Perfect Picnic: Hadleigh Castle

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Ben and I really love going on picnics. We pick a spot, pop into Marks & Spencer on the way there to buy a couple of supplies, and head out with our trusty blanket that we bought in Dublin.

On the train we catch to London, we often look out the window just as we’re passing Leigh-on-Sea, and look at the beautiful old ruins of Hadleigh Castle. It has an incredibly interesting history, and is open to the public, so we decided to visit the spot this past weekend. We certainly weren’t disappointed – it was absolutely gorgeous up there! The ruins that were once the castle are based on a hill over-looking the gorgeous coastal landscape, and the place itself is only a short walk from Hadleigh.

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It was a gorgeous day out, the sun was shining (Summer is slowly creeping closer to the UK!) and we spent a glorious couple of hours lying on our blanket, meeting new furry dog friends and gobbling down our yummy snacks. There were loads of families with children playing games and many people had brought their dogs with them for the day.

Where: Hadleigh Castle, Essex (London)

How to get there: 
Bus Service: Arriva service 1 & 5 (We used this to get to Hadleigh and then walked a short way from the bus stop near a little church.)
Train Service: Catch a train from Fenchurch street in London to Leigh-on-Sea (about 45 minutes). From there it’s 1 & a half miles by a footpath.
On Foot: Walk down from A13 (See map below)

Map:

Fun Facts: 
• Hadleigh Castle was built by King John in 1215
• 100 Years later, Edward III was the first king to see the strategic importance of Hadleigh Castle – it was ideally situated as a base for defending the Thames estuary against French raids during the Hundred Years War.
• After King Edward died, his successors took little interest in it.
• In 1551 it was sold to Lord Riche, who sold it off as building materials. He built a hearth in the middle of the great hall to melt down the valuable lead windows.
• William Booth purchased Hadleigh Castle and its surrounding site in 1891 for the use of the Salvation Army. In fact, you still walk through the Salvation Army farm to get to the castle – look out for the biggest sheep you’ve ever seen.
• The Salvation Army gave the castle to the Ministry of Works in 1948, and it is now owned by English Heritage, classed as a scheduled monument and a Grade 1 listed building.

What we brought along: 
• Mexican Style chicken slices
• Italian Deli Antipasti selection
• Hand Cooked Vegetable chips
• Deli Piquillo Pepper Dip
• Box of Assorted crackers
• Crispy Unsmoked bacon strips
• British Cheddar cheese
• Cheese stuffed with cranberries
• Goat’s cheese
• General Baybel cheese

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