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Shore to South Downs Activity Retreat at the Beachcroft Beach Huts

January 6, 2023

About

I first stayed at the Beachcroft Beach Huts back in February 2020. They blew me away with their sea views, luxury interiors and hotel style service. To say I was thrilled to be invited back to try out their brand new Shore to South Downs activity package would be an understatement. This time I got to enjoy all the joys of staying in these gorgeous beach huts whilst trying out some of my favourite outdoor pursuits! Somebody pinch me!

The trip, organised by C J Hotel Consultancy, combined a two night stay in the beach huts with an fun packed itinerary allowing us to either try activities for the for the first time or build on skills whilst immersing ourselves in some of Sussex’s finest coast and countryside. The retreat aims to combine the comfort of a luxury stay with the skills of expert guides and coaches in mountain biking, SUP and even kite surfing. After months of planning it was time for myself, Samantha of Coco Travels and Jen of She Gets Around to put the package through its paces. Bring it on!

Shore to South Downs Itinerary

Our itinerary was designed to allow us a taster of a full activity retreat offered to guests. Our mountain biking and water sports sessions were half days whereas Shore to South Downs guests will receive a full day of each. A typical Shore To South Downs itinerary will look like:

Day 1

Arrive after 3pm.

Settle in, explore, afternoon walk or sea swim followed by dinner in the Tamarisk Restaurant from 6pm.

Day 2

Guided mountain biking in the South Downs.

The day includes: Breakfast at the Beachcroft; transport to and from the Riverside South Downs; mountain bike hire (also an e-bike option for a small additional charge); a morning and afternoon of mountain bike guiding and coaching on the South Downs; Blakes stone baked pizza for dinner.

Day 3

SUP and Paddleboard Pilates at The Beach, Littlehampton.

The day includes: Breakfast at the Beachcroft; transport to and from The Beach in Littlehampton; 2 hours guided paddleboarding; 45 mins of guided breathwork and Pilates; hot showers and changing facilities; check out at 3pm.

There is also the option for staying an additional night if you’d like to make the most of your time in the Beach Hut and truly relax after your active stay.

Accommodation

Beachcroft Beach Huts provide the perfect blend of a traditional British bucket and spade seaside holiday, complimented with a sense of true luxury. A stay here offers simple beach living without compromise; underfloor heating, rooms serviced daily, smart TV, Smeg fridge complete with a chilled bottle of rose…there’s even a complementary supply of sloe gin! This accommodation is luxurious by any standard, but in terms of beach huts this is as good as it gets. The huts have been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 4 with a bunk bed downstairs and a double mezzanine leading from the living area. The Beachcroft are also incredibly friendly meaning that even four-legged furry guests are guaranteed the warmest of welcomes.

Of course, the absolute piece de resistance is the proximity to the beach and the sea. Even in the middle of November I had the doors wide open at night so I could enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing just metres away. And the sunrise… ah man. I took SO many photos. Can’t beat sitting in your PJ’s with a warm cuppa watching the colours change as the day begins. We topped our morning off with a pre-breakfast dip. It was just too inviting!

Marmalade MTB

Marmalade MTB offer a range of group rides and custom 1:1 sessions in the South Downs National Park and the Surrey Hills. Their love and passion for riding and being in the outdoors is paramount.. and quite infectious! Our group spent an incredible morning being guided by Sean (founder) and Clive (MTB Leader) who are both key players in the Marmalade Mob.

Having collected our rental bikes from Riverside South Downs in Amberley, Sean gave us a little prep talk on best riding stances, how to change gear and how to position your hands to ensure stability. I’ve been riding a bike for years but these little pointers made a huge difference to my confidence, especially when going down the steeper hills.

We set off on an ascent which treated us to some beautiful views towards Arundel and beyond. Our group was made up of a mix of novice to intermediate riders with the pace being leisurely and fun. No pressure, no rushing – just enjoying the ride on a balmy November’s day.

Once we reached our highest point at Rackham Hill, Sean took the time prepare us for the descent. Again, we were given simple but crucial pointers on how to position ourselves, how to use our brakes and where to focus our eye line. I absolutely loved whizzing down the trails and I know that the guidance I was given made a huge difference to my ability and confidence. The biggest smile was plastered on my chops when we all reconvened at the Riverside. Activity number one completed. What’s next?

The Beach at Littlehampton

Our transport dropped us off right opposite The Beach at Littlehampton, not to be confused with the actual beach… I’m talking about the spanking new café / community hub / water sports facility that has brought a new lease of life to this West Sussex seaside town. Set up in 2021 by three friends (Dave, Jamie and James) with a love of being close to and on the sea, The Beach has a surf club feel about it with laid back lounge areas and staff who could easily become your best mate!

We rocked up just in time for lunch, and after a full on morning on the bikes this was the perfect opportunity to get stuck in to their tempting menu. They’re open from 7am through until 9pm so offer a full range of breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The lunch menu offers a selection of pizzas, wraps, burgers and seafood delights – a really good selection of fresh bites. I opted for the Steak Melt Wrap with melted cheese and onion, just writing it’s name now is making me hungry! Paired with a super cold Corona beer this was exactly what I need to refuel ahead of the next round of activities.

The Beach offers lessons in a range of activities including paddle boarding. The venue is set up with it’s own instruction area facing the beach. There’s are a number of changing rooms and showers with all the essential kit on offer such as wetsuits and booties. The whole set makes trying out a new activity all the more straight forward – you don’t have to worry about where to store your valuables, investing in gear or how to get changed without flashing your bits. Best of all the instructors are so incredibly down to earth and passionate about what they do any nervous niggles quickly melt away.

Being mid-November the sea was too rough for a SUP lesson so we headed inland to the lake in Mewsbrook Park. Leah and Cat, our instructors pitched their coaching perfectly to the various abilities in the group. Some were absolute novices and other were looking for progression advice. After we’d all found our feet Cat guided us through a blend of yoga, Pilates and breathwork which was incredibly relaxing. We finished our time at The Beach with a quick dip in the sea before watching the sun go down on a perfect day. Shore to South Downs completed!

Thoughts

For me this really is the perfect weekend package. The accommodation is as good as you can get in one of the most stunning locations on the South East coast. The activities can be tailored to your experience or ability with instructors who exude enthusiasm. Once you arrive you really don’t have to think about much at all, everything is organised on your behalf whether that be transport, bike hire or lunch venue – all you have to do is show up. I’ve been singing the praises of this package to anyone who might show an interest and can honestly say it was one of my highlights of 2022. If you’ve been thinking about getting out there for 2023 then get involved – I promise Shore to South Downs is an experience you won’t regret or forget!

If you would like to find out more about the Retreat Packages at the Beachcroft Beach Huts please visit their website here. I was invited to experience the Shore to South Downs package by the fab team at CJ Consultancy and The Beachcroft Hotel.

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