LLG Travels: A Perfect Weekend in West Sussex, England with VintageSeekers.com

by Sasha Wilkins on June 19, 2012 · 28 comments

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If you read LLG regularly, you’ll know that fast cars are a family passion. My father instilled a great deal of confidence in me where driving is concerned (he is more likely to say ’put some welly in it’ than he is to urge me to slow down).

I love getting to know different cars, relishing the challenge of getting behind the wheel of something new – as when I got to drive the SLS AMG at Mercedes-Benz World last November, or when my father handed me the keys to his XK120. Or when I accidentally hired the feckin awful Fiat 500 in San Francisco a few weeks back which looks fabulous but drives like a donkey.

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So, one afternoon when I was in an appointment to look at some clothes for LLG, the PR for VintageSeekers.com discovered that I loved cars and threw out a suggestion: would I like to borrow a 1965 Austin Healey for the weekend, to highlight their new classic car brokerage service?

Would I?

HELL, YEAH.

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I roped in lil’sis (who doesn’t drive but loves being a passenger) and P Bad, wangled a night at the glorious Bailiffscourt Hotel in West Sussex (that’s an hour and a half south south west of London, on the South Coast) and prayed for sunshine – the Austin Healey is a fabulous car to drive in any weather but with the roof down it is heaven on wheels.

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So the Saturday before last, on the one sunny day we’ve had in months, we picked the car up at Gatwick Airport to avoid manouevering it through London traffic – it’s not much fun stop starting a car like that in traffic, and drove down the B roads to the West Sussex Coast and Bailiffscourt. We checked in and explored,

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before heading off to Arundel. We set the in-car security system

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and headed off to look in at Arundel Cathedral.

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& walk the rat on Climping Beach,

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We then headed back to Bailiffscourt for a swim in the spa complex, then supper and Scrabble.

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The next day we breakfasted long and late, checked out, and headed back to Arundel to explore the Castle garden & interior,

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before heading off  on a leisurely drive

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to Petworth House for a proper National Trust Cream Tea, instead of lunch. (Petworth is brilliantly set up for Accessibility: they have a minibus shuttle from the car park to the main house & the tea rooms, and wheel chairs to borrow if you should need.)

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Then we went for a walk with P Bad in Petworth’s extensive grounds, before heading back to Gatwick to reluctantly give back the car.

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Bye bye Austin Healey. We thought you were smashing.

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And thank you VintageSeekers.com and your fabulous classic car brokerage service.

 

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Wildthyme June 19, 2012 at 21:02

Arundel is my place to go when I need a day out of London. The plethora of vintage shops and foodie places is amazing and a lot cheaper than in London.

The chipper does the best chip buttie outside of the North East and sitting on the riverbank at sunset eating said chip buttie watching the swallows swoop home is almost sublime to me. It was the first time I’d ever seen even one never mind countless.

On a very geeky note, the BBC filmed a Doctor Who story there in 1988. Arundel Castle filled in for Windsor Castle because the Crown wouldn’t allow them to film at Windsor. Probably didn’t want rampaging Cybermen :)

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LLG June 20, 2012 at 07:23

@Wildthyme: OMG – HOW did I not recognise it, when I am such a massive Dr Who fan. (Altho wldn’t it have been 1998?) Thank you so much for letting me know.

And chip butties on the list for the next visit. LLGxx

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Wildthyme June 20, 2012 at 10:09

@LLG: It was a Seventh Doctor storyline – Silver Nemesis :D

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sadie June 20, 2012 at 01:06

that car really suits you, so does the 50′s flim star look!
:)
x

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LLG June 20, 2012 at 07:22

@sadie: Thanks Sadie; it’s fun to play dress up once in a while! LLGxx

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Christine June 20, 2012 at 02:04

Looks great! what a fabulous little car. I just bought myself a Cadillac De Ville which eats gas like crazy but I love the way it looks and it rides like an armchair. I can’t wait until classic cars are converted to electric…then we can enjoy the best of both Worlds. Great Post. x

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LLG June 20, 2012 at 07:21

@Christine: Hmm – I wonder what the drive will be like with electric. Intriguing! Your call sounds like absolute heaven too. LLGxx

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Lucy Evans June 20, 2012 at 03:07

It genuinely takes talent to drive a classic car but once you’ve tried it nothing beats it. Having tried to drive this Healey myself I have to say I envy you your driving ability – apparently its all about empathy with the mechanicals! And of course you have the style cue’s down to perfection! Lovely x

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LLG June 20, 2012 at 07:21

@Lucy Evans: I’ve written another piece to go up this week about the art of driving a classic car! It does take skill, but I do also think it’s all about confidence and believing you can do it…LLGxx

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Anna Maria June 20, 2012 at 04:41

Fabulous! Will you write separately about Petworth? I visited last year and was blown away – it is an amazing place.

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LLG June 20, 2012 at 07:20

@Anna Maria: Unfortunately we only had tea – in the old servant’s hall which was rather fab, and a quick trot with P Bad, as my sister wasn’t feeling well, so we didn’t see inside anything of the house. We’ll just have to go back – no hardship! LLGxx

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Anna Maria June 20, 2012 at 11:27

@LLG: No hardship indeed:-) There are some wonderful paintings and sculptures – it has more priceless works of art than many museums.

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Becki Rowe June 20, 2012 at 05:05

Brilliant fun! What a great car *jealous face*

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LLG June 20, 2012 at 07:24

@Becki Rowe: It was absolutely the best weekend I’ve had in AGES. I feel like I should adopt the VintageSeeker/.com lifestyle permanently! LLGxx

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Sue Marie June 20, 2012 at 07:40

My eyes are turning green!!
That car, your headscarf, those teapots…
What a super weekend, I hope you had an awesome time!
Sue x

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Heather June 20, 2012 at 08:08

I was so excited to read your previous blog that detailed your trip to the South Coast as I spent several years living in a small village very close to Arundel so I know and love the area. It sounds as though you saw two of the best bits with both Bailiffscourt and the cathedral.
My dad has also always encouraged me to drive confidently and, being a classic car enthusiast, he sometimes offered up some unusual vintage beasts for me to test run. Being under 5’3″ made this exhilarating but in most cases, very frightening.
As you enjoyed the area and the car you should definitely look at Goodwood Revival which happens in September. xx

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Erica June 20, 2012 at 09:36

Living here in Washington, DC I hear the names Arundel (Arundel, Maryland & Anne Arundel County, also in Maryland) and Petworth (the neighborhood next to mine in DC) all the time…without a 2nd thought. Now I know where we got those names! Nice post and I’m sooo jealous you got to drive that car for a whole weekend!

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annie June 20, 2012 at 11:02

well that sounds like a pretty perfect weekend! How lovely. I’m very envious. I love that photo of you and H in the car, so cute!

I stayed at Bailiff’s last Sept for a wedding. I thought the service, food and room were blah but I loved the building and all the faux tudor tapestries and furniture. There are so many lovely little nooks and crannies to hide in and the hotel has a really lovely atmosphere. Beautiful gardens and a lovely fig tree too :)

Glad you had such a nice time xx

I wish I’d known about Arundel Castle as it would have been a perfect place for a fugue clearing tramp the next day.

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