Sometimes in life, everything gets a bit too stressful and you start turning into an insane person… Well, that’s what happened to me at the end of last month. Luckily, I had a lovely, supportive friend to turn to, Siobhan, and between ranting, raving, and jumping to many ridiculous conclusions about life, we came up with a plan. It was time to escape!
Within just a few days, we managed to plan and book a spontaneous trip to the famous seaside town of Bognor Regis, West Sussex. At around 75 miles from home, it was the perfect distance for us to feel we were getting away from it all, but still close enough to home that travelling there and back wouldn’t be too tiring. We decided to make things even easier for ourselves by going by train, even though we both drive. As well as being so much easier, it was also pretty cheap, at just over £20 each for a return ticket.
Our plan was to spend around three days there, Monday – Wednesday, staying in an AirBnB property for two nights. Siobhan had to work Monday, so we didn’t make it to Bognor until early evening. We settled into our room and then headed out to an authentic Italian restaurant, Mamma Mia. The food there was really tasty and great value. We both ate pizza, garlic bread, and chocolate cake.
After eating, we took a stroll down to the beach, but it was too dark to tell what we were looking at. We had planned to check out the pier, but we couldn’t work out which way to go in the dark. In the end, we decided to head back to our room and have an early night so we could be fully prepared for our first full day of adventure.
Our first night didn’t quite go as planned. Neither of us could sleep, and at around 3AM, we gave in and began to talk. It was a much needed conversation for both of us, and all of the worries we’d been carrying around were put under the microscope and broken down. By 5, we were both starting to feel a lot more sane – sometimes sleep has to take a backseat when you have things on your mind!
The next morning, we were both feeling pretty groggy, but we were still determined to get out early and explore the town. We began by heading to Costa for breakfast and some large hot drinks. On the way there, we stumbled upon a market with an abundance of tasty treats on offer. The stall that caught our eye the most was selling Italian sweets and Greek baklava. We simply had to buy some!
Once we were fed and caffeinated, we headed along to the seafront. The pebbled beach was so stunning in the daylight. The water was blue and clear, and so was the sky. We both took some time to get some shots of different parts of the beach.
Next, we headed onto the pier. I’ve definitely been on busier piers, but Bognor Regis pier was still fun. Siobhan had a great time on the 2p machines in the large arcade, winning enough tokens to claim a small prize. She was aiming to knock off a couple of £5 notes, but she ran out of coins before that could happen.
After wasting some money, we strolled along to the end of the fairly short pier where we were able to enjoy some beautiful views in either direction.
We then headed back towards the town, stopping to buy some souvenirs, and taking in some more sea views.
By this time, it was lunch time, so we decided to get some chips from somewhere. Luckily, we ended up finding a fish and chip shop on the Esplanade which had some seating right on the beach. It was a welcome break after doing so much walking, and sitting by the sea was very relaxing.
The sun was shining so brightly that day, and Siobhan and I were having so much fun checking out Bognor Regis. We talked about how glad we were that we had come up with this spontaneous plan. Both of us were feeling so much more relaxed here.
Our next stop was Hotham Park which I had researched online. The park was only a short walk from where we had eaten lunch, but seemed like another world. Set back from the beach, Hotham Park was an idyllic green space with so many pretty trees and flowers. We spent quite a bit of time here, walking along the various paths and taking photographs.
Hotham Park seemed to bring out our silly sides, and for the first time in ages, Siobhan and I completely forgot our troubles and messed around like children, taking funny photographs and climbing trees.
After exploring Hotham Park, we headed back into the town centre. It wasn’t even late in the afternoon and we’d already crossed off all of our plans for the day. It was too early to get dinner, so we decided to mooch around the shops and market for a little while longer. Eventually, the lack of sleep was starting to get to us, and we could both feel that we were getting sunburnt. We found a shady spot in one of Bognor’s many gardens and munched on some of our sweet treats from the market. They were so delicious, we regretted not buying more!
At this point in the day, we began to realise that we needed to stop properly, so we headed back to our room to chill out for a while. We knew that if we had carried on all day on only a couple of hours sleep, we would crash, and we wanted to save enough energy to enjoy a meal out and, hopefully, catch the sunset on the beach.
For dinner, we had planned to visit a burger restaurant in town, but when we arrived, it was closed. Remembering we had passed another burger place earlier, we headed off there, but their kitchen was closed for refurbishment. I was starting to get quite tired and grumpy by this point, but all was cured when we finally found somewhere to eat, Brewers Fayre on the seafront. It was a really nice restaurant and we decided it was better for us to be closer to the beach so we could ensure we were there for sunset.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of the sunset from the beach. When it set, it disappeared behind some tall buildings rather than setting over the sea or behind the pier. Not wanting our efforts to be wasted, we spent some time messing around, taking silly selfies until it was too cold to stand any more.
Knowing that we had well and truly made the most of our day, we were happy to head to our room for another early night. It was much easier to drift off this night, and woke up the next day feeling much more refreshed.
On our final day in Bognor, we enjoyed a cooked breakfast in a cafe before visiting the Bognor Regis Museum. We hadn’t really known what to expect from it, as town museums tend to be pretty hit or miss, but we were quite pleasantly surprised with what we saw there. There were several rooms showing different historical artefacts, including a room with countless old radios and a Morse Code machine.
Next, we went in search of some more souvenirs, and enjoyed another walk along the beach. This time, we headed a little further west, ending up at our final planned stop, the Marine Park Gardens. The gardens weren’t quite as large as I’d imagined, but there were some really pretty flowers there. The landscaping here is so well thought out and there are bright colours around every bend.
Having completed everything from our checklist, we spent the rest of our time in Bognor Regis on the beach, checking out the colourful beach huts. These cute little huts really bring character to the beach, and Siobhan and I daydreamed about which colours we’d paint our hut if we owned one.
We decided to head back home mid-afternoon, firstly because it would be easier for us to get back on the train, and secondly because we felt we had done everything we wanted, and needed, to do. We’d seen so many amazing sights, eaten lots of delicious food, and well and truly cleared our minds. It was time to go back and face reality, stronger and refreshed.
Bognor Regis was so much more than we could ever have guessed it would be. We’d expected to have to avoid hoards of over-excitable children streaming out from Butlins, but what we found were calm streets and numerous quiet spaces, stunning sea views, and plenty of attractions to take our minds off of real life. From start to finish, this was such a worthwhile trip and I am so glad that Siobhan and I decided to book it on a whim.