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Yvonne and Mike, our very active home exchangers from the UK, are at it again. This time they decided to share with us their very much appreciated home swap in Worthing, England.

We’d had such a good time on our last swap in Brighton, that we thought we’d try our luck at another artist’s open house weekend, this time just down the coast in Worthing.

We’ve always felt the easy attraction to a city, or to a larger seaside town like Brighton for their grand, (sometimes faded,) architecture and the buzz of quirky galleries and coffee shops.
But Britain is full of charming villages too – tucked away along less traveled B roads. They’ve often formed part of the backdrop to our trips as we meandered from town to town, but rarely were they the focus. That changed when we exchanged homes with Kate and Victor.

Their reply had been prompt, they seemed like a lovely couple and the pictures of their home were pretty, so it being a few miles further out from Worthing seemed a small price to pay.
Rolling up their gravel drive and turning off the engine, we felt very far away from any city. As we stepped out into their immaculate garden, a blackbird’s single note pierced the blanket of stillness that lay around us.
Their cat, Ginger, bounded up the path to greet us. Weaving himself between our legs, he led us into our pretty weekend home.

Sitting in their garden with a cup of tea, with greenery all around and the peal of distant church bells, you could think you were deep in the English countryside. And yet, just a few hundred yards walk from the end of their drive, we found ourselves in the village. While sipping a pint in the beer garden behind The Moon pub, a local couple pointed out that were just ‘yards’ away from the South Downs Way and a short hop to some of the most picturesque English villages we could hope to find. Maybe we could ‘pass through’ a few on the way to Worthing tomorrow,’ said Mike.

Well, a ‘pass through’ became a full day’s adventure. The next morning was spent exploring the 36 acres of Amberley’s Industrial Heritage Museum, followed by ambling through the village’s thatched cottage filled lanes. Porches framed by climbing roses, glorious tea rooms and a ‘working’ red telephone box, served to paint a picture of quintessential English village life.
Wanting to see more of this side of England, we detoured to the market town of Arundel. Climbing up it’s ancient High St, home to Georgian and Victoria fronted shops and pubs, we couldn’t help but be aware of the majestic presence of the castle, as it rose high above the more modern parts of the town and the River Arun down below. Surely, this was what visitors had in mind when they conjured images of English heritage…

By the time we thought about leaving for Worthing it was late afternoon. ‘No hurry’ said Mike. ‘We always have tomorrow. That’s if we don’t go a-wandering again…’

So thank you, Kate and Victor. It would have been easy to have spent our time just in Worthing – but staying in your home on the edge of The Downs, really helped us to experience so much more. Town and country – we had the best of both worlds.

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