Posted on 18 January 2019
Hey fossil-fans, we have our own Jurassic Park in Sussex! The coast near Hastings has been very popular with fossil-hunters for a long time – significant dinosaur bones have been found there in the past - but it's been in the news again recently. It seems that over the past four years cliff erosion between Hastings and Fairlight has revealed a huge number of very detailed dinosaur footprints from the early Cretaceous period. Some are more than half a metre long, with incredibly detailed markings of skin, scales and claws, and they're thought to be from species including ankylosaurus and iguanodon (see how those tripped off my tongue - impressive, eh?).
Posted on 8 January 2019
Sussex hosts loads of running events, from family fun-runs to 10ks, half and full marathons (not for the faint-hearted - Three Forts Challenge or Beachy Head, anyone?) and on different terrain, from Wealden woodland to the rolling South Downs and the coast (try the 1066 Road Relay between Pevensey and Rye). If you're taking part, book your holiday cottage here to relax afterwards!
Meanwhile, some Park Runs near the Sussex seaside to whet your appetite...
Posted on 4 January 2019
Celebrate Sussex produce in style – what's more, all these events are in glorious places that you'll love to visit. Our seaside and country cottages are perfectly placed to sample the best of Sussex food and drink. Tuck in!
Posted on 18 December 2018
Rottingdean: here between the sea and the South Downs Enid Bagnold wrote National Velvet, in a house once lived in by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones. National Velvet's the iconic tale of a girl who wins a horse in a raffle, disguises herself as a boy and wins the Grand National. The film raced Elizabeth Taylor to stardom and you can go racing in Sussex too – try Brighton, Fontwell or Plumpton.
Posted on 7 December 2018
You'll find some brilliant castles in and near Sussex - I've picked a few favourites for every season. We might not be able to offer you a castle to stay in but they're a great day out from our gorgeous country cottages!
Posted on 1 December 2018
Tourist attractions can be frustrating: you arrive to find the car park miles away, steep steps and narrow corridors. Sound familiar? Well, why not try these accessible Sussex attractions? And there are plenty more!
Posted on 27 November 2018
Did you hear about the world's first brewery being found in a cave in Israel? Archaeologists found residues of 13,000-year-old beer but the report didn't say whether they tasted it; even for well-aged wine that might be pushing it.
Posted on 16 November 2018
View the Declaration of Independence Royal-watchers, historians and Americans, have I got news for you! Did you know that Sussex has the only other parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence outside Washington DC?
Posted on 5 November 2018
Do you love Christmas and New Year or is it all a bit much? Are you dreading cooking the obligatory huge dinner, worrying about accommodating all the relatives who want to visit or just wishing for some peace and quiet after a busy year?
Posted on 2 November 2018
Those of you visiting Brighton & Hove this autumn might come across a trail of snails. Large, beautifully designed snails, all decorated by local artists. And you might have seen, or even joined in, a walk led by local resident Norman Cook, aka DJ Fatboy Slim, that took in each and every snail.
Posted on 30 October 2018
Have you heard an owl lately? This is the time of year I associate with starting to hear them, and it's always magical to spot one flying in our local woods, or hunting low over the fields. But I've never seen an owl chick in the wild, so it's wonderful to hear that five barn owl chicks were born this summer at Woods Mill, the headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust. This is particularly exciting as they hadn't bred there for several years. It won't be long now before they fly off to start their adult lives – how time flies! Some experts think the parents actually chase them away. But they tend to stay within 10 miles, which is great news for the Sussex barn owl population. SWT is hoping to set up a barn-owl cam next year, so fingers crossed.
Posted on 16 October 2018
Sussex wines keep on winning awards. Sparkling whites are a regional speciality but there's so much more: you'll find long-established vineyards alongside new ventures in this beautiful part of Southeast England. We've picked five for you to try – but we'll raise a glass to all of them!
Posted on 12 October 2018
Something ghoulish for Hallowe'en half term, anyone? I've been exploring the creepy side of Sussex so you can head for the best family attractions. Whoooo! To my mind it doesn't get much more ghoulish than the True Crime Museum in Hastings. There's a Hallowe'en Murder Mystery Mind Bender all week, an evening True Crime Walk on 30th, plus curator's talks and all the regular exhibits. And if you need a walk to blow away the cobwebs afterwards, it's right on the seafront.
Posted on 1 October 2018
Fancy a round of golf? From top courses to somewhere the family can have a go, if you're staying in a Sussex holiday cottage there's almost certainly a golf course nearby. I can't pretend to be an expert golfer, but I can be certain that Sussex golf courses are set in beautiful countryside, whether they're high up on the South Downs, nestled into Wealden woodland or beside the sea.
Posted on 28 September 2018
When you bring your dog on holiday you'll expect a warm welcome for the whole family – two legs and four. Sussex countryside is fabulous for dog-walking: from the Weald woodland, across the rolling South Downs to the seaside the scenery is pretty hard to beat. But you'll want to stop for refreshment, so we asked some friendly dog-walkers to recommend their favourite tea shops.
Posted on 10 September 2018
Paddleboarding is a fast-growing sport – everyone's having a go. They say if you can walk upstairs you can have a go, whatever your age, though if you're going to try it in deep water you should be able to swim. Start with lessons on a nice big, wide board for extra stability, then move on to something smaller and faster if you like. Make waves!
Posted on 4 September 2018
Want to drive a supercar or glide over the beautiful South Downs? How about a widlife safari or fun on mini quad bikes? Lots of amazing days out and adventures are waiting for you in beautiful Sussex.
Posted on 1 September 2018
Sussex has plenty of events in September so you won't be short of things to do on your self-catering holiday. With the kids back at school it's quieter and more laid-back, while the weather should still be lovely for days out.
Posted on 28 August 2018
Last month a starstruck friend spotted the Hollywood actress Annette Bening at Hope Gap, near Seaford. And it turns out the movie she's filming there is called... Hope Gap. For those of you visiting Sussex, Hope Gap is the point where, if you're walking along the Seven Sisters at low tide, you can take in a stretch of beach. It's a pretty spot in a beautiful area where the walking, the picnic places, the sea views and the countryside behind it are simply stunning – a truly magical combination.
Posted on 7 August 2018
Summer holidays are here, and I'm ahead of the game. I've been sea-swimming in Sussex through June and July and plan to enjoy the coast through August too.
Posted on 3 August 2018
I'm busy doing nothing. How decadent is that? But while Sussex has loads of attractions and things to do on holiday, sometimes it's good to just sit back and relax. A sunny weekend in a cottage garden, a stroll through some shady woodland, a cold Sussex beer or two... it's idyllic. When it's really hot we all need shade.
Posted on 30 July 2018
Festivals are top of the list in summer, and Sussex has some excellent ones. But in all the excitement it's easy to overlook one time-honoured tradition - the village fete. And July is the ideal month to catch one.
