First Beach Of The Year

Studland11The first visit to the beach each year is always a special one. How is it possible over the winter to forget how good bare feet feel in the sun and the sand. Having spontaneosly decided to take a road trip to the beach one Sunday, Mia and Joe couldn’t have clambered out of the car any faster when we parked up at Shell Bay on Studland. They grabbed their buckets and literally ran to the sand! Two little ones after my own heart…beach lovers and sun worshippers.



The weather was warm enough for paddling, and with the sea far out there were stream-like puddles left stretching along the beach. As the water warmed in the afternoon sun, even I was tempted in to paddle my toes!


Shell Bay is very natural and unspoilt, and whilst only four minutes away from the main land on the chain link ferry, it felt like a world away. There were sand dunes and beach grass to nestle amongst, which provided the perfect windbreak from the sea breezes. There were very few concessions to tourism, despite it being a popular place to visit. Luckily we had packed a picnic and drinks, as there was no beach cafe within walking distance. And, whilst part of me would have loved a strong cup of tea, beach-style in a polysterne cup, the wild nature of the beach was perfect and peaceful.


There were beautiful views of Sandbanks, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight, and we spent hours watching the small sail boats and yachts sailing about.

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Learning that one of life’s simplest pleasures is reading a good book on the beach.

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Later in the afternoon, we explored slightly further afield and drove the short distance  along the coast to South Beach. There were lovely old beach huts looking out to sea, and stripey deckchairs to hire. We took a walk along the beach and Mia and Joe found several crabs, not alive unfortunately, but fascinating for both of them.



I was very tempted to visit Studland again the next weekend, as we had such a lovely day there. It’s only a couple of hours from where we live, making it one of the closest beaches to visit, and an easy journey to make in a day. And, when it is so beautiful, and close by, I know that we will visit again soon.


Stay At A Historic University: Accommodation On A Budget


Did you know that it’s possible to stay at some of the UKs most famous universities? Rooms are available in many of the UKs most popular cities, including London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge. University Rooms brings together universities, colleges, and student residences in over 30 UK cities, filling the empty student rooms over during Summer, Christmas and Easter holidays. And as students are on holiday for around 20 weeks (almost half!) of the year there is plenty of availabilty. Of all the dates I checked for a potential city break over Easter or the summer holidays, there was a choice of accommodation available in almost all locations.


Its a great option for budget and solo travellers looking to explore top destinations, as there are no single room surcharges, no extra charges and no booking fees. Top facilities are provided, many options having parking available, self catering facilities, en-suites and include wi-fi and breakfast – some even cater for families.

Keble room

Keble room view

Booking city accomodation on a budget can be difficult and in some cities choice is very limited. From past experience, I have often found that there is usually a compromise somewhere, with accomodation often outside of the city centre, or in a tiny room in the heart of town, with just about large enough for a bed and a suitcase! As overnight accommodation prices have increased, UniversityRooms provides low cost accommodation within University facilities, in top locations.

University Rooms seems to provide a really good alternative option to more traditional city break choices. Some of their rooms have even featured as film sets, such as Christ Church College, Oxford where the Harry Potter movies were filmed. Staying there you can even have breakfast in the stunning sixteenth century Great Hall, although I suspect the morning post might not be delivered by tiny Hogwarts owls!


The central location of many of the University rooms is also very appealing. I always find that staying in the city centre gives you more of a feel of the place, as you are surrounded by the buzz of daily life.

Stay in the historical city of Oxford, in University colleges and residencies, right in the heart of the city. Make the most of your time there by visiting some of the incredible museums such as the Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers and Museum of natural History. Admire the historic buildings while walking through the bustling city centre. You can also head to Blenheim Palace to see the incredible grounds and dine in the Palace restaurant or take a short bus ride to Bicester Village outlet.


This week is English Tourism Week a week-long celebration of events showcasing the quality and vibrancy of the English tourism industry. What a wonderful way of celebrating and promoting the many amazing destinations throughout our beautiful island.

So why not book a University Room and go exploring somewhere new in the UK! I would love to know where you would recommend for a city break.

This is an affiliated post; I was kindly offered an overnight stay with University Rooms in exchange for my views. Thanks to the lovely Alice at Seriously PR for providing the above images and some specific information about University Rooms.