Two rustic, historic inns nestled in two idyllic East Sussex villages; Withyham and Ticehurst. Stay at one or stay at both. This pair provides perfect bases for exploring the surrounding area. Driving time between the inns is 31 minutes.
Pairing notes: Country, Rustic charm, Walking, Heritage, Romantic, Great food
Be wowed by the eclectic décor, the quirky bedrooms and the hearty seasonal food at this 16th-century bolthole in a thriving Sussex village.
The Bell in Ticehurst is a cracking community pub and dining destination and a fabulous and offbeat place to stay. There's plenty of delight and inspire: original sagging beams ooze historic charm, modern art beckons from the walls, lampshades are adorned with bowler hats and books are stacked from floor-to-ceiling. Add to this an array of 1930s suitcases, stuffed taxidermy and vintage typewriters, and you have a quirky aesthetic that's bound to amuse.
Estate owned treasure deep in the Ashdown Forest with traditional charm, menus brimming with estate produce and gorgeous rooms in the refurbished old schoolhouse.
The Dorset Arms is set back from the road in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, the distinctive Dorset Arms dates to 1595 and forms part of the Buckhurst Estate. Recently restored, the inn retains the charm of a traditional pub with an emphasis on offering quality food prepared from local and seasonal produce, much of it sourced from the Estate itself. The interior oozes period and traditional charm - expect stripped beams, a wood floor, scrubbed tables, cushioned wall benches and a blazing log fire in the welcoming bar.
East Sussex is home to stunning public gardens, such as Pashley Manor Gardens in Ticehurst (pictured below). Enjoy English landscaping at its finest, with lovely old trees, fountains and ponds, with the unusual Grade I-Listed, timber-framed Tudor/Georgian manor house as a backdrop.
Or, head to the iconic Great Dixter House & Gardens, for many years the much-loved home of the renowned gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd. One of Great Dixter's most striking features is the magnificent Great Hall, the largest surviving timber-framed hall in the country.
Withyham lies at the heart of the glorious Ashdown Forest making it a perfect spot for nature lovers. Exploring this vast area of attractive heathland and oak and birch woodland takes you to Pooh Bridge, the Five Hundred Acre Wood and many other landmarks associated with AA Milne's famous children's books about Winnie-the-Pooh. Elsewhere there's plenty of good walking to be had - including scenic stretches of the Sussex Border Path and the High Weald Landscape Trail.
Experience the great era of steam travel at the Bluebell Railway and enjoy the sights that greet you along the line between Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, where you'll find a beautiful 120-acre garden close to the station. Created by 'Capability' Brown, the garden is famed for its spring flowering rhododendrons and dazzling autumnal colours.
When exploring East Sussex, don't miss the stunning Charleston House and Garden. Virginia Woolf spotted this remote settlement on the South Downs while out walking one day in 1916; Charlesto sincen became the home and country meeting place for the writers and artists of the Bloomsbury group. The Bloomsbury artists painted furniture, ceramics, and murals, which can be seen at the house from March to November, along with a collection of paintings by Picasso, Derain, Sickert and Delacroix.