Posted on 23 July 2018
Here's a Sussex tradition to raise a smile: clog-dancing! Actually it's not specifically Sussex but it certainly is alive and well here, and it's great fun. Though I should add it's also a serious matter for those who take part... I'm getting into hot water here, aren't I?
The tradition of clog dancing started around the Industrial Revolution, when people who worked in the cotton and textile mills wore chunky wood-soled shoes because of all the water sloshing around underfoot.
Posted on 16 July 2018
Reading AA Milne poems to a young relative lately reminded me of one of the best family days out in the Ashdown Forest - a visit to the Poohsticks Bridge. How can any Pooh Bear fan, of any age, resist?
The bridge itself is surprisingly small but you can just imagine how secret it must have felt to a small child who lived and played there. You will most likely be sharing it with other visitors but that's half the fun and, after all, gives plenty of scope for playing Poohsticks.
Posted on 6 July 2018
We've just seen some lovely pictures of a mother stoat moving her 10 kits across the salt marsh at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. She carefully carried each one in her mouth to their new nest - that's dedication for you. I think if you visit the Discovery Centre you might get a closer look.
But we've spent a fair bit of time in East Sussex lately, so I was delighted to take a day trip to check on some of our properties towards Hampshire and the West Sussex border.
Posted on 23 June 2018
Cyclists in Sussex, I've been hearing a cuckoo lately and it made me think of you. That's a good thing, honestly - have you tried the Cuckoo Trail? It follows an old railway called the Cuckoo Line and would make a lovely day out from your holiday cottage near Eastbourne.
Posted on 13 June 2018
English hedgerows are at their best in June, and Sussex has its fair share of beauties. Are you looking for typically English scenery, those chocolate-box images you'd see on greetings cards and postcards? You'll find it here and it's just a short hop from the Channel Tunnel or London, with excellent transport connections yet you'll feel you're miles from anywhere.
Posted on 10 June 2018
I've been having some fun re-reading a visitor satisfaction survey from Rye from a few years ago. I loved the fact that while 89% said the visit to Rye had met their expectations, another 10% said their expectations were exceeded. A few were disappointed by traffic and weather (we'd help if we could!) but particular 'likes' included the olde-worlde atmosphere, the architecture and the quaint buildings. The scenic environment and historic sites nearby were among top reasons for visiting Rye.
Posted on 8 June 2018
Calling keen walkers! Have you tried the South Downs Way Annual Walk? As I write there are only a few places left this year (8-16 June), but if you've missed out this time then do book ahead for 2019 and take a year to whet your appetite.
Posted on 6 June 2018
So we have a Duke and Duchess of Sussex! About time: Sussex hasn't had its own duke for over 200 years. Bizarrely, we do have the Duke of Norfolk's seat (that's his residence to you and me, namely Arundel Castle); British titles can be very confusing.
Posted on 30 May 2018
Make history in 1066 Country
The Bayeux Tapestry is set to visit England, but where will it stay? Battle Abbey would surely be appropriate and has been mooted as a possible site, though I gather it would require the building of a new extension or gallery - but they have a few years to sort it out as the details of this historic cultural exchange are still in development.
Posted on 9 May 2018
Prepare to be awed and challenged. See things you enjoy, things you'd never thought of. Some art, of whatever genre, is about beauty and aesthetics while some is about testing our ideas. Prepare to join in, too - that's half the fun, especially for kids.
Posted on 30 April 2018
A warm welcome to Sussex! I'd like to highlight some of the many attractions in this area of Southeast England. We at Amberley House Cottages all live and work in Sussex and - or because - we love it, so we hope you will too.
Posted on 19 April 2018
So much to do in Sussex - and now the sun is shining make the most of it!
Posted on 11 April 2018
Britain's Best Walking Neighbourhood is in Sussex, Hastings in fact and we're big fans of this quirky seaside town too...
Posted on 6 April 2018
It's that time of year again! Tickets on sale for Glyndebourne 2018!
Posted on 27 March 2018
Shipwrecks, quicksands and a prehistoric forest - take a tour and discover a fascinating history of coastal Sussex.
Posted on 23 March 2018
Have you been watching Britain At Low Tide? We found the Sussex programme fascinating...
Posted on 19 March 2018
The spectacular gardens at Leonardslee have been closed to the public since 2010, we can't wait until they open (albeit delayed) later this year..
Posted on 6 March 2018
Did you know the rare fen raft spider can be found in Sussex? Read on to find out more...
Posted on 26 February 2018
Sussex is full of historic houses, whether you visit one or stay in one history in Sussex is a living thing.
Posted on 13 February 2018
No need to drive to take a holiday in Sussex, we've plenty of holiday cottages that you can explore by bus, train, foot or even two wheels.
Posted on 5 February 2018
If romance is on your mind look no further than a cosy cottage for two in Sussex....
Posted on 18 January 2018
Sussex is great for wildlife spotting - come visit and see what you encounter...
Posted on 12 January 2018
The Kingdom of Sussex goes back to 497 - No wonder you'll find history around every corner...
Posted on 3 January 2018
Recharge with a Sussex break in 2018
Posted on 22 December 2017
A Mummers' Play? What, Where and Why can you find them in Sussex at this time of year?
Posted on 19 December 2017
What's On in Sussex Over Christmas and New Year.
Posted on 11 December 2017
Whether you're looking for peace and quiet or a 'knees up' Sussex is the perfect destination for Christmas or New Year - allowing you to do things your way - whatever they are!
Posted on 6 December 2017
Whether you like your winter break to be on the active side or you're happy to support from the sofa - a Sussex holiday cottage has options for both this winter.
Posted on 28 November 2017
Can we take the historic buildings of Sussex for granted? Our latest blog looks at just a few of the many churches, stately homes, cottages and earthworks scattered all across Sussex.
Posted on 16 November 2017
Ice rinks pop up all across Sussex over the winter - here are some of the places where you can recreate your favourite 'Dancing on Ice' moves.....
Posted on 7 November 2017
Forest Bathing - a new phrase for something we've been doing for years, find out more in our latest blog...
Posted on 2 November 2017
Remember the 5th of November? We're blogging about the origins of 'Guy Fawkes' or 'Bonfire Night' and where to catch the action in Sussex.
Posted on 31 October 2017
Discover Sussex and the notable people who have lived here by looking for Blue Plaques - We've some ideas of where and who to look for....
Posted on 25 October 2017
A new film came out earlier this month, a behind-the-scenes look at author A.A. Milne and the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son - have you seen it yet?
Posted on 11 October 2017
Exploring the village churches of Sussex makes for the perfect day out and you'll come across some real hidden treasures...
