We're just back from a blissful holiday, making the most of the British seaside. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Welsh girl, so much more familiar with the Gower, Pembrokeshire and North Wales coastline than with England's beaches. My husband has long harboured a plan to lure us all to the Isle of Wight, having grown up there, and after having deferred last year due to our house move, we finally made it this Summer.
Our holiday was pretty idyllic, an unexpected window of sunshine opening and showing us 'the island' (the husband still refers to the rest as 'the mainland') at its best. Compton beach, though its cliffs had crumbled somewhat since Mr Angharad's time, offered the perfect spot for ball games and picnics and sandcastle-building. Children's bedtimes went out of the window and we stayed till the sun set. We also went to Alum bay, famed for its coloured sand. We were mildly mystified by the children's obsession with the tide being in until we realised that they had expected to see a multi-coloured patchwork effect, like Elmer the elephant in beach form. Novelty bottles were filled with layers of coloured sand, and the vertiginous chair-lift was braved and survived (by me and the two eldest, my husband preferring to wait until the whole thing was over before telling me of all the terrifying possibilities he had envisaged). On other days there were castle ramparts to be walked, model villages to be explored and lots of ice-creams to be eaten (youngest has discovered a new favourite flavour, 'brown').
We spent a second week in Cornwall with my husband's family, staying in beautiful Portscatho. We had outings to gardens and to the incredible Eden project, as well as a fantastic day watching a medieval joust and melee. The children had endless fun with their cousin, perfected the sand-building techniques they had honed on the island, and indulged in endless Olympic-inspired races. In fact, the littlest member of the family should really have come with a built-in 'Chariots of fire' soundtrack after all the sand-miles she clocked up!