Living in Brighton we are very lucky to be just a few sailing hours (4 to be precise, on the ferry from Newhaven) from the coast of Normandy and the port of Dieppe. In itself, Dieppe is a sweet place to visit, with its delicious chocolate shops, a visit to the surprisingly cheap sportswear superstore ‘Decathalon’ and also to stock up on tasty Normandy Cider and even stop for the traditional Moules Frites in one of the many harbour restaurants. But as a gardener I would say the hinterland is an even greater excuse to indulge in a weekend escape. With it’s quiet roads and wonderful Chateaus and gardens all within a 15 – 20 minute drive from the port, you can hardly believe it is all so close to home.
Our main focus destination was the tranquil gardens of Le Bois de Moutiers. The house, designed by Edwin Lutyens, is closed to the public but nevertheless fascinating to look at from the outside. The gardens, designed by Gertrude Jekyll are worthy of a gentle stroll around with many different areas to enjoy. We were virtually the only visitors there at the time we went too, which made it feel even more special.
It was also great to see the garden bench designed originally by Lutyens but copied many time since with staggeringly poor proportions compared to the original design.
Another discovery along the coast westwards, is a small village called Veules-les-Roses. I won’t go into any more detail but to say this is definitely worth a visit too.