Posted on 3 October 2017
With half term and halloween just round the corner here's our round up of where to have spooky fun in Sussex this October....
Posted on 26 September 2017
You won't find the 'Preston Twins' in the gossip columns they're actually a pair of might fine elm trees in Brighton - find out why they are worth a visit...
Posted on 18 September 2017
Sussex is full of art galleries, some of them in the most suprising places..
Posted on 12 September 2017
Glorious local food is on offer all over Sussex this autumn, find out where you can taste our harvest.
Posted on 5 September 2017
Vibrant Sussex has so much more than you'd expect as our latest blog shows...
Posted on 30 August 2017
Dear old Sussex by the sea throws out lots of suprises - read our latest musings...
Posted on 21 August 2017
Leonardlee Gardens in Sussex is rumoured to be reopening it's gates to visitors, find out more about one of our favourite West Sussex gardens.
Posted on 15 August 2017
Winkle Tossing in Hastings? now that got us intrigued... just one more reason to take a trip to the beautiful Sussex coast.
Posted on 3 August 2017
Glorious Goodwood might be coming to an end for 2017 but there are plenty of other race meetings and things to do in the area - theatre, festivals, steam trains and so much more...
Posted on 30 July 2017
Anytime is a nice time to be beside the seaside, our latest blog reminds us that it isn't just hot sunny days that are a perfect time to hit the beach..
Posted on 26 July 2017
Step back in time and explore what the Roman's called 'Noviomagus Reginorum' or Chichester as it's know today...
Posted on 18 July 2017
Hickstead is one of the major sporting venues to be found in Sussex, and whether your sport is equestrian, motor or putting a ball you'll find plenty of days out.
Posted on 10 July 2017
From a one day music festival on Hastings Pier to opera at Glyndebourne, with poetry in between we're spoilt for choice when it comes to culture in Sussex this July!
Posted on 26 June 2017
It's 'Regency Season' in Brighton this summer and brings work by Constable and Jane Austen to the Royal Pavillion and Museums.
Posted on 15 June 2017
Why Sussex? Why Now? Why Not?
Posted on 7 June 2017
Explore the lanes of leafy Surrey - but first read about who used to (and still might) also wander these lanes...
Posted on 1 June 2017
Check out the new arrivals at Chichester Cathedral.
Posted on 26 May 2017
Arundel Castle is 950 Years old And You're Invited To A Year Long Party!
Posted on 22 May 2017
We know some magical spots in the High Weald, let us share them with you.
Posted on 18 May 2017
Gardens galore all across Sussex and no better time to visit them!
Posted on 16 May 2017
Festival fever continues across Sussex with Horsham Fake Festival coming on June 3rd...
Posted on 10 May 2017
Brighton is buzzing in May with the Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe - Here's a look at what's on and what's intriguing us this year...
Posted on 18 April 2017
May Day brings festivals of all kinds to Sussex - see what's on near where you are...
Posted on 7 April 2017
Parham House and Gardens is open to visitors from Easter Sunday - have a look what's on offer over the Easter period.
Posted on 30 March 2017
Come to Sussex and have a laugh - we've comedy galore!
Posted on 16 March 2017
This week we've got a special passenger announcement, the 'Flying Scotsman' is going to pay it's first visit to the Bluebell Railway next month!
Posted on 7 March 2017
The Coastal Trail Series is coming to East Sussex this month - A great way to explore the beauty of Sussex whether you're a competitor or not.
Posted on 24 February 2017
Enjoy the gorgeous beaches of Sussex - but do it safely - read our advice on how to keep safe
Posted on 14 February 2017
You'll find fun for all the family across Sussex this half term.
Posted on 9 February 2017
Nothing more English than stopping for Afternoon Tea - here are our favourite places to partake in Sussex.
Posted on 30 January 2017
Hunt out the local museum on your next holiday - you'll be amazed at some of the things you'll find there!
Posted on 23 January 2017
Deer can be found in the wild and in managed herds across Sussex, take a look at where you might spot them.
Posted on 16 January 2017
Get yourself outdoors with the perfect winter weekend break in Sussex.
Posted on 6 January 2017
If you prefer your shopping at destinations other than large out of town retail parks, then have a look at some real shopping alternatives. We take you through what's on offer from Rye to Brighton to Chichester. If you hop over the county border to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, you'll find a designer outlet that is quite different!
Posted on 3 January 2017
January marks the first opportunity to visit historic Petworth House in West Sussex for an exhibition by Turner as well as many of his contemporaries. Titled Turner and the Age of British Watercolour, Petworth is already home to many of his classic landscape paintings and the exhibition will also display works that are normally housed in other galleries as well. Commencing on Saturday 7 January it runs through to early March.
Posted on 23 December 2016
Cowdray Park near Midhurst is the most famous venue in the south of England for polo, with the Gold Cup the season highlight in high summer. There is now a new sport, arena polo, which is fast and addrenalin fueled with matches held within the confines of an arena adding to the excitement for both players and spectators. At Hickstead in West Sussex you will find arena tournaments almost every other weekend over the winter.
Posted on 16 December 2016
Although many of our properties are in Sussex here at Amberley House Cottage Holidays, we have several holiday homes in the Hampshire Downs too - perfect if you are looking for day trips to Portsmouth, Winchester or Chichester, or for exploring the Hampshire Hangers.
Posted on 9 December 2016
We are lucky in Sussex to have a good number of nature reserves - great for keen bird watchers or just an interesting place to take a scenic walk if you fancy experiencing the great outdoors.
Posted on 2 December 2016
Birling Gap in East Sussex is a fantastic spot for star gazing - recent clear nights have made for some wonderful views. Plenty to see and do in the daytime too, whether you fancy a coastal walk, exploring a local village or enjoying a countryside stroll! Try one of our holiday cottages in the area for a relaxing break.
Posted on 25 November 2016
If you are planning on staying at one of our holiday cottages in Rye or Camber, you are so close to the Sussex/Kent border, that a visit to Dungeness is within easy reach, less than 30 minutes in fact. It's a really interesting place to visit, well worth a day trip!
Posted on 18 November 2016
The variety of landscape in Sussex is always something that's fascinated me - the differences between parts of East and West Sussex are so impressive. With plenty of cottages spanning the counties, we are sure to be able to find you somewhere interesting to explore!
Posted on 11 November 2016
The seaside town of Hastings has seen much regeneration and improvement over recent years. It's certainly a great place to spend a few days and we have several cottages and apartments in and around the area - perfect as a base to explore this part of 1066 Country!
Posted on 4 November 2016
There are some fabulous Christmas and craft markets coming up across East and West Sussex - these are well worth checking out if you are staying in the area - if you are considering an autumn or winter getaway then please browse our selection of holiday cottages!
