You’d never know it was July from the weather recently. After a week stuck at home with poorly kids I was desperate to get out and about with the family this weekend, even though we were all pretty tired. After a lazy start at home, with a lie in for Rob and a proper fry-up breakfast for us all, we decided to head out to Wolfies in Hove for a chip shop lunch.
However wandering along Portland Road the rain started up, just gently but somewhat ominously thanks to the black clouds breezing towards us and as we were passing the Pelican on Portland we decided to stop in for coffee. Manager Katie had been baking up a storm and there was a rather delicious looking vegan cake tempting us from the counter, so we decided to have a slice with our coffee. Big S was rather thrilled to get cake before lunch! As we left, we realised we weren’t hungry enough for a chip shop lunch anymore, so instead we went to the beach for Big S to ride his bike. Now, it was definitely breezy up on the Portland Road, but nothing terribly bad by Hove standards. As we approached the seafront the wind picked up rather and by the time we were on the promenade it was in fact very, very gusty. Poor Big S was riding into the wind and it was clearly hard work. The upside was that we had the seafront largely to ourselves!
After a while Big S got tired, so while Rob stayed with Little D up on the prom, Big S and I went down onto the shingle for a mooch about. I don’t know if it was the wind or diggers, but the shingle was banked up impressively in front of the steps and we had to wander along a way to find a section we could actually climb down. Below it was sand, peppered with pebbles and squelchy channels of water meandering down to the waters edge.
Out at sea were kite and wind surfers galore. It looks like such fun, twisting and turning up in the air, leaping up off the waves, I’d love to try it one day!
Down at the shoreline it was incredibly windy, the gusts were enough to almost knock Big S off his feet! I wished I’d remembered my hat!
After a while we climbed back up to the prom and met Little D and Rob. Big S biked off again and we powered on along to the Big Beach Cafe for a break from the wind. By the time we got there we’d worked up enough appetite from fighting the wind that we could face the chips we’d planned on for lunch. The Big Beach Cafe does great fries, always fresh and perfectly crispy and between us we devoured a fair few portions. It’s an easy place to take the kids; highchairs (Ikea ones, with trays), a small play area and changing facilities in the disabled toilet. There’s space to squeeze in buggies around the tables too and as it’s often rammed with families visiting the assorted entertainments outside, you rarely get attitude for blocking up the aisle with your buggy. It’s often busy on the weekend but was relatively quiet thanks to the wind and threatening black clouds zooming along above us, so we got a table by the play area and let the kids have some fun while we waited for our chips.
After the chips we let Big S and Little D run off some energy in the park next door. It was too windy for the lagoon pool (though some hardy souls were splashing about in there) but just sheltered enough that we didn’t completely freeze hanging about in the park while the kids ran amok. There’s also trampolines, a large bouncy play castle, mini golf, mini pedaloes and proper pedaloes plus the skatepark the council put in some years ago now. I’ve heard some negative comments about these entertainments around the lagoon, people calling them tacky and not suiting the area, but personally I like them. It was an unloved empty space before and the park was sadly neglected too. Now, though sections of the park are still definitely in need of repair, there’s a lovely large pirate ship play area (that Fatboy Slim very generously donated after the main play area was removed having fallen into complete disrepair) and plenty of other things for kids (of a range of ages) to do. Not to mention all the watersports available at Hove Lagoon. It’s a great space now and accordingly busy on the weekends in the summer, but it’s nice to have it on our doorstep if we don’t feel like traveling far.
Some friends joined us with their kids and before we knew it the day was nearly over. Coffee and kids dinner was had at our friend’s house before we headed home with two very tired but happy children. To complete our super lazy junk food fueled day Rob and I ordered curry from our favourite Indian take-away New Star Tandoori for after the kids were asleep.
Days like this are a big part of why we love living in Hove. There’s so much to do right on our doorstep and none of it is terribly expensive. All we need now is some slightly better weather to enjoy it all in.