Living in Hampshire has it's perks. We're just an hour or two from some of the best beaches the English coastline has to offer and finally, the weather is offering the opportunity to truly explore and enjoy a day-trip to the ocean.
Barton on Sea is a gorgeous beach stretching across 5 km (approximately 3 miles) of coastline with views on the Isle of Wight and Highcliff Castle. I was completely taken in by the spread of wildflowers growing on the slope from cliff to sea.
The decent from the cliff-top parking to the beach was a relatively easy walk. It is surely delightful for anyone with cartilage in their knees! I grimaced a bit, but the kids enjoyed the 10-minute or so trek.
I thought it might be too cold, but my three little loves were thrilled to jump and splash in the water, regardless of the temperature! Barely 20 degrees centigrade (68 F), they thought it was a heatwave. And it felt like it after the long, cold, damp winter (even by British standards). The ocean, of course, was still like an ice-bath, but kids hardly notice that!
Eventually, they all stripped down into their bathing suits and played in the water until their teeth chattered. Then with towels and warm sand to ward off hypothermia, they recovered with a snack.
The beach is rocky with patches of sand where the tide comes in and it's heaven for fossil-hunters. Don't spend too much time near the edge of the cliff, though. There are plenty of slips and much of it is cordoned off to keep visitors safely away from the eroding edges that are so tempting to look over!
For those who love a bit of climbing, there are magnificent rocks stretching out into the surf to adventure upon, but I kept my little ones on the sand.
Just over an hours drive from the Basingstoke area, Barton on Sea's cheap parking, portaloos and gorgeous views makes for a day at the beach we will likely repeat! There is even the Highcliff Castle to explore just minutes away (too much in one day for my 3), several B&Bs and a few restaurants to quench your hunger (or thirst!)!
But before we return to Barton on Sea, we'll have to explore more of the coast to find our family's favorite spot!