Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer here in the States. This year we joined Lauren's family in the UK for an end-of-summer holiday.
We could not have asked for a better week to visit, as the weather in Southern England was the perfect respite from the stifling heat and humidity of Washington, DC. Our days were marked by crisp mornings and delightfully warm afternoons, and we lived out-of-doors about as much as in.
It was a trip filled with quality family time, but also marked by its excursions to a series of delightful neighboring towns.
Our home for the duration of the trip, Chichester, is the only city in West Sussex. It has quite a long history, with parts of its original Roman city walls still standing to this day. Additionally, the Chichester Festival Theater is one of the UK's flagship producing and touring theaters.
Staying just outside of Chichester with Lauren's aunt and uncle, this was our home base for the trip. Whether relaxing at the house and catching up over a glass of wine (or two or three), going for a morning run through the countryside with Caroline, or strolling through town, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Chichester, and look forward to our next visit.
On a peninsula situated between The Solent and Portsmouth Harbour on the Southern coast of England, Gosport was one of the Allied staging beaches for Operation Overlord (D-Day) during World War II. Its 17 miles of waterfront include a pebble beach at Stokes Bay that offers views of the many passing ships and pleasure craft.
We spent parts of a few days in Gosport this trip visiting Lauren's grandmother. This included a Sunday pub lunch at the Anglesey Hotel, followed by an afternoon stroll along Stokes Bay.
A short ferry-ride from Gosport, Portsmouth has been a significant naval town for centuries, and its historic dockyard contains the world's oldest dry dock. Its the birthplace of Charles Dickens, the home of Portsmouth FC, and the Spinnaker Tower (one of the UK's tallest structures).
After a brief ferry ride from Gosport, our visit to Portsmouth was marked by a walk around the Historic Dockyards, and meal with a view at a Wagamama's in the Gunwharf Quays.
Home to Arundel Castle, seat of the Duke of Norfolk, Arundel is a small town in West Sussex. It's situated along the River Arun in a steep vale, and offers visitors a wonderful afternoon of visiting shops, touring the castle and its grounds, or enjoying an afternoon tea (or coffee).
While we arrived a bit too late in the afternoon to tour the castle on the day of our visit, we did visit a few of the shops, and spend a few moments relaxing over cider along the river.
A small village in the Chichester District of West Sussex, West Wittering boasts an unspoiled sandy beach with views of Chichester Harbour and the South Downs.
Our visit included a peaceful and pleasant walk along the large beach, and was a perfect cap to the trip.