Situated on the edge of the Sussex Downs, tucked away in a beautiful woodland location, it would be hard to find a more bucolic yet accessible country retreat than Lydhurst. A set of self-catering cottages on a family-owned country estate in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's a very special place to stay, owned and run by Amber and Adrian Baillie, who live nearby and are passionate about this part of Sussex: Warninglid village is a short walk away and has an excellent pub, and the cottages here are a perfect place to unwind and make the most of nature, with walks galore through ancient woodland on multiple footpaths. What a stroke of luck Amber and Adrian decided to share it with the rest of us!
There's a variety of accommodation dotted around the 400-acre estate, each in a peaceful, secluded location, and no expense has been spared on providing all the cottages with the best modern touches: among other things, the three largest cottages have smart TVs, and they all have good wifi, Roberts digital radios, underfloor heating in the bathrooms, big Smeg fridges, Nespresso machines and bluetooth speakers. But they have plenty of character too. The listed 16th-century Farmhouse sleeps eight in four bedrooms and has gloriously wonky floors and an elegant, historic feel in a very secluded setting. There are two well-equipped bathrooms upstairs, a big open-plan kitchen with an Aga and a comfy sitting room with a wood-burning stove, while outside there is a barbecue, a large enclosed garden and even a small orchard.
Not far from the farmhouse, at the end of a tiny lane, flanked by woods and fields, Stonedelph Cottages each sleep 4 and 5 respectively, and you can rent them individually or together. The decor of one is inspired by Bloomsbury and is all arts-and-crafts wallpaper and vintage furniture – very Sussex! – while the other is Scandinavian rustic: ultra-cosy, with original floorboards, a wood-burning stove and a lovely, well-tended garden. Nearby, the Mission House is a converted Victorian church hall and school house: with four bedrooms and a wet room downstairs, it's perfect for wheelchair-users, plus there's an upstairs bedroom with a four-poster and free-standing bath. There's another wood-burner in the large sitting room, which is furnished with church pews and other eccentric touches – a perfect place for a party. Finally there's the wisteria-clad Aunt's House across the way, whose generous proportions encompass five en-suite bedrooms, a wonderful kitchen-diner and a light and spacious sitting room – plus there is a brace of shepherd's huts back near the farmhouse, which sleep two couples in cosy comfort.
But enough with the details. These are ultra-comfortable places to stay, beautifully and sensitively furnished throughout; they have everything you need the owners are great, and they even have a tennis court and games room for guests to use, equipped with vintage table tennis table, pool and darts. However, what we like best about Lydhurst is its peaceful location and the fact that despite being right -up-to-date these cottages are totally in tune with their gorgeous country setting. You couldn't imagine a better place from which to explore this part of Sussex – on foot, by bike or by car – or indeed a nicer spot to properly unwind in the countryside. Yet you are only an hour from London and less and than half an hour from Brighton. We think that's pretty special.
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