I love days out – but quite honestly, if they aren’t on our doorstep and are more than a couple of hours’ drive away, then by the time we’ve gotten up early, been out and about and driven home, a day out leaves us exhausted. After our day at Corfe Castle we were very lucky to be treated to an overnight stay at Travelodge Poole so that we could turn our day out into a weekend away, and on Saturday morning, we enjoyed a very delicious breakfast buffet at Travelodge and headed out to Norden Station to meet the Swanage railway the day after our windy castle fun. There’s nothing like turning a daytrip into a weekend mini-break and we LOVE staying with Travelodge. I lost count of the times I stayed with them on rugby tour when I was at law school – and more often than not my parents also stay with them when they visit us and don’t feel like being woken up at 5am by over excited boys.
As we took Granny and Grandad with us on our adventure [and as it was my birthday weekend too], on the evening of our first night away, we bought some sticker books from the supermarket which was just a few seconds walk from the hotel, grabbed some snacks and then Granny and Grandad babysat for us whilst me and the mister enjoyed a walk down to the town centre for some Thai food. It was my first time at a Thai restaurant and it was SO delicious. When we got back all three boys were asleep, but on hearing my whispering voice Hero decided he needed to wake up and then stay awake until 4am.
Saturday morning we checked out of our lovely Travelodge after breakfast and waddled, full of scrambled eggs and bacon towards the cars and onwards to the Swanage Railway. Since we visited Bodiam Castle last year and rode the Kent and East Sussex Railway I’ve been looking forward to traveling by steam train again. When the train chug into view, in reality it looked like this:Yet all I could see was this, and wonder if Poirot was going to alight from a first class carriage. I’m pretty sure that Granny was looking at it and imagining Hogwart’s Express.This railway wasn’t as old as the one we rode last year, but it was still so much fun watching the steam trail across the countryside. Granny and Grandad told the boys tales of their train rides when they were children [you know, in the “olden days” as the boys like to call it] and we kept a watch out for the castle as we passed. It was only a short ride until we arrived at Swanage, but when we got off at the platform, the boys were invited into the front of the train by the driver to see what it was like. Apparently it’s HOT according to Lyoto, and sooty. The driver was toasting his sandwiches in there. Two minutes’ walk from the station is Swanage beach! It’s pebbly and sandy and the tide was quite high – although not so high that there wasn’t any room for some digging in the sand and skipping stones. Poor Hero managed to scoop sand into his eyes and was far braver than I am when I can’t see. He cuddled daddy whilst I crossed the road with Granny and Grandad in search of some beach fish and chips. Meanwhile, our chip hating member of the family [Lyoto Jones] decided that he’d rather eat ice cream and the lovely people in Harry Ramsden’s recommended a handmade ice cream store across from the beach which, it turns out, serves chocolate ice cream SO good that you need TWO cones, one after the other.
The big boys decided to play in the sand for a while until it was time for our return train trip to Norden, building castles and skipping stones. I never even thought about skipping stones until I had the boys. Now it’s the first thing we do at the beach – and I’m awful at it, haha. Our time to leave came around too soon and we gathered our sandy socks and shoes up, whilst Hero physically dug his toes into the beach, telling us that he did not want to go and wanted to live on the beach. He’s so cute and gets so mad when we chuckle at his cute little expressions and opinions. He wasn’t cross with us for long this time though, as we promised he could have a little drink of ‘fizzy pop’ on the train, and a nap in the car. When we arrived home it was time to say goodbye to Granny and Grandad as they headed up the country to the Midlands, and we arrived home around an hour and a half later. It was a fantastic adventure and a brilliant weekend, and we’re looking forward to returning!