Canal Boating - Gran's 80th Birthday

Birthday Brunch on a Boat

This week has been full of surprises for this of us with a birthday!

I can’t help but feel a little mean for complaining to my Gran that I had no idea what I was doing for my birthday when I had played a part in putting her in the exact same position!

For the last few months my cousins and I have been putting together plans for her birthday. It was a big one so we knew that we needed to something special.


Gran's Birthday on a Boat

We ended up deciding on a canal boat trip along the River Wey with a spot of brunch. I’m glad my cousins decided not to tell her what we were doing on the drive to Farncombe Boat House so it stayed a surprise until we got there. She wasn’t even completely sure until we told her she could hop on board the Norseman.


Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat

After being given some thorough tuition on how to drive a narrow boat and how to operate the locks, we were on our own. I actually didn’t end up doing any driving but I was happy to watch. It was thoroughly entertaining whenever it went slightly wrong. Though I must say, we’re pretty lucky that the canal wasn’t too busy while we were on it.

Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat Gran's Birthday on a Boat

With it being such a nice day, it’s easy to see why people live on canal boats and enjoy them. I’m not sure I could go on a narrow boating holiday for a week but I’d definitely like to do something like this again.

Cruising the River Wey

Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat

We were going for around an hour and a half, so around halfway to Guildford (which is 15 minutes away by car) before stopping for a brunch of scrambled eggs, guacamole, bagels and croissants. I was really surprised by the facilities offered on the boat. Farncombe Boat House actually provided us with everything we needed, including cooking utensils, a kettle and washing-up liquid.

Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat

We only ended up spending half the day on the boat because we had to get back to my uncle’s house for the rest of the festivities but it was plenty of time to enjoy the river. The main thing was that we wanted our Gran to enjoy it and I think she really did.

Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat

Aside from getting bitten by a swan – which at least was a funny story to tell – it was such a fun way to spend the morning.

Gran's Birthday on a Boat
Gran's Birthday on a Boat

Midweek Birthday Mini-Break

Margate Mini-Break

It’s been a busy few days filled with birthday celebrations and happiness. If the last couple of days are anything to go by, 27 is going to be a good age to be. 🙌

My birthday surprise was just that, a complete surprise. I must admit that I did spend a little time stressing about where we were going but it all worked out in the end. Moon rocked up to my mum’s house in the morning and then let loose that we’d be heading the Margate for an overnight stay – super exciting!

Margate Birthday Mini-Break

After seeing Margate’s Dreamland on TV and Moon actually meeting Wayne Hemingway a year or so ago, I was excited to take in a proper British seaside mini-break.

We were so lucky with the weather, you just can’t beat a bit of the English seaside when the sun is shining. ☀️

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

There’s so much to see and do in Margate that it’s understandable why it looks to be making a comeback. From Dreamland to the Turner Contemporary Gallery, as well as a ton of beautiful independent shops and its very own Shell Grotto! Margate is great for a walk along the sands or going further into the town to explore.

Dreamland with my Dreamboat 🎡

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Dreamland reminded me so much of Secret Cinema’s Back to the Future, except better. Firstly, everything is incredibly affordable, with rides ranging from £1-5 (or unlimited rides for £15) and secondly, it’s all real! The branding of the theme park is really something special, thoughtfully putting together beautiful bold fonts with perfect pastel colours. It’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Due to slightly pigging out with a picnic lunch, we were feeling a little too fragile to go on some of the wilder rides. That said, we still made it up the big wheel – which has great views as far as the eye can see of Margate and beyond. Unfortunately the Scenic Railway wasn’t running when we went but as it’s the oldest running rollercoaster in the UK, it’s certainly on my list for a return trip.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

I couldn’t get over how pretty everything at Dreamland was, it was a bit ridiculous how well it had all been thought through. Right down to the staff t-shirts, which had us green with envy – hoping they’ll make them available in the gift shop soon!

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

We read in a guidebook in our hotel that Dreamland has brought a lot of money back to the area, and we could see why. It’s really unassuming from the outside but opens up to this great public space, I have real hopes that it’s going to work out.

My birthday meal was spent enjoying rum cocktails and eating delicious Caribbean food at Mullins Brasserie. No pictures unfortunately, but a great atmosphere and we’re ready to try Caribbean pepper pot again real soon.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Secret Underground Shell Grotto 🐚

Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Our second day in Margate was opened with glorious sunshine again. After finishing up breakfast at our hotel we popped everything back in the car before wandering over to The Shell Grotto.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Discovered by a father and son in the 1830s and believed to be some kind of smuggler’s passage, The Shell Grotto is just that, an underground tunnel covered in shells. There are lots of neat different designs, and it’s crazy to think that despite being well lit now, it would have been completely dark when it was first discovered. It didn’t take too long to get around but the gift shop was really good and it was really interesting to see the different shell designs and shell work.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Old Town

Shopping in Old Town is a must in Margate. There are so many good independent vintage shops and galleries. Unfortunately, a lot of Margate town centre is kind of uninspired with quite a few charity shops and pound shops, but with a little exploring there are so many hidden gems to be found.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside 🌊 🐙

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

We rounded up our trip with a trip to the Turner Contemporary followed by a walk along the stone pier before spot of lunch at Buoy & Oyster.

Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break
Margate Birthday Mini-Break

It was such a treat to spend the middle of the week by the seaside pottering around with my favourite person. It made my birthday a very happy one indeed. 😘