Posted on 24 October 2016
Close to historic Rye, the town of Winchelsea has a fascinating history, and there are a number of tours available where you can discover more. Perfect if you are staying in the area.
Posted on 20 October 2016
October half term is fast approaching and there's a variety of seasonal events taking place at some key attractions in Sussex - plenty for the whole family to enjoy!
Posted on 3 October 2016
October seems to be packed with events and festivals in East and West Sussex. If you are planning on visiting then try and check some of them out - all the while being able to enjoy the scenic Autumn scenery in lovely Sussex.
Posted on 23 September 2016
Part of the appeal of Sussex as a holiday destination is the many scenic walks and cycle routes throughout the countryside. Plenty of our cottages are well located for easy access to the South Downs, so pack your walking shoes or bring your bike and enjoy the great outdoors during your holiday!
Posted on 16 September 2016
The month of September is home to the vibrant Root1066 Festival in the Hastings area. Well worth a visit if you are staying in East Sussex as there are events going on to suit all interests.
Posted on 9 September 2016
If you are considering visiting East Sussex this month, then we recommend Pashley Manor Gardens as a day out. Their Dahlia Debut is still on this weekend, and it's a great time to visit as the gardens are full of colour.
Posted on 6 September 2016
You may have recently read about Farley Farm House, the surrealist house near Newhaven in East Sussex. It's a real historic, artists' haven and well worth a visit if you are staying nearby.
Posted on 19 August 2016
Now open to the public, the i360 tower in Brighton is the highly anticipated viewing tower offering panoramic views across the Sussex coast. If you are staying in or around Brighton, it is well worth a visit!
Posted on 10 August 2016
Not far from Lewes, East Sussex is the wonderful country estate Firle Place. There are some unmissable events over the coming weeks, in particular the Vintage Fair over the 13th and 14th August. If you are staying in the area during this time, it is well worth a visit.
Posted on 1 August 2016
Not long to go until the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics! We will be cheering on Team GB and are thrilled to see there are so many athletes from Sussex who are competing - best of luck to the team!
Posted on 26 July 2016
There are so many scenic gardens in East and West Sussex, and Great Dixter, near Rye, is one that is well worth a visit. A great place to spend a day out, and perfect for people of all ages to enjoy!
Posted on 18 July 2016
The countryside in Sussex really is spectacular - don't just take our word for it, as the High Weald is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We have plenty of holiday homes within this area - it is well worth a visit!
Posted on 11 July 2016
Hopefully the summer months will bring us beach friendly weather, in which case there's plenty of wonderful beaches in Sussex you can choose to explore. Several of which have recently won Blue Flag and Seaside Awards!
Posted on 1 July 2016
Murray-mania has struck once again now that Wimbledon has started. It's reminded us of the news that the tennis centre at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne will be hosting the Aegon International for at least another 10 years! This is great news for Eastbourne - the sunshine coast of England. We have some wonderful apartments and cottages in the area – take a look for yourself if you are planning a visit.
Posted on 24 June 2016
If you are thinking of places to visit whilst you're staying in East Sussex then Glyndebourne is a worthy choice. With pop-up art collections and sculptures dotted around the grounds, it is much more than just an opera house - take a visit there and see for yourself. Check their website for ticketing and schedule information.
Posted on 13 June 2016
Last month we were delighted to hear that Hastings Pier was officially re-opened with an action packed gala day which was a real crowd pleaser. There are all sorts of exciting events planned over the summer months on and around the pier - if you are considering a trip to Sussex then Hastings is well worth a visit.
Posted on 7 June 2016
We have thoroughly enjoyed following Sussex born Major Tim Peake's adventures in space. It's fascinating to share in his exploits and bear witness to the photos he's been taking. We were delighted recently when he posted a photo of the Sussex coast around the area he grew up.
Posted on 27 May 2016
There are a good number of beautifully designed gardens in the West Sussex and Hampshire border areas with links to well renowned artists. If you are staying in one of our lovely cottages in the area then these are well worth a visit.
Posted on 19 May 2016
With the sun shining (well, most days...), Spring is definitely here to stay and it's a great time to visit one of the many public gardens that Sussex has to offer. If you are staying in one of our cottages this month then hopefully we can give you some inspiration for some days out!
Posted on 9 May 2016
There are many organised activities encompassing the South Downs Way - running, walking and cycling. If you are taking part in any of these and need somewhere to stay, then we offer a great selection of cottages within the South Downs. Alternatively you may wish to explore the National Park at your own leisure - please take a look at our selection of accommodation in this area.
Posted on 3 May 2016
If you're thinking of visiting East Sussex, we recommend that historic Rye is well worth a visit, with plenty to see and do within the town itself. To explore a little further afield, try walking the 4.5 mile route to Camber Castle! We have a good selection of cottages in or near Rye and Camber - take a look on our website.
Posted on 26 April 2016
Springtime in Sussex is a wonderful time of year. If you're staying in one of our countryside cottages then keep your ears open for the tuneful birdsong.
Posted on 21 April 2016
Sussex has its fair share of enticing festivals throughout the year, and we are especially looking forward to the Root 1066 International event in Hastings to take place later this year. With several other events leading up to the main festival, it's most definitely a good year to visit this area. We have a range of accommodation within 1066 Country - take a look on our website to see our selection.
Posted on 18 April 2016
Sussex is such a wonderful place for walkers to enjoy with an array of footpaths and trails to explore. We were delighted to hear of Natural England's plan on devising a new long distance trail between Hampshire and Shoreham - watch this space...
Posted on 14 April 2016
Any news story featuring Sussex always catches our eye, and we were interested in the recent news surrounding the crack in the cliff at Seaford Head. A fascinating area of the East Sussex coast - take a look (from a distance - keep safe!) if you are visiting Sussex any time soon.
Posted on 11 April 2016
There are some fantastic festivals coming up in Sussex over the next few months. If camping is not really your thing, or if you fancy staying a little longer in East or West Sussex then treat yourself to a stay in one of our holiday cottages!
Posted on 10 March 2016
Sussex really is a great base for sightseeing. There's plenty of places to see and go for full day trips - check the Places to Visit section on our website for inspiration!
Posted on 4 March 2016
We are always pleased to read of success stories from fellow Sussex residents and have been following the Sussex bred rugby stars in the Six Nations. Next month sees another exciting sporting event in Sussex with the Brighton Marathon taking place - there is still time to book accommodation either at the coast, or within the South Downs if you are taking part or just spectating.
Posted on 26 February 2016
Sussex has many different sporting events of all different varieties. With the Brighton Marathon and Hickstead events occurring this year, it's great to combine with a holiday in one of our fabulous cottages or apartments!
Posted on 8 February 2016
Half term is just around the corner and if you're wondering how to keep everyone happy then it is worth checking out a break in Sussex. With many of our cottages or apartments offering short breaks as well as weekly stays, there is sure to be something to suit, and with a variety of attractions offering special family events, we are sure you'll enjoy your stay!
