s Church. Mr Lighty spotted it first and said, “when you look inside this tearoom, you’ll want to go in!”. He wasn’t wrong! It was a bit of a tight squeeze with the buggy, but the staff at Simon the Pieman couldn’t have been more accommodating, and we enjoyed cake by the open fire. Baby Lighty was in his element: lots of interesting things to look at and people cooing over him left, right and centre!
And from Sussex to Kent…
It was with a heavy heart that we left Snaylham Cottage on the last day. It really was such a lovely retreat! But home called, and with it a stop firstly at the Ashford Designer Outlet Centre, and then the Rare Breeds Centre in Woodchurch, both in neighbouring Kent.
The Rare Breeds Centre was excellent value for money; a small farm but with plenty of animals – most of them rare breeds, as the name suggests – and lots of hands-on features. Although Baby Lighty is still a bit small to handle the animals, he thought they were all hilarious and enjoyed getting up close to them when the keepers got the animals out in the petting zoo for the children to stroke
Sussex turned out to be the perfect self-catering spot for us. Everything from the extra little touches at the cottage itself through to the lovely days out we enjoyed meant that Sussex really was superb.