Our two-week holiday in Europe was cancelled this year due to Covid. No surprises there, but what was a wonderful surprise was how we spent those two weeks. Having not planned anything at the start of the two weeks, we did a series of day trips from our home in London.
We were very lucky with the weather, as a heatwave started during the first week and put us in a sunny, European-holiday mood. And as we headed out of town for our first trips, mostly to places in Sussex and Kent, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we could do local, English versions of many of the holiday activities we usually do in France and Italy.
We visited the sea, because no holiday is complete without a bit of Ocean. Hastings had all we needed from a coastal town; we browsed in bookshops, ate fishburgers and chips on the beach, dipped our toes in the water and wished we had brought swimming things.
We visited towns, including old favourites (Bath, Aldeburgh) and new places (Rye), just as we do on our trips to Italy. It’s the mixture of familiar routines, and the novelty of exploring new places, that makes a holiday so rejuvenating.
Finally we visited numerous vineyards, as part of our ongoing research into the booming English wine industry. We did tours of vineyards and wineries, tasted wines and bought bottles of our favourites. This is something we have done in many other parts of the world, and doing wine tourism in England felt both familiar and exciting. There is so much going on!
It seems obvious in retrospect, but at the end of our two weeks we realised that being on holiday is a state of mind that arises from doing holiday activities — and that many of those things can be done in England, right on our doorstep, as day trips from home. We look forward to being able to travel abroad again, but in future we will be taking some of our holidays closer to home.