Living on the South Coast has many benefits: gorgeous scenery, fresh air, the sea and lots of dog-friendly activities, places of interests and eateries.
Besides taking my two dachshunds for walks along the water’s edge at low tide, another one of my favourite things to do is to spend a few hours moseying around a vintage fair piled high with handmade items and treasures from the past. The best and most beautiful in the area are those run by Love Lane Vintage (owner Lucy Haywood). Plus she always welcomes well-behaved dogs on leads so I try to support all her events whenever I can.
Vintage Sussex Summer Fair
We popped along to her Summer Fair, on 23 June 2017, held at the Cowdray Ruins in Midhurst, West Sussex. We paid a little bit more for an early bird ticket which allowed us entry at 9.00 am to get choice pickings. I find that if you arrive even an hour later, all the unusual and best stuff has already been snapped up! There was a queue when we arrived at a quarter to the hour but our sweet little sausages just waited patiently in line.
While I browsed the various marquees dotted around the ruins, my husband took our two dogs for a walk amongst the outside stalls where a lot of people stopped him to give them a little cuddle.
I, on the other hand, was busy getting my shop on and purchased a lovely beach basket with leather handles and a cosmetic bag made out of a vintage quilted fabric. I also stopped to admire this little beauty relaxing in a tub, but unfortunately, he was not for sale!
My husband and I met up once I was done and we took a stroll to examine the ruins in closer detail.
The Cowdray Ruins
The Cowdray Heritage webpage explains:
“Cowdray Heritage is one of England’s most important early Tudor houses and is known to have been visited by both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. In September 1793, whilst undergoing repairs and refurbishments for the impending marriage of the 8th Viscount Montague, a devastating fire took hold and most of the property was destroyed. The Kitchen Tower is the only part of the mansion to remain intact.
Since 1793 it largely remained untouched however the 1st Viscount Cowdray commissioned a restoration project between 1909-1914 when St John Hope was asked to report on Cowdray, Easebourne Priory and St Anne’s Hill.
This work is generally credited with having saved the Cowdray ruins from total collapse. Nevertheless this period of desertion ensured that the features that remained of this important Tudor building were untouched and consequently give us today a unique glimpse of many important features of Tudor architecture which would otherwise have been lost.”
As the property has not officially opened for the summer season, I am unsure if dogs are allowed in the Tower Room or in the restaurants. However, they were certainly allowed on the grounds during the fair.
The Country Brocante Store
Afterwards, we decided to take the 10-minute stroll into the town of Midhurst where Lucy also runs The Country Brocante Store. It is set back off the high street on West Street and houses a collection of pop-up sellers. They tend to specialise in vintage and handmade items of the Cabbages & Roses with a bit of French Nordic flavour thrown in variety! I couldn’t resist their gorgeous goodies and picked up a small shelving unit.
The Custom Cafe
After all that shopping, hunger set in and we decided to head home. On route, we stopped at the newly-refurnished Custom Cafe on the Barnhorn Road just outside of Bexhill. They currently have a limited menu of burgers but will be expanding it once the building work is completed.
The owner has a dog so she welcomes other people’s pooches with open arms. Our girls relaxed whilst we had American-style burgers. They use very good quality local ingredients and I really enjoyed the Applejack burger with smoked applewood cheddar, corn relish, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. It is a very welcoming place and we will definitely be back!
All in all, what I would consider a successful day out as I spent money and ate good food! Hopefully, you enjoyed this short tour around dog-friendly vintage Sussex with me and maybe see you and your dog(s) in this neck of the woods soon!
Cowdray Ruins: https://www.cowdray.co.uk/historic-cowdray/
Love Lane Vintage Fairs: https://www.facebook.com/lovelanevintage/
The Country Brocante Store: https://www.thecountrybrocante.co.uk/the-shop
Custom Cafe: https://www.facebook.com/Thecustomcafe/
Meet our Guest Reviewer:
Jan lives in Sussex with her husband and two miniature daschunds, Chynna and Georgia Rose. She loves dogs of all shapes and sizes and is keen to find great dog-friendly places so her dogs can join too. Jan lives life to the full, enjoying travelling, visiting new places, eating, drinking and shopping. Chynna is a registered PAT dog and Jan volunteers for a local charity as well as being a World Record Holder after taking part in the Biggest Charleston Routine!