It was a slow journey from London to Bournemouth but after 2.5 hours, we finally parked up in the Sandbanks car park and headed over the road to the ‘Rick Stein’ restaurant.
Rachael had booked ahead so we had a lovely table overlooking the bay. It was a sunny day and there were many boats either moored up or pottering to and fro. In the distance, the buildings of the main city could be seen across the calm water.
Rachael and I shared a sushi starter which was delicious and plenty enough for the two of us. We were still celebrating our wedding anniversary and I have been in Edinburgh for the last few days on business, so this was a lovely time to spend together and catch up on everything.
For our main course, Rachael chose the pan-fried sea ray served with new potatoes and I went classic with a cod and chips. Both dishes looked great, were not over fancy as some restaurants get into and tasted fresh and delicious.
After a final coffee and some little treats, the restaurant presented us with, we took a walk back across the car park and onto the beach on the sea-ward side of Sandbanks spit. It was a beautiful day and the long clear beach was sprinkled with families enjoying themselves. Out on the water, small sailboats and some wind surfers enjoyed a gentle breeze. Behind the beach were a two story row of beach huts with little balconies overlooking the beach. Their colourful shutters were mostly all closed except the occasional occupied hut with towels and other beach gear filling the small space. We walked along the beach for a while before turning round, and back to the car.
We drive through the back streets of Bournemouth to find the ‘Langtry Manor Hotel’ . The roads were lined with tall, red barked pine trees which gave the area a Mediterranean feel. The hotel itself had nice spacious rooms and would do nicely for the night.
Inside we met Rachael’s parents with whom we were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary along with her sister and boyfriend. Rachel’s brother and his wife were also due to join us but hadn’t arrived yet.
While Rachael shared a drink and a catch up with her parents, I joined Peter and Karen in a trip to nearby Winton to browse a camera shop. I treated myself to a new strap after having given away my last strap in South Africa as a present to one of our guides.
All the group now arrived by the time we got back and we headed into Christchurch where we had booked dinner. A few of us wanted a walk before dinner so strolled towards the imposing Priory church with its huge stone tower back lit in the purple hues of the setting sun.
Beyond the church, the path led down to the river which had several boats moored and swans serenely swimming about. By now the sun had properly set so we took a longer route back via a path around the back of the church and along the river.
Dinner in Splinters restaurant was superb. We had a small room all to ourselves that used to be the kitchen when the place first opened nearly 60 years ago. The staff were friendly and the food was great. The wine was flowing and it was a very fun evening. A great way to celebrate Ken and Linda’s 50th wedding anniversary and an enjoyable mini break for Rach and me too!