Summer is slipping away. The first days of September are upon us and you can already feel it – the sudden bite of cold mist, the crispness in the air. Soon, the first frost will fall, our tans will fade, and all our activities will be ushered indoors – board games by the fire, hearty pub lunches and shopping the holiday sales – all the while bundled in chunky wool sweaters.
Knowing the warm weather days are numbered, this weekend we headed south in pursuit of the last bits of sunshine. Our chase took us all the way to West Sussex, a coastal county of protected countryside, Blue Flag beaches, and its own fair share of castles and stately homes.
Petworth House is the former aristocratic seat of the Percy family, and has since been the family home to a series of titled heirs, along the way amassing an impressive collection of British art – including the largest group of JMW Turner paintings outside of Tate Britain. Bits of the house and a few of the art galleries have been turned over to the National Trust and are open to the public. Here’s my little peek inside:
The interior of the house convincingly captures the intact details of a bygone era in British history. The outside grounds were designed in the mid 1700s by legendary English landscape architect, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, making Petworth Park a lush pleasure ground to enjoy one of the last days of the fading summer.
We lunched at The Richmond Arms restaurant just down the road, in a charming Sussex rural village a few minutes outside of Chichester. My salmon was the perfect translucent pink, served over a homemade corn fritter with a dollop of crème fraîche and a delicious summer salsa. My tangy, tropical dessert allowed me to savor the taste of summer that little bit longer.
The light was fading and the tide had already rushed back out to sea by the time we pulled into West Wittering Beach. The sand was silky, albeit starting to chill, under our bare feet – but there’s something about standing on the edge of an island, so close to Europe we could pick up French radio stations across the English Channel.
It seems so bittersweet that we can’t prolong the seasons – but I’m happy to celebrate all the adventures I’ve had this summer. Who knows … maybe there’s even a few more sunny days ahead yet! Here’s hopin’.