ZELLA COMPTON: Have you braved West Wittering yet? Is the sand worth it?

Which side of the fence do you sit on with the sand versus shingle debate?

Tuesday, 3rd July 2018, 9:00 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:02 pm
Summer in the sunshine at the West Wittering Beach Estate in West Sussex Picture: Derek Martin

Both have their bonuses as a beach, and both their drawbacks. You can’t lie back in comfort on shingle, but you don’t get sand in your bottom.

You can’t play badminton on shingle, but you don’t get sand in your bikini.

You look like a drunk zombie as you come in and out of the water on shingle, but at least the sand doesn’t chafe your thighs.

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I put away my fear of sand last weekend and headed to West Wittering for the first time in years, joining the other hundreds of people queuing at 8.30am to get a prime position on the sandiest beach in the south among the tents, umbrellas, mats, and carpets.

Seriously, packing for a day out got mega in the time it took my children to grow up.

The kit people had was insane – I kid you not, one family had brought their living room.

There were so many loungers in one tent I almost thought that they might be famous. Like a reality TV star of yester, yester year.

But we’ll never know as I walked by with my nose high in the air, my Sports Direct bag clutched firmly in one hand, a Lidl bag for life in the other.

For me and mine, a couple of towels swished out and we were set, feeling as if we were eating something fancy as we had a bunch of grapes and cherry tomatoes, plus true brand Pringles. But it’s not a contest, obviously.

We all paid our money to park and use the facilities, of hot sand, icy sea and awfully conscientious lifeguards on jetskis ushering us back to shore if we went deeper than our thighs.

West Wittering is a lovely day out if you can face the queues and the battle for space above the high tide mark, but I’m going to stay on the shingle side of the fence for the next decade because, although it was super, there is now sand everywhere in my house, including our nether regions.


My eldest daughter is currently enjoying a wonderful summer courtesy of the National Citizen Service (NCS) – the programme deigned to help teenagers become better citizens.

I’m all for it, as for a minimal amount of money she’s been off for a week to Devon at an activity centre, and is about to enjoy another week at a Hampshire-based centre, before spending two weeks raising money for charity and other worthwhile endeavours.

So far she’s overcome some pretty big fears, made new friends and come home exhausted but beaming from ear to ear.

With the cost being minimal – seriously – you might think that sending a teenager on this programme is too good to be true, but so far, this is the one time that the hype has lived up to the reality. Brilliant.


Summer like you’re Seven is such a great advert from Boots.

I love its simplicity as it shows summer actions from the perspective of a seven-year-old peeking into an adult’s world, while subtly selling the products to make summer run smoothly for us ladies.

That’s in the opinion of marketeers anyway, as I’m quite sure that if all women stopped shaving their legs, the planet would continue to turn.

Same as if we didn’t paint our nails, or do anything to our hair, but hey, this is the world we live in, as decorative baubles.

That said, from weddings to moments in the sea, the advert appeals to the nostalgia in me, the child who wanted to know how the world worked, and what was going on at all times.