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YHA South Downs YHA

UK England East Sussex Lewes

Itford Farm Beddingham Near Lewes East Sussex BN8 6JS

The perfect eco- and walking-friendly hostel, easily reachable by train and bang on the South Downs Way.

This flagship hostel, opened in 2013 by the Queen no less, is really rather lovely. Converted from an old Sussex farmhouse, the buildings spread out higgeldy piggeldy around a central courtyard edged by borders of wild flowers. Common areas are spick and modern, and overall it has the look of a particularly inviting boutique hotel, with a comfy lounge, a scrummy café that serves food all day and a cosy bar.

The rooms themselves house 66 beds divided between multi-bedded dorms and private and family rooms, some of which are en-suite, plus there is the option of glamping in their (3- or 4-berth) purpose-built heated wooden pods or bell tents, all of which have access to the hostel's facilities, or camping on selected days and weekends throughout the summer. There's also a licensed bar, lounge, a cycle store, a laundry room with a coin-operated washing machines and tumble dryers and a separate drying room with plenty of hanging space. 

But the real bonus is the hostel’s great location in the heart of the South Downs National Park, right on the South Downs Way long-distance footpath. Just a short stroll from Southease Railway station, it's also extremely easy to reach by public transport – surrounded by rolling hills and in its own extensive grounds, you can simply tune in, drop out and leave the car keys at home. From the doorstep, you can puff your way uphill to Firle Beacon, for fabulous Downland views, before dropping down to The Ram in pretty Firle village for lunch; or head west over the River Ouse to visit Virginia Woolf’s old home in Rodmell. And if walking sounds like too much hard work, you can hop on a train and be in Lewes in 10 minutes or Brighton in 20 minutes. It's also just an hour and a half from London – all in all a fabulous budget retreat in some of the most spectacular countryside in southeast England.

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