A Grand Day Out

The UK is experiencing a glorious heatwave that has so far lasted for two weeks and looks set to continue.  When the temperature rises to over 30°C, it is time to head to the coast.  This is what we did last Sunday.

We started out in Sandwich, at the Salutation gardens.  We visited here two years ago when the dahlias were in full swing, and it blew me away.  It is absolutely the best garden I have ever visited for dahlias.  I was curious to know how it looked before the dahlias have hit their stride.

You enter the garden here, and are instantly transported into a tropical paradise.


There are explosions of yellow Verbascum and Marguerite daisies.



Around the corner you get the first view of the hotel, with the added excitement of jungly planting.


The gardens were originally laid out by Edward Lutyens in 1912.  They gradually declined over the next seventy years, and were restored by Head Gardener Steve Edney.  You might have seen him on the BBC’s coverage of RHS Hampton Court this week (still available on iPlayer).  The gardens were then devastated by floods in 2013 and the garden team had to start all over again.  This garden is a lesson in resilience.


The two borders here are filled with repeated climbing roses, herbaceous perennials and annuals.  Like all the planting, it is rich and lush. It lulls you here into a cottagey feel, but then there will be a burst of tropical surprise with a canna or dahlia, or a spiky Eryngium.


There is formality too.  Here is a lavender walk, with clipped cylinders of box.



The Salutation nestles perfectly into its setting.  You are aware that you are in a medieval town, with little glimpses of the world outside.


You can stay at the hotel.  I would love to sip a G&T on this terrace.


Or lunch in the restaurant.


But today we settled for a sandwich in the Sandwich Shop.


And then headed to Broadstairs for some sea and sand.  This is at the quieter end, in Stone Bay.


I love the pink Valerian against the blue sea.


Yes we did go for a swim.  Once you got over the initial gasp it was lovely.  In fact we bobbed around for quite some time.

Then I thought I might try out some arty settings on my camera.  This is ‘Vintage’:


And this is ‘Pop Art’:


It was quite hard to find a run of closed beach-huts.  Most of them were open and bustling with suncream splattered families.  I will try to come back much earlier in the day and have another play.

We did a bit of gazing out to sea.  Can you just see the windmills on the horizon, below? We watched the progress of this fishing boat, trailed by seagulls.


We felt it might be time for an ice-cream.


Round the rocks and into the bustle of Broadstairs.


Do you want to see how busy the beach here was?

This busy!


But it was ok, because ice-cream was in sight now, at the legendary Morelli’s.  We counted fifteen staff serving ice-cream, and they were doing a sterling job.


Of course there had to be ‘Broadstairs Specials’.


The ones below are ‘Wild Berry Sorbet’ and ‘Venezualan Coffee’.


I’ll just let you enjoy that for a moment.

Then, sandy and salty, and full of ice-cream, we trudged back to the car.  We walked through a cloud of damask perfume from this rose.  It was heavenly.


Do you have a favourite seaside retreat?  What are your favourite seaside treats?  


My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

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37 Comments Add yours

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    A grand day indeed, Ali, and beautifully described by you. I love the Valerian against the sea too, and those ices look to die for. And the beach! As packed as Bondi on a busy day. We used to like going to the Gelato Bar there, not just for ice creams but also for their poppyseed streudel. It was delicious. Btw, those people at 106 need to get on the business end of a paintbrush – their au naturel look doesn’t quite fit😏

    1. Ali says:

      Oh yes! That was really annoying, wasn’t it? I should have asked for suggestions for designs!

  2. pommepal says:

    Perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday. I could almost smell the perfume wafting through the iPad from that glorious lavender walk. It always amazes me how the masses all seem to crowd together on one part of a beach when with a little walking they could find a much quieter spot. Same here on our beach, 40kms of Coast along the Gold Coast and much of it deserted, but then they do encourage us to swim between the flags and they are only in specific places

    1. Ali says:

      It was really funny coming around the shoreline and seeing them all! Yes, I think as you say it is about swimming between the flags, and the amenities there. But I definitely like the quieter Stone Bay and then a little stroll for ice-cream.

  3. Emma Cownie says:

    It all looks stunning. What beautiful lush gardens. The Gower in Wales is very parched and the grass is yellow and has stopped growing. I can’t get used to seeing pictures of the UK with beautiful blue skies all the time. I think its time stopped calling this a heat wave and called it a drought, mind you.

    1. Ali says:

      The grass in our garden is like hay now too. I kind of like how the colours have changed. I think it is early this year though. I always remember being shocked one year coming down to London from Yorkshire and seeing that the grass in Hyde Park was completely golden. I guess this might be the sign of things to come.

  4. Claudette says:

    Sounds like a glorious summer day for you all.

