WEST SUSSEX: Medmerry Park

Henry Saunders (5) starts to play tennis during his holiday at Medmerry Park, West Sussex

By Tim Saunders

Holidays allow us to unwind and do things that we wouldn’t normally do.

This is exactly what we do during our stay at Medmerry Park Holiday Village in the heart of the glorious South Downs, only 30 or so miles from our Hampshire home.

As we make our way through the electric gates we wonder what our chalet, number 10A, booked through Windrush Holidays, will be like. As we make our way through the park we spy lots of pretty flowers in full bloom. There is plenty of on site parking and we are able to unload our luggage with ease. It is necessary to bring our own bed linen and towels although they can also be hired from Windrush.

The chalet accommodates six people. There are two bedrooms, a kitchen and lounge with double doors out onto the veranda. As soon as we arrive we feel the weight of the world lifting from our over-burdened shoulders.

We soon find our way round the site. The tennis courts are our first port of call and the children really get into the swing of things, Henry (5) quickly understanding how to play. But as is often the case there are disagreements which need to be worked through. However, the second time we visit the courts Henry is more agreeable, not requiring a posse of ball girls and realising that he can actually pick up his own ball.

What we quickly love about Medmerry Park is that everything is within easy walking distance and it’s a joy not to have to drive the car anywhere for the duration of our stay. So after our gruelling tennis matches we’re able to saunter back to the chalet for a relaxing lunch. Recently I’ve been making my own bread every day because it tastes nicer. I’ve decided to bring all my baking paraphernalia with me on our holiday and continued making a loaf in the morning. So lunch consists of some yummy sandwiches on homemade bread. In the early afternoon we then go swimming in the heated outdoor pool. It’s bliss no matter what the summer weather does. We swim in the baking heat and the pouring rain. We discover there’s a hot shower outside, which is very welcoming. I haven’t swum for ages and although the lifeguard (who seems to be around all the time between 9am and 7pm) tells me about the shallow and the deep ends I am still able to almost drown myself! I just about make a length without a problem and confidently turn round to go back but my arms are really tired and struggling to just before half-way I think I’m safe, put my feet down and find there’s no floor and drop like a stone. I recover from this faux par and after a bit of coughing and spluttering regain my composure. Thankfully there aren’t many swimmers about so I think I got away with it. Like Caroline and I our children have not swum for the best part of two years. They’re a bit apprehensive on the first visit but by the last one they are all confidently swimming, Harriett (10) really making great progress so much so that she is now swimming a width of the pool unaided.

When it comes to holiday dinners we rely on good old fashioned tins and pasta, with a bit of cheese topping – nothing too adventurous but quick and reliable fare. We add a bit of continental chic by putting some breadsticks in a pint glass and some further sophistication is provided by extra virgin olive oil in a dish for dipping chunks of that homemade bread. Add a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio and what else could you possibly want?

The play park is a great hit with the children and Henry (5) insists on Daddy pushing him on the swing. The crazy golf is good fun, too and it is a nice touch that the clubs and balls are available in the shop at no extra cost. That doesn’t often happen these days. After dinner strolls to the beach are always a perfect end to a perfect day. Hours of fun can be spent at the seaside, which is just a few minutes away from the chalet. We take our kite and the children enjoy flying it for quite a time.

Sleeping while away has been known to be extremely difficult for Caroline. She has ears like a rabbit, not literally you understand, but the slightest noise puts her off shutting those eyes. Thankfully the children are growing up and Henry and Heidi (8) share a bedroom without a problem on this holiday. Harriett opts for the sofa bed. Perhaps it’s the combination of rest, sea air and that good cooking…. but Caroline sleeps for England. It is such a joy to see.

We really don’t want to leave and I am sure that we will be returning at some point.

“Did you enjoy it?” I am asked as I return the key. “Yes we did thank you, we’re all very relaxed,” I reply.

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