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Journalist and presenter Natalie Graham on how she spends her free time in Sussex

PUBLISHED: 16:46 13 October 2014 | UPDATED: 12:06 03 November 2017

©BBC– Matthew Wheeler

©BBC– Matthew Wheeler

©BBC, Photo – Matthew Wheeler

BBC news journalist and Inside Out South East presenter Natalie Graham is Sussex born and bred and loves the sea, the Downs and the culture. Here she tells us how she spends her free time

Natalie lives in Seaford with her family: partner James Trollope, children Katie (12) and Tom (10) and dog Boris. When she’s not working, she enjoys walking Boris in the surrounding countryside. “One of the best things about living here is we can walk along the seafront and be up on the cliffs overlooking the Seven Sisters within 20 minutes of leaving the house. From there we go down to Cuckmere Haven, up the western bank of the famous snaking river (always much quieter than the eastern side) and back to the seafront via the golf course.” There she is well-placed to indulge in another of her hobbies; sea swimming. Natalie has also recently joined the Newhaven and Seaford Sailing Club, so she will be spending even more time enjoying the water.

After a bracing stroll and if the family’s in need of sustenance, they’ll visit a country pub: “We’re spoilt for choice in the countryside around Seaford but our favourite is the Rose Cottage Inn at Alciston for the small cosy bar, great comfort food and the landlord who tolerates our badly-behaved dog.” For restaurant dining, Alfriston’s Wingrove House comes highly recommended, but if there are children in tow, “Gino’s is one of Seaford’s best kept secrets – a friendly, family-run Italian.”

Natalie says she couldn’t live without her friends, “who are difficult to gather together but always worth the effort...”. Her preferred option for a special occasion would be assembling a large group to camp at Wapsbourne Farm (aka Wowo), near Sheffield Park, for an evening spent sitting round the campfire. “It’s set in a beautiful part of Mid Sussex and we all enjoy going there and switching off from the modern world. The children love playing in the woods and streams, I love lying in my tent and hearing the sound of steam trains on the Bluebell Railway!”

It’s not just her work life that is hectic: Natalie clearly likes to keep busy. She recently joined her local choral society but enjoys being on the other side of the footlights too, being a regular audience member at the Congress in Eastbourne. Recently, she’s enjoyed Noises Off and Singing in the Rain. “The panto at the Connaught in Worthing (where I grew up) is an annual tradition too – the old jokes are always the best in my view!” Watching television might seem like a busman’s holiday; not so, says Natalie. “We’ve joined the box set brigade and found Breaking Bad more than lived up to the hype. We’re looking forward to the final season of Mad Men and all four of us love Modern Family – it’s the perfect comedy.”

Despite a successful career as a BBC newsreader and now presenter, Natalie has never lost sight of her roots. Her favourite view remains Seaford Head: “It’s like a giant bookend at one end of Seaford Bay and when I see it I know I’m home. 
Sitting on the beach and watching the white chalk glow as the sun goes down never gets boring.”

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