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Saying goodbye to London

Swapping London for the beautiful Sussex Countryside!

When we decided to move down from London to Eastbourne to be closer to the paragliding sites, I had a lot of misgivings about our decision. I was worried that there wouldn’t be many things to do near the South Coast and that I would never get to see my friends back in London.

Actually, a lot of my misconceptions were proved wrong quite early on. It’s a lot more buzzy here than I expected. You still have to plan ahead and book a table for dinner, it’s still a nightmare to find a parking space on a sunny weekend day, and it can still get a bit loud and lairy on a Saturday night. Crucially, it is still possible to get an avocado-on-toast brunch and an al fresco Aperol spritz!

In addition, the countryside is beautiful, and it’s lovely to be just a few minutes’ walk from the sea.

I also realized that there’s plenty to do here. People wanting an active, adventurous weekend can kayak, paddle board, hike, sail, cycle, or venture out on a speedboat or jet ski. Or, of course, they can take to the skies and try paragliding, gliding, or flying a microlight.

Most importantly, I realized that we’re actually not far from London at all. If we want, and the M25 or Southern Rail is playing ball, we can be back there within a couple of hours.

It always used to make me smile when people defended their decision to live outside London by immediately telling you how quickly they could get back there. Now, I totally get it!

When I commute to Brighton on the train, most people’s conversations (yes, people down here actually speak to each other on public transport sometimes!) not only revolve around the weather but frequently touch on the pros and cons of travelling to and from “The Big Smoke.”

However, the talk of London daytrips is often cut short as we reach the section of track between Lewes and Glynde. Often, when you look out the window to Mt Caburn on one side or Firle Beacon on the other, you can see brightly coloured paragliding wings dotted in the skies.

People often announce their decision there and then to spend the next weekend in the local area, either going for a walk to the take-off site to see the paragliders up close or booking a tandem flight to give it a try themselves.

There will inevitably be a mention of a friend from London, Surrey, or Kent who has asked what it is they can see in the sky from “that bit of the A27 close to Glyndebourne.” Occasionally followed by the thought that said friend could even join them on their walk or flight at the weekend!