7 places to enjoy a staycation in Sussex
PUBLISHED: 11:02 07 September 2015 | UPDATED: 15:45 21 February 2018
With all that Sussex has to offer, there is really no need to go anywhere else – although that is very nice too, of course! Jenny Mark-Bell shares her suggestions for magical mini-breaks, from touring in a vintage caravan to living in the lap of luxury on the edge of Ashdown Forest
This is a bit of a hidden gem. If you’ve regularly travelled through the Cuilfail tunnel you might be rather amazed to learn that directly atop the hill there is tranquil, beautiful partially earth-sheltered accommodation.
The eco-credentials are impressive; the house is powered by 32 solar panels with a biomass boiler for heat and hot water. Rooms come equipped with a plethora of gadgets, including Smart TV and remote control blinds (although be warned, you won’t wish to shut out the views of Lewes stretching out beneath you).
Owner Amy is a warm and welcoming host, engagingly enthusiastically about the community and ecology. Her love for her own dogs means that your own quadrupeds will have as much holiday fun as you. There is even a dog-washing station, a distinct boon to owners of mudlarks like mine!
The house has a cosy and well-equipped communal living area where guests gather for breakfast – their beautiful and delicious Smoothie Bowls provide a nutritious and enlivening start to the day.
Skyhouse is well located for exploration – the lovely Snowdrop Inn is just at the bottom of the hill, and if you fancy more of a wander, Lewes has some wonderful eating and drinking establishments to explore.
White Horse, Chilgrove
Beautifully situated in the heart of the sweeping South Downs, this characterful bed and breakfast accommodation is set around a quiet courtyard to the rear of the main pub. In keeping with the contemporary country theme, rooms are named after game birds and furnished with sumptuous sheepskin and quirky vintage furnishings. The food at the pub is excellent, and the bar is popular with locals. On Sunday afternoons live jazz accompanies your lunch; there’s even a Nyetimber and lobster van available for hire for special events.
Arun Valley Campers, Amberley
It’s a scientific impossibility to be miserable in a vintage VW campervan, due in part to the cheery waves you get from fellow campers. The three vans (Henry, 1967; Buttercup, 1972; and Meric, 1974) have been lovingly restored and contain everything you need for a short camping holiday, with fridge, sink and hob, and will happily – if intimately – sleep four.
Amberley is the perfect place to begin your tour of West Sussex too; the scenic route will begin before you’ve even picked up the keys!
Rates: peak time (June to September) weeks £695, weekends £375.
The Grand, Brighton
Its Victorian edifice an iconic sight on Brighton seafront, The Grand provides the quintessential British seaside escape.
Suites enjoy beautiful sea views, and some even have a cheeky bathtub in the bedroom - the décor is cool and contemporary throughout.
Food from GB1 seafood restaurant is excellent, and served in the splendour of a marble and chrome dining room that would make Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald feel quite at home.
There is a quite beautiful spa offering bespoke natural treatments which is even more tempting if you are staying with a group – there’s a peaceful communal relaxation room and the option to have simultaneous nail treatments.
The Bell, Ticehurst
From the delectable food (the chef used to be at J Sheekey’s in the West End) to the quirky taxidermy and literary history, The Bell provides the perfect place for a romantic getaway. You can enjoy an al fresco drink in the charming garden lit by lanterns, before repairing to your room in the main building, or a lodge to the rear of the courtyard. Rooms are beautifully equipped, with blissful roll-top baths and thoughtful details like a sweet treat waiting for you on arrival. The hand-made Somnus mattress is pretty excellent too.
Alexander House, near East Grinstead
This luxurious hotel, conveniently located for the Wealden wonders of Ashdown Forest, certainly has the wow-factor. In the 19 new Cedar Lodge suites, accommodation is set over two floors, with a private terrace or balcony. Spa suites have either an oversize bath tub – big enough for two – or a rain/steam shower. There is also complete access to the fabulous Utopia Spa.
There’s a helipad too, if by any chance you should need it.
Wowo Sheffield Park, near Uckfield
A lovely family campsite with yurts and shepherds’ huts available if you don’t want to pitch your own tent. There are three main camping fields and a woodland area they call the Tipi Trail.
Campfires and music are encouraged, and you can also book exciting workshops like foraging and bushcraft, to ensure all members of the party fully embrace the countryside setting. Most dogs are welcome on leads but do check the website as there are exceptions.
Rates: weekends (Friday and Saturday) £25 per pitch, adults £20 and children £10 for two nights.