Posted on 2 February 2016
Parts of Sussex can be easily explored either by bus or by foot - great, if you fancy a break from driving! With a vast selection of cottages and apartments throughout Sussex, you will certainly be able to find something that suits!
Posted on 26 January 2016
Several places along the Sussex coast have received funding for necessary renovation projects, including areas of Hastings and Brighton. Come and visit our attractive coastline for yourself - we have plenty of cottages to choose from!
Posted on 15 January 2016
Winter is an excellent time to visit Sussex and the South Downs. The scenery at this time of year is beautiful, and there are also plenty of indoor activities you can enjoy too.
Posted on 8 January 2016
We always keep a look out for references to Sussex tourist towns in the news but have to say we disagree with the comments about the excitement (or lack thereof) of the seaside town of Worthing. We love the Sussex coast and invite you to check out our cottages in this area.
Posted on 31 December 2015
Sussex is a great haven for wildlife - a stay in this beautiful part of the South East will give you plenty of opportunities for bird watching, sometimes in unexpected places!
Posted on 23 December 2015
It's great to see a 'good news' story with links to West Sussex. The excitement surrounding Tim Peake's journey is fantastic - with so much exploring to do in this world, life can be a real adventure! If relaxing is more your thing however, then enjoy a visit at one of our country cottages!
Posted on 11 December 2015
With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, there are many special family-friendly events taking place across East Sussex, including Knockhatch Adventure Park, near Hailsham, which currently houses some of Santa's special sleigh-pulling helpers...
Posted on 4 December 2015
If you still have some Christmas shopping to finish, or just fancy exploring somewhere different, then why not visit Lewes, East Sussex? Not only can you visit the fascinating castle, but enjoy some shopping too within the charming town. Set within the South Downs, and not far from the Sussex Coast, plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors too.
Posted on 26 November 2015
The winter months can be an excellent time to explore the South Downs by bike. With plenty of trails and wintry scenery to admire, wrap up warm and enjoy the fresh air! Plenty of our cottages offer cycle storage, so once you have finished your cycling for the day, you can return to your cosy Sussex cottage.
Posted on 13 November 2015
The Chichester area is an excellent place for sightseeing in West Sussex, with plenty of well-renowned attractions to suit all ages. With extra events going on in the lead up to Christmas, it's a great time to visit!
Posted on 4 November 2015
Several places in Sussex host an excellent organised bonfire and fireworks celebration! Lewes and Rye and to name but a few - if you are thinking about a getaway to Sussex this month then we do still have some availability.
Posted on 30 October 2015
Halloween is just around the corner, and where better to buy your pumpkin than from a pretty Sussex village which hosts an annual event based around the orange fruit! A truly spectacular display, it's no surprise that visitors come from near and far to visit Slindon, West Sussex at this time of year.
Posted on 12 October 2015
Autumn is arguably the most attractive season - with so much countryside and woodland across Sussex, the golden colours are truly spectacular. You'll be spoilt for choice for places to visit!
Posted on 2 October 2015
Autumn is here and an excellent time to take a break in Sussex! Not only is the countryside and woodlands appealing at this time, but many towns and attractions offer Autumn shows and fairs too - something for everyone to enjoy.
Posted on 28 September 2015
It was great to see Brighton's AMEX feature in the Rugby World Cup - a very surprising and memorable match! The Sussex coast is beautiful at this time of year, whether you want to visit a town or city, such as Brighton, Hove or Rye, or somewhere a little quieter, we are sure to have a cottage or apartment to suit your needs.
Posted on 18 September 2015
I'm sure many people are aware that Poohsticks was invented in Sussex - the famous Posingford Bridge in the Ashdown Forest, East Sussex is arguably one of the best places to partake in this "sport". If you are enjoying an Autumn walk whilst on holiday in Sussex and come across a bridge, then give the game a go!
Posted on 11 September 2015
With so much countryside, and a stunning section of coast, it is no surprise that there is an abundance of wildlife and sea creatures resident to Sussex.
Posted on 4 September 2015
For the active amongst us, the Wey and Arun canal is a great place to canoe or kayak. If you would prefer to stay dry, there are also plenty of walks along the canal, or for something a little more relaxing, try one of their themed cruises!
Posted on 1 September 2015
If you fancy a break from traditional sightseeing then it is worthwhile seeing if there are any gigs that are of interest to you during your stay in Sussex. With plenty of small, intimate venues to choose from, it can be a great way to enjoy an evening!
Posted on 28 August 2015
Shark sighting in the UK is something you don't often expect to see! However, last month a group of up to 50 were spotted close to Selsey, West Sussex. With so many lovely beaches in Sussex, take your binoculars and enjoy a coastal walk - who knows what you may spot!
Posted on 14 August 2015
Recently featured on the BBC drama Life In Squares, Charleston, near Lewes in East Sussex is a great place to spend a day. Try one of our cottages in the area - a great place to explore Sussex and the South Downs!
Posted on 3 August 2015
Sussex is famous for many things - including the invention of the delicious Banoffee Pie! With coastal towns enjoying increasing tourism figures, it's an excellent place to enjoy your summer holiday (or autumn, winter or spring for that matter...)
Posted on 10 July 2015
There are so many worthwhile places to explore amongst the South Downs. Stay in one of our cottages here and see if you can discover a hidden gem!
Posted on 3 July 2015
Recently in the news we heard about a hot tub seen floating near Beachy Head, East Sussex - not what we would normally expect to see from our Sussex beaches! We have a good selection of holiday cottages with swimming pools, if you want to enjoy the water on your Sussex holiday!
Posted on 24 June 2015
This weekend marks the return of the popular annual Goodwood event, The Festival of Speed. We have a large selection of holiday properties within easy reach of Goodwood - why not stay a little longer to explore Sussex if you are attending the event - book your accommodation well in advance for 2016!
Posted on 13 June 2015
The Seven Sisters at East Sussex are a must-visit for anyone visiting the Sussex Coast. Offering stunning views, it's a worthwhile walk, with plenty of footpaths and trails to explore!
Posted on 5 June 2015
June in Sussex can be very eventful! One of the highlights is most definitely the South of England Show at Ardingly. Further East, close to Lewes, is the Glyndebourne Festival which is also a highly anticipated event.
Posted on 29 May 2015
There's always something going on in Sussex! Next month sees the South of England show at Ardingly - a showcase of everything "country" about our region, and with plenty of exhibitors and events, it's a great day out!
Posted on 15 May 2015
We are so lucky in Sussex to have such a variety of birdlife. A stay in one of our rural cottages offers a great base for birdwatchers - make sure you bring your binoculars!
