Thursday 6 October 2016

Dieppe and Portsmouth

Last month we had two short breaks in one. For her 80th birthday the family gave Hubby's mum a luxury hotel break in Brighton so we drove her and her partner down, before driving on to Newhaven where we caught DFDS' Seven Sisters ferry to Dieppe.

We haven't travelled this route or with this company for many years; a very good crossing on a very nice ship. As the crossing was just four hours we didn't book a cabin but spent nearly an hour watching the white cliffs disappear before enjoying fish and chips in the restaurant. Before we knew it we could see Dieppe; it is certainly a skill to get the ship in the small port and turn it round before docking.
On board the Seven Sister's with a lovely glass
of my favourite wine Sancerre. 
The Seven Sisters 

It was dark by the time we arrived in Dieppe but the sat nav easily found our hotel. We like Accor Hotels and had chosen to stay in their Ibis as not only do we like this chain but it was in walking distance of our favourite restaurant - Flunch.

Thursday morning we were up fairly early and off to Auchan. One of France's largest supermarkets we enjoy shopping for many food/wine items to bring home. But first was breakfast in one of the bar/cafe's just inside the shopping complex.

It was lovely to wander round looking at the many promotions and french goods we love, especially as we were not doing a holiday food shop and trying to plan meals as we do in the summer. Our trolley had quite a variety of goods; wine (of course), beer, sirops (cordials), hand wash, toothpaste, vanilla sugar, biscuits, sweets - all the good things.

We have travelled through Dieppe in the past but never stayed to look around - in fact neither of us had realised their was a castle. We drove and parked just above it and wandered along expecting to pay to enter but to look around was free, payment was just for the museum which we didn't visit. The views were amazing, looking right across the town and watching the other DFDS ship set sail for England.

Dieppe Castle
A double drawbridge
Cannons and firing holes
Beautiful turrets
Inside the grounds
View across Dieppe
DFDS ferry sailing back to England 
After visiting the castle we moved the car into the town centre and enjoyed a lovely lunch at one of the harbourside cafes - although I wasn't impressed when the waiter tried to tell me their Sancerre was a very good pinot grigio !!!

The town itself had a couple of pedestrian streets with a mix of buildings - we found a Leffe bar which had we seen earlier would have been our lunch stop. The church in the centre made me feel quite sad - it was in such poor state of repair. Inside the once beautiful painted walls were covered in damp and beginning to crumble, as was the roof, so badly that across the nave was a large net to catch falling masonry. The carving had weathered to be unrecognisable - it will cost a lot of euros to repair and renovate this ancient building.

Leffe Bar
After enjoying an early evening drink on our hotel's patio we strolled back to the Auchan shopping cntre for dinner at Flunch. It's a well known chain restaurant where you choose your starter, dessert and any drinks at the self service area before going to the check out.

The cashier gives you a voucher for your chosen main meal and after settling at your table you take the voucher to the grill area where your meat is cooked just for you. You can then help yourself to an array of hot vegetables, chips, rice, pasta or potatoes.

To my delight is was 'moules a la volonte' which means I had a bowl of mussels and once eaten returned to the grill with my bowl of empty shells for it to be refilled ! You can do this as often as you like - some people went up three or four times. Of course you can also have as many chips or other hot veg as you like as with the other meats !

My amazing dessert at Flunch 
Friday was our return day to England - another good crossing on Seven Sisters which didn't seem like 4 hours at all. Arriving in Newhaven we drove along the coast to Brighton to meet Nick's Mum and partner before continuing our journey together to Portsmouth.

Unusually for us we stayed in a guest house as opposed to a hotel chain. The journey took quite a while due to Friday night traffic and many roundabouts on the A27. Our host was there to greet us although she doesn't live in the guest house. Our rooms were very spacious and nicely decorated.

After a little stroll round and a glass of wine at a water side pub to watch the Wright Link and Brittany Ferries sailing in and our of port we returned to the guest house to share a bottle of red wine from France. It was a very cosy lounge where we could see the ferries from the window.

Relaxing in the cosy guest house lounge 
Brittany Ferries Normandie - my favourite boat that we
sail to France on each summer - lovely to see her at night
Saturday we took Nick's mum and partner up the Spinnaker Tower - wow what a view. The had recently been on holiday to the Isle of Wight, sailing from Portsmouth so it was nice to see the island and the ferries making the crossing. I was very pleased to see one of the Wright Link ferries is called St Clare (correct spelling).
Stunning view from the Spinnaker Tower
Family photo up high
Busy port traffic 
Looking inland
The Spinnaker Tower
We had a great day around Portsmouth, taking a bus to Southsea and watching the Hovercraftgunwharf arrive from The Isle of Wight. Of course we got covered in sand when she left again. Southsea pier had the usual attraction, it would have been rude not to have an ice cream, complete with flake.

Saturday night we returned to Gunwharf Quays for dinner although I thought I was back in Dieppe as we dined in Cafe Rouge and I had mussels ! Portsmouth is a lovely place to stay, so much to see whatever your interests.

The breakfast in our guest house was lovely, a great start to Sunday as before travelling home we visited Porchester Castle. It was lovely walking along the shore in the early morning looking back across to Portsmouth.
Looking back to Portsmouth
Porchester Castle
Quite a busy few days with such variety, it was lovely to pop over to France and equally as nice to spend a few more days in our favourite UK port. Next week we're off to Turkey - winter sun, perfect!

1 comment:

Julie said...

A lovely few days away.
Happy 80th Birthday to your MIL