Saturday we did 2 things that were completely different to anything we’ve done before, and we really enjoyed both experiences 🙂
So it was back to Winchelsea on the Saturday morning for the mediaeval cellar tour. We met at the town well in front of The Armoury, a house that looks far older than it actually is, apparently parts of it only date back to the 1930s.
There were about 15 people on the tour (which is apparently a smaller group) and our guide started by giving us a brief history of Winchelsea itself. We then headed into the 1st of the 5 cellars that we were visiting.
They’re not all, as we would perhaps expect, directly underneath houses. In fact the 1st one we visited was in the front garden of a rather modern house! This one was rather plain but we were able to learn how they were built and see the original floor (many have had the floor relaid with concrete. The cellars were all different, some more elaborate with steeper steps (and sometimes more uneven), some even with more rooms! The last one we saw actually had 2 entrances 🙂
My favourite though was the 1 that is actually being used by the owners – it was complete with a 1970s record player, dart-board and dining table! It had a very steep entrance straight from the front door (as would once have been..)
After a further wander around Winchelsea, which is so full of history, we headed off to the Carr Taylor vineyard. Here we had a wander around the vines – unfortunately, of course, these are at the beginning of their growth season so they’re not yet heaving with fruit (end August and September are the best times to see this as harvesting takes place in September/October).
We then had a wine-tasting which came with more information on the wine and the vineyard. I have to admit that I liked the Rose and the Cannonball (white) of the still wines, but the Sparkling Rose was a revelation, possibly the best I have ever tasted!
We spent almost £120….! The people we met at the vineyard were lovely and there was Oscar who was expertly helping his mum in the shop 🙂
Speaking of which this is how small vineyards like this survive as they don’t have the capacity to supply the major supermarkets. I will definitely be aiming to buy my sparkling wine from here in future if I need some for any events 🙂
Sunday 30th April
We have been sharing our campsite for the last couple of nights with a group of Renault 4 enthusiasts from Europe (Holland, Belgium & Germany) who, Calv managed to find out, were heading to a rally at Hole Park today.
As Hole Park is very close to us we decided to go and have a look.
It was a bit of a disappointment as there was just 1 Renault 4 there when we arrived, and having paid our £7, each, to go in we realised that all that was on offer was a wander around the garden and woodland. I know this is something that many people enjoy, but it’s not generally on our list of things to pay to do….
Added to that that the gardens weren’t particularly special… There were a few areas that were a bit prettier (lilacs, looking down onto the pond and the bluebell & wild garlic woodland – however, we can generally go for a walk and find bluebells & wild garlic fairly easily…)
When we’d finished our walk around there were still only 3 Renault 4s in the designated car park. So we headed off towards Sissinghurst (National Trust).
Just down the road we encountered beautiful Benneden. And several of the elusive Renault 4s! After a quick detour we headed down the lanes towards Sissinghurst.
Now I know that Sissinghurst is also a garden attraction but, we are members of the National Trust so it doesn’t really matter if it’s not up our street – we just leave. Also there are areas of the house that are accessible as is the tower and the kitchen of the South Cottage. There is also a story to be told – about Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson, who saved the house and created the garden.
The gardens themselves are much more to my taste; a riot of colour that has some sort of form, plus orchards in full bloom. There is also a moat, gazebo and boathouse.
Unfortunately it wasn’t as warm as we’d thought (we had decided not to wear our jackets…), so we cut our visit short and headed home to sit in the van while it rains…
See you soon xx