Posted on 8 May 2015
Lots happening in the next couple of months in Sussex! Brighton Festival is in full swing and visitors to the area can enjoy plenty of events in the area during May. The brand new Wild Life music festival takes place at Shoreham Airport next month and is definitely worth checking out with some great musical talent amongst the line up. Why not use one of our fabulous holiday cottages as a base to discover some of these exciting events?
Posted on 1 May 2015
It's always interesting hearing about new facts relating to Sussex. We were very surprised to read of Ho Chi Minh's link to the area.
Visit yourself and see if you can see what makes this region so special.
Posted on 17 April 2015
Several areas of the wonderful Sussex coast are due to be getting a financial boost in the near future. With summer in the not too distant future, it's the perfect time to plan your visit to our fantastic county, although any time of year can be great to pay a visit to Sussex!
Posted on 13 April 2015
Prince Harry has announced he will be taking part in some of this year's Walking with the Wounded Trek. We are not yet sure of the route, but with so many wonderful scenic walks throughout Sussex, who knows, a walk along the South Downs Way may be an enticing choice!
Posted on 27 March 2015
Perfect for walkers and cyclists, the scenic Surrey Hills are a great place to explore. We have cottages in West Sussex, close to the Surrey border which would be an ideal base for countryside lovers to enjoy.
Posted on 16 March 2015
Spring is a time when not only do we see the weather begin to improve, but also many visitor attractions in Sussex reopen their doors! If you have already booked, or are planning a visit to Sussex or the South Downs this spring, then Bignor Roman Villa offers a fascinating day out.
Posted on 6 March 2015
14-15th March sees this year's WhaleFest event at the Brighton Centre. If you are staying in one of our cottages in or around Brighton or the South Downs then you may wish to check it out.
Posted on 27 February 2015
Congratulations to Royal Blood who triumphed at this year's Brit Awards, winning Best British Band. This Brighton based band are originally from Rustington and Worthing - wonderful areas of the Sussex coast!! We do enjoy seeing references to Sussex in the media - we hope it inspires people to visit and explore the rolling countryside, peaceful beaches and unique towns for themselves.
Posted on 20 February 2015
There are some fascinating legends about some of the famous landmarks in the South East. Sussex and Surrey are full of beautiful and interesting countryside - and if the legends are true then all the more reason to come and visit these areas.
Posted on 13 February 2015
If you are staying in one of our rural, country cottages then why not try a bit of bat spotting? These fascinating, peaceful creatures can be easily spotted when you are staying in one of our more rural properties, or why not try an organised walk or talk by experts at one of the many nature reserves in Sussex?
Posted on 6 February 2015
All sorts goes on in Sussex in the winter months. Some of the more unusual competitions and contests take place here - the Hastings Spronkers contest springs to mind... However, if you're just looking to get away from it all and enjoy a relaxing break then a winter holiday to Sussex won't disappoint - there is certainly something special about a seaside stroll on a cold day!
Posted on 30 January 2015
A few weeks ago saw the BBC TV production of Mapp and Lucia on our screens. The series was mostly filmed in the picturesque and historic town of Rye, with seaside scenes also taking place in nearby Battle, Hastings and Camber Sands. If you liked what you saw, then why not take a trip to this pretty area of East Sussex yourself - we have plenty of holiday cottages to choose from!
Posted on 23 January 2015
Work is soon to begin on the i360 observation tower in Brighton - sure to be a major visitor attraction when it is complete in 2016. Visitors this year may be able to see parts being shipped and delivered from Holland and France by barge directly onto the beach.
Posted on 16 January 2015
Several places in Sussex offer the chance to book walking experiences with alpacas or llamas - a great activity for animal lovers. Those who wish to bring their own pet on holiday will be pleased to know that we have a good selection of dog-friendly cottages throughout East and West Sussex.
Posted on 5 January 2015
One of the benefits of living in Sussex is that we're surrounded by beautiful countryside and scenic buildings - it's no wonder that these locations often feature in films, alongside neighbouring Hampshire. Come and visit in 2015 and see what it is about these fascinating counties that inspires film-makers!
Posted on 12 December 2014
We've had several interesting bits of news affecting Sussex recently - the success of the Tour of Britain and the boost it had on tourism in the county, a Lottery grant for the Brighton Dome Theatre and confirmation that the Brighton Pride Festival will run with a few variations for at least 5 more years. Try one of our holiday cottages here and enjoy exploring our fascinating county.
Posted on 5 December 2014
Such a beautiful area of the country, the Sussex Coast has had several restorations of late. Come and take a look for yourself, or just enjoy some lovely scenic coastal walks and enjoy the fresh Sussex air.
Posted on 1 December 2014
Recent archaeological news in Winchester has reminded us that a stay in Hampshire, or neighbouring Sussex offers plenty of history for visitors to get their teeth into! These two fascinating counties are fantastic places to base your holiday, with lots to see and do.
Posted on 20 November 2014
Last month a woman from the Sussex village of Nutley sold some long-lost jewels that had belonged to Agatha Christie at auction for a surprising amount. With many museums and places of historic interest in Sussex, you'll be sure to get the opportunity to see some treasures for yourself during your stay in our fascinating county.
Posted on 7 November 2014
We love a good history story and news of the conspiracy theory that King Harold may not have been killed in battle makes us want to revisit Battle Abbey for ourselves to learn more about this fascinating history. With plenty of interesting areas throughout Sussex, if history is not your thing then we're sure you'll find somewhere that takes your fancy.
Posted on 30 October 2014
Autumn has arrived! There are so many events in Sussex to look forward to over the Autumn and Winter months - if you are staying in one of our cosy cottages then check them out!
Posted on 24 October 2014
Autumn is a fantastic time to visit the Bluebell Railway - the stunning colours offer great photo opportunities. Try one of our cottages in the area and visit for yourself!
Posted on 10 October 2014
October is an exciting month if you are in Sussex. Visitors to Hastings can enjoy the festivities of Hastings Week, and later in the month, festivals in Lewes and Brighton, plus the countless Halloween events will ensure that there is something of interest for all ages.
Posted on 6 October 2014
A visit to Sussex is perfect if you are a nature lover - a recent spotting of a rare white egret at the Arundel Wetland Centre has been the talking point of visitors there. Come and visit for yourself, and see the other nature reserves that Sussex has to offer too!
Posted on 22 September 2014
Enjoy rural Sussex and witness working sheepdogs on working farms. With truly stunning countryside to admire, stay in one of our country cottages where you may be able to see some of these farm traditions for yourself.
Posted on 12 September 2014
The Sussex countryside is well loved by badgers and foxes alike - try one of our fabulously rural cottages and see if you can spot any of these animals in their natural habitats.
