Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Hubby and I celebrated a day early because it was a really sunny day yesterday and we wanted to take advantage of the lovely weather and go for a walk. So we bundled up with our coats, scarves and gloves (it might have been sunny, but it was still a little nippy!) and headed out into the Suffolk countryside for a walk.We planned our walk around Framlingham Castle – Ed Sheeran’s ‘castle on the hill’ – so that we could take some photos of the stunning landmark in the winter sunshine. I’d been inspired to enjoy a low-cost day out after reading an article full of ideas for Valentine’s Day on a budget, so a walk (with a packed lunch!) was just the ticket. With it being half term (and a ‘Knights and Princesses’ event taking place inside the castle) it was a busy spot for a Monday morning, but all the other walkers we met were in good spirits. What I didn’t bargain for was just how muddy the paths around the picturesque mere would be. At least it gave us a chance to test out our new walking shoes – this terrain certainly put them through their paces. If my feet could stay comfortable and dry in this environment, then I’m pretty sure that the shoes will stand up to anything we throw at them in the future.
When my husband suggested walking around the castle moat, I was hesitant. I wasn’t planning on going for a paddle! He insisted that it was a ‘dry moat’ (well, I’ve never heard of a dry moat before, have you?!) so we climbed down the stairs and fair enough, it was pretty dry… as far as moats go.Interestingly enough, there were some lovely views from the moat looking up at the walls of the castle. It feels really imposing from below and the blue sky set off the stone castle walls beautifully. Even looking back into the sunshine created some really impressive silhouettes of the ancient walls.
Like I said, scrambling up slippery slopes, splashing through puddles and squelching along muddy paths was more than enough of a test for our new his ‘n’ hers walking shoes. We’d been searching for some suitable shoes for our Sunday rambles for a while, and after a lot of research I found these Karrimor shoes. Even though the boots and shoes in the Karrimor collection get the best reviews and are raved about by walkers, they’re not exactly the budget option. And you know what a thrifty girl I am, so I just couldn’t bring myself to invest £80 in a pair of hiking shoes. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found the exact shoes that hubby and I wanted for only £19.99 online at MandMDirect.com.Ours are kind-of his ‘n’ hers walking shoes, but without being too ‘matchy’. Mine are the Hatty low style in black and pink and the pair that I chose as a gift for my husband are the Meridian low shoes in black, brown and sea colours. Both pairs are weathertite, breathable, waterproof and multi-sport shoes, so they’ll be good for all kinds of activities as well as hiking on different terrains and in all weathers – even this squidgy sludge! We also wanted to take advantage of our English Heritage membership by checking out the castle itself, so we headed up the grand driveway and inside the castle walls. Inside we discovered an amazing new feature of the castle – a giant slide! Yes, glinting in the sunlight was the stainless steel tube of a huge tunnel slide, winding its way down from the top of the castle walls into the grounds.
The slide is a temporary attraction while a building project takes place at the castle. The building is being renovated at the moment, and the visitor centre is being improved, so a scaffolding staircase is the new access route to the top of the castle walls. The clever-clogs at English Heritage have made excellent use of the scaffolding by installing this epic slide at the same time. And the good news is that it’s not just for kids! Any age from 6 years+ can enjoy the experience.
I’m pretty sure that the best views in the county can be found in from the top of the castle. We got some beautiful photos of Framlingham College and the mere while we strolled around the castle walls. We also got a birds-eye view of the renovation work, a team were carefully brushing the stonework and repairing any pieces that needed tending to. It must be a difficult job for these stonemasons to complete, but I was pleased to see the building being cared for in this way, and what better place for your ‘office’ to be than at the top of the castle!
After a lovely long walk and a lot of photo-taking, we decided to rest on a rock and take in the view. And pretty soon after, our tummies started to rumble and we went off in search of a cafe for lunch. It was a perfect Valentine’s Day out and I wouldn’t have wanted anything more. Just hubby and I sat in the sunshine, looking at this view.How are you spending your day today? Are you enjoying a Galentine’s treat with your friends or are you planning something special with your other half? And have you ever found something you’ve been coveting for a while at a super-bargain price online, like me?! Let me know by leaving me a comment below. Hope you have a lovely day today, whatever you get up to and know that I’m sending lots of love your way on Valentine’s Day! 🙂