One of the great joys of living in England is the setting. Just down the road from us, there is this beautiful little town complete with medieval castle, winding river, historical ruins, museum, riverside walks, ducks and swans. It has something for everyone – playground, walks, shops, cafes, ice cream, restaurants, art galleries, antiques, churches, some really lovely independent shops, and it’s the home of Arundel Wetlands Centre. Yes, it’s Arundel, West Sussex!

Arundel is one of my favorite places in the UK to go for a day out, a family picnic, to shop, to visit during their festival and fete seasons or to simply meet up with friends for dinner. Did I mention they also have an outdoor swimming pool? It’s very rare to find one of these in England!

On Saturday evening we went to Arundel to celebrate the Fourth of July as a British/American family. It’s important to me to recognize holidays and celebrations that are American so my children will grow up understanding them and remembering them. It’s a tough task for several reasons – the main one being that American holidays are not celebrated in the UK. So you lose out on the build-up, the excitement, the parades/fireworks/parties and also the national holiday day off of school and work. But, never mind, we do the best we can and enjoy it even though it’s not officially a holiday in the UK. I’m so thankful that many of my British friends took the time to wish me a Happy 4th of July. That’s really lovely.

This time last year, my parents were here visiting from South Carolina. We miss them so much! It was the first time since 1993 that I celebrated the 4th of July with other Americans. I remember I took my parents to Arundel for a day out and they also really liked it. So much fun to share my now home country and surroundings with them. That’s the thing about living a life outside the country you grew up in – you may miss out on some things, but you definitely gain so much more and not just for yourself, but for your loved ones too.

ArundelLast year at Arundel festival

burgers and beer in ArundelThis year’s 4th of July celebration at The Loft, Sparks Yard, Arundel

4th of July

arundel UKFeeding the ducks in Arundel, just below the castle walls

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Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits and co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs with Heidi Mulligan Walker. Meghan is also the Director and Chief Designer at her own design company, White Ochre Design Ltd. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.