Posted on 5 September 2014
Next weekend marks stage 7 for the Tour of Britain, where it visits Sussex. If you are visiting one of our holiday cottages in the region, then you may wish to soak up the atmosphere and witness the event in action.
Posted on 29 August 2014
September brings two highly appealing month-long food and drink festivals in the market towns of Horsham and Steyning. With plenty of other farmers markets and food related events occurring throughout the month, there will be sure to be something to whet your appetite, whatever part of Sussex you visit.
Posted on 18 August 2014
If you are bringing your four-legged-friend on holiday, then please check our list of dog-friendly cottages in Sussex.
Posted on 8 August 2014
In the next two months, the supermoon should be easily visible (should the weather behave itself). If you are enjoying your holiday in Sussex when this occurs, look to the skies and witness this great sight for yourself!!
Posted on 4 August 2014
Lots to celebrate in Sussex as of late, including the arrival of red panda twin cubs at Drusillas in East Sussex and sporting success within the equestrian world.
Posted on 28 July 2014
It is almost Festival time in historic Arundel and we still have some availability at some of our properties here, so be quick and book now! With so much to do in and around this fascinating town, it is a wonderful base for your Sussex holiday.
Posted on 18 July 2014
Next month, if the weather behaves itself, it should be possible to view the International Space Station in the Sussex skies. Don't forget to pack your binoculars!
Posted on 11 July 2014
Chichester's Festival Theatre is a fantastic place to enjoy some of the latest productions. David Hare's play South Downs premiered in Chichester at the Minerva Theatre three years ago, and he is in the process of writing his memoirs. Visit the South Downs for yourself to witness his inspiration, and why not visit Chichester too!
Posted on 7 July 2014
Part of the stunning South Downs National Park has recently been awarded UNESCO recognised biosphere status - come and visit Sussex to see the outstanding beauty and interesting landscape for yourself.
Posted on 27 June 2014
The annual Glyndebourne Festival is in full swing and runs until the end of August. If you are staying in one of our holiday cottages in the area then Glyndebourne is well worth a visit.
Posted on 23 June 2014
The beauty of the South Downs is summarised perfectly in the poetic words of Helen, the widow of war poet Edward Thomas. Book a stay in one of our cottages in the Downs, and view the stunning landscape for yourself.
Posted on 13 June 2014
Just a couple of weeks until the ever popular Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place. Enjoyed by many, make the most of this 4 day event by staying in one of our holiday cottages close to Goodwood. With limited availability left for this year's event, why not enquire to reserve in time for next year?
Posted on 6 June 2014
With a recent historical find of a handwritten note by Jane Austen, it shows that Sussex is a county steeped in interesting history, with other well renowned authors having strong links here too. A cottage holiday here allows a good opportunity to explore some of the beautiful countryside which would have inspired these great writers!
Posted on 30 May 2014
If you are trying to think of an interesting place to visit in East Sussex, then why not consider the historic Penvensey Castle? Steeped in history, and located amongst the stunning East Sussex countryside, it is a lovely place to visit.
Posted on 16 May 2014
A lovely time of year for a walk in the countryside, Ashdown Forest in East Sussex is abundant in greenery and wildlife - a perfect place for a stroll and picnic!
Posted on 9 May 2014
It is a wonderful time to visit Sussex - Brighton Festival is in full swing, and with newborn lambs frolicking amongst the South Downs, and bluebells scattering the many woodlands, you will be sure to find something of interest.
Posted on 2 May 2014
40 years ago many were celebrating in Brighton when Abba won Eurovision at the Brighton Dome. More celebrations take place this month in Brighton when the city is in the midst of the Brighton Festival - book one of our holiday homes in Brighton or Hove and see the festivities for yourself.
Posted on 28 April 2014
A visit to Brighton or Eastbourne not only conjures up images of the famous piers and beaches, but the sight and sounds of the resident seagulls is also one that you will be bound to witness. Take care to avoid sharing your seaside fish and chips with the gulls though!
Posted on 25 April 2014
Sussex is a great location for wildlife lovers, with nature reserves and rolling countryside aplenty. With news of some more unusual examples of wildlife being spotted recently, it is a good time to find your binoculars and walking shoes and see what you can discover on your Sussex holiday.
Posted on 11 April 2014
A regular visitor of Lewes has been spotted again recently in the River Ouse. The Lewes seal has been visiting for several years, and is one of many interesting wildlife sightings in the area. Tourists to East Sussex can enjoy a stay in one of our holiday cottages near to the River Ouse, or anywhere in Sussex - this part of the country has many good opportunities for spotting wildlife.
Posted on 4 April 2014
The South Downs is not only a haven for walkers and cyclists, but the chalky soil is ideal for the production of good quality sparkling wine. Visitors to this area should treat themselves to a bottle (or two) of some local Sussex wine as a souvenir from your Sussex cottage holiday.
Posted on 21 March 2014
Eastbourne has been a popular tourist destination for many years, with its beautiful beach and scenic gardens being at the centre of its appeal. Historically it was renowned for its pleasure boat industry, and there has been talk of two boats being restored and used for shopping trips or day cruises.
Whether you choose to visit Eastbourne for a day trip if staying elsewhere in Sussex, or you are enjoying your holiday in an apartment or holiday home there, there is plenty to see and do.
Posted on 17 March 2014
East Sussex is packed full of history, with claims of the first pack of Cub Scouts being formed in Robertsbridge. With Bodiam Castle nearby too, there are plenty of things to pique your interest when staying in this fascinating county. Good transport links mean it is easy to access nearby Hastings or the High Weald when you can enjoy some of Sussex's spectacular scenery.
Posted on 14 March 2014
Spring is here, and with many of the seasonal visitor attractions opening their doors once again there is a huge choice of days out in Sussex! One attraction open year round is the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, located in the South Downs, not too far from Chichester.
Spring is a great time to visit the museum, to enjoy the wonderful surroundings, and also to take advantage of their special Mothering Sunday offer with reduced admission fee and complimentary bunch of daffodils for all mothers and grandmothers.
With plenty to see and do there, it's a fantastic day out, with lots to keep children entertained too.
Posted on 7 March 2014
Brighton already has many cafes and restaurants, and residents and tourists alike have been pleased to hear the news that two red phone boxes are soon to be transformed into cafes. Brighton is such a diverse and interesting city, a perfect place for the addition of these unique establishments. With the beach, the South Downs and plenty of shopping opportunities, Brighton is a fantastic base for your Sussex holiday.
Posted on 28 February 2014
With the Winter Olympics now finished, and the World Cup starting in three months time, it is a good year if you are a sporting fan. In Sussex, petrol heads were delighted when Brighton was confirmed to host the speed trials yet again this year. As a perfect destination for a year round break, Brighton holds great appeal for families and couples alike - an ideal seaside holiday.