  5. Evelyn Flint says:

    I love the beach huts photos – they’re wonderful…

    1. Ali says:

      Beach huts are photography fodder, aren’t they?

  6. shazza says:

    Wow thats one busy beach! I love the pink valarian though. Makes me want some for my little back yard. I love the coast. My favourite seaside resort? Whitby I think. But there are so many lovely places on the coast. Last year went to Norfolk for the first time and loved the red stripey cliffs at Hunstanton and the colourful beach huts of Wells Next The Sea. X

    1. Ali says:

      Whitby is lovely, isn’t it? I love the name ‘Wells Next the Sea’!

  7. I am very blessed to have lots of beautiful and quiet beaches on my doorstep in Donegal. This summer I have been swimming lots – the first since I was a hardy child😉 A 99 ice cream is a regular treat at the moment. 🌼

    1. Ali says:

      I am so glad someone else in the world still calls it a 99!! That is fab that you can swim in the sea so easily. Makes me want to live closer to the coast!

  8. Anne Wheaton says:

    Sounds an idyllic day (apart from the crowded beach). I saw The Salutation the other day on TV so good to see a different view. It always seems such a trek to go to the seaside, but perhaps I should make the effort having seen your photos.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, it is an hour or so to that beach, and about 50 mins for our closest one. We used to be 30 mins away from Camber and it made a big difference. It was close enough to go for a morning walk, rather than it being a day’s outing.

  9. Heyjude says:

    I recognise most of these places, but how did I miss the beach huts? I used to be a passionate photographer of beach huts!

    I visited the Salutations in September 2010 so before the floods, which I knew nothing about. https://smallbluegreenflowers.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/the-secret-gardens-of-sandwich-2/
    A lovely garden then, and a lovely garden now it appears. I like the cylindrical box and the lavender walk. I have also eaten ice-cream from Morellis too! And walked around the beaches of north Broadstairs.

    I hope it wasn’t you who disturbed the Frustrated Gardener on your return to the car… 😀 😀

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Jude, I will check out your post! No, we were too full of ice-cream for arguments! I met TFG at Hampton Court on Monday! Lovely.

      1. Heyjude says:

        That must have been nice. He seems a lovely guy and his garden is so exotic – have you visited it?

      2. Ali says:

        No, but I plan to very soon!

      3. Heyjude says:

        On his Open Day? Get some ideas for yours?

  10. annpappas says:

    Beautiful photos! Meanwhile during the past week in parts of South Africa: https://snowreport.co.za/

    1. Ali says:

      That seems totally bizarre now, Ann! We are always at extreme opposites of the weather spectrum!

  11. bcparkison says:

    Another beautiful visit. Don’t like crowed beach time but what ever it takes.Who knew icecream would be such a hit. But it does tame the heat of summer.

  12. Sam says:

    The Salutation is fabulous. My kids’ school is just around the corner. If you get the chance to eat in the restaurant, do – I had the most amazing meal there a few weeks ago. Broadstairs is also lovely but a bit too busy in the summer. It sounds as though you had a great day out.

  13. sherylc6060 says:

    A grand day indeed. Thank you for sharing. It is all so beautiful.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Sheryl, I am glad you enjoyed it.

  14. Absolutely lovely!!! I think I like the lavender walk the best and of course, the ice cream. The ocean was stunning, but I imagine quite cold. Thank you for this seaside trip!
    We’ve finally cooled off here (at least for a few days) and it is most heavenly!!!

  15. Eliza Waters says:

    What a sweet garden, esp. the lavender walk. The view down the Verbascum and Marguerites was so pleasing.
    A day at the beach is a lovely thing. Despite the crowds, yours looks divine. Ours is over 2 hrs drive away, so we seldom make the trip. And the older we get, the more tiring it is to do all in one day. When the boys were young, we did it annually. Last year we didn’t go at all. A few days would be the best!

    1. Ali says:

      That sounds like a short break waiting to happen, Eliza!

  16. JT Twissel says:

    We live near Santa Cruz California which has a boardwalk amusement park that serves deep fried frozen Twinkies – only for the brave! Hope your weather cools down.

    1. Ali says:

      What are twinkies? Eek?

  17. Jenny says:

    Oh my goodness, blue skies everywhere. And Broadstairs. I spent a week there 55 years ago with a boyfriend who lived there. I remember the sound of fog horns but I’m sure there were none the day you were there. We will be in Kent next year so will try to visit the Salutation. It looks glorious.

    1. Ali says:

      Oh wow! No, no fog horns, but now you say it, I possibly have heard them in winter…

  18. Beautiful photos, and a lovely commentary. I love the pictures of the lavender walk, what a gorgeous shade of purple. 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Heather!

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