Posted on 24 February 2014
The Sussex countryside is full of interesting and intriguing things to see. Stay at one of our cottages, deep in the heart of Sussex, or on a working farm to see what sights may catch your eye. Come equipped with a camera and your walking shoes, and marvel at the things you may see on your exploration of the wildlife in this fascinating county.
Posted on 14 February 2014
With half term just around the corner, it's a good time to consider some attractions easily reached from Sussex for a day trip. Plenty of train connections to London means that a day out in our capital is within easy reach. Aviation and history lovers will be spoilt for choice in Sussex with attractions at Slindon, Tangmere and Balcombe, designed to fascinate and intrigue.
Posted on 7 February 2014
February is a month where wildlife in Sussex starts to emerge. With catkins appearing, toads awakening from migration, and sea birds flocking back to the coast, you will be sure to discover an interesting piece of Sussex wildlife.
Posted on 3 February 2014
With many scenic countryside walks in Sussex, follow Fleet the fox's route through the South Downs, heading east to Rye. With plenty of cottages to choose from in Sussex, browse our website to see where you might like to explore.
Posted on 31 January 2014
With the weather in the South having extraordinary patterns lately, it is an appealing thought to hibernate in one of our cosy cottages, complete with woodburning stove or open fireplace. This winter has seen an impressive amount of rain, but still plenty of dry and crisp days which are most enjoyable for taking in the stunning Sussex scenery.
Posted on 24 January 2014
Sussex has several racecourses where visitors can enjoy special events throughout the year. We have plenty of cottages situated near to these, where tourists to Sussex can see for themselves some of these famous events take place.
Posted on 20 January 2014
At an ideal seafront location in Hastings, The Beach House is a unique property, just perfect for a beach holiday. Sleeping up to four people, and at an accessible location to shops, bars and restaurants, why not try this individual Grade II listed weather boarded house for your 2014 holiday destination?
Posted on 10 January 2014
With unusual weather patterns in recent weeks, the importance of our lifeboats is second to none, and the bravery and service of the crew is something not to be sniffed at. Check out some of the coastal areas in Sussex on our website and find a holiday cottage to suit you.
Posted on 3 January 2014
A good time of year to consider your summer holiday, read about what we have to offer in Sussex, including some of the interesting events going on across the county at this time of year.
Posted on 13 December 2013
Sussex resident and keen sailor David Dimbleby - he of the recent tattoo admission - has become the first chairman of Eastbourne's Towner Gallery. I can highly recommend a visit to the Towner if you haven't already been, or a repeat visit if you have, as along with the Pallant in Chichester it's one of South East England's premier art galleries.
Posted on 6 December 2013
Wild swimming... it's December and you're thinking I've gone mad, right? But I'm sure a lot of people have thought about it or been tempted to try on their next Sussex holiday; especially if you've read Waterlog by the late, great Roger Deakin.
Posted on 2 December 2013
I wonder how Misty the diplodocus felt on being transported half way round the world. We take travel and holidays so much for granted but for Misty's generation, well, it was something pretty big. Almost as big as Misty, in fact.
Posted on 26 November 2013
Few industries are as important to Britain as tourism. The UK's fifth largest, it supports three million jobs, over 200,000 small and medium sized enterprises, and contributes £127 billion to the country's GDP each year according to a new report commissioned by Deloitte.
Posted on 22 November 2013
The Battle of Hastings is a cornerstone of British history and I'm already excited about plans to celebrate its 950th anniversary in October 2016. A committee has been set up to decide how it will be done, but we know the day's myriad events will include a memorial service for the Saxons and Normans who were killed, a military band and marching display through Battle town centre and a dusk flag-lowering ceremony.
Posted on 15 November 2013
Exotic butterflies and moths have been flocking to Sussex. They won't be much in evidence at this time of year, but the warm summer and autumn attracted species such as the European long-tailed blue butterfly, which doesn't usually come this far north, and rare moths such as the rosy underwing, have been spotted in recent months.
Posted on 1 November 2013
Remember, remember the 5th of November
Why not book a stay in one of our properties and celebrate a bonfire night, like no other?
The Sussex Bonfire Societies are responsible for the series of Bonfire festivals around 1066 Country and Kent, from late September to November. Commonly known as Bonfire Season and it extends over 10 weeks. The celebrations mark both Guy Fawkes Night and the burning of 17 Protestant martyrs in Lewes High Street from 1555 to 1557, during the reign of Mary Tudor.
Posted on 25 October 2013
Spending holidays in Sussex you might have noticed that we have a distinct dialect around here. To my ear it has a rural, laid-back sort of sound, as befits a largely rural county, that's not so far removed from the sounds of neighbouring Kent and Hampshire and in some parts influenced by 'immigrants' from London - Brighton has its own version of Cockney with a Sussex twang.
I've no doubt that some regional words are shared with other parts of the country. Twitten, meaning a little alleyway, is a good example as I've heard that used up north as well. And those tiny, winding streets in Brighton known as the Lanes are really called the Laines, with an i, the Sussex word for open land at the base of the downs - you'll still see that spelling on street signs.
Posted on 18 October 2013
October means half term, Hallowe'en and the run-up to Bonfire Night festivities. I'm thinking cosy cottages with a woodburning stove to snuggle round, country pubs with a log fire and lovely local food and beer, stunning red, gold and russet colours in the woodland and that beautiful, clear light you get at this time of year. Not surprisingly, however, all the kids I know are thinking costumes, ghosts, witches and fireworks.
One of the regional Sussex highlights for Hallowe'en is Tulley's Farm Shocktober Fest, at Turners Hill West Sussex, which has a host of attractions for kids of all ages. There's a Creepy Cottage, a Boo Barn and a Circus Maze among others, but the one that intrigues me most is the Horrid Hayride, because it's billed on at least one website as having 'live actors'. Given the occasion, I'm quite glad they made the distinction. Another highlight is Drusilla's Park, at Alfriston in East Sussex, which this year boasts a Shriek Week full of surprises for half term.
Posted on 9 October 2013
Every year I'm blown away by the autumn colours - and I'm talking not about the new season's fashion collections, but about trees. At this time of year trees do it for me every time. Every shade of red, russet, orange, yellow, gold... just look at our magnificent Sussex views for inspiration and pure pleasure.
Sussex may be famous for its open downland but it also has a lot of beautiful woodland, some of it ancient and historic. We can only hope that acute oak decline doesn't take too high a toll, as oak in particular is very much a part of Sussex heritage - there is a species called Sussex oak, hence all the pubs named for it.
Posted on 4 October 2013
Hurrah for Hastings Pier! Or rather, hurrah for those determined people who fought to preserve it and restore it. We were so delighted to hear that it had been promised a £14m restoration job which is due for completion in spring 2015, thanks to hard work and campaigning by the Hastings Pier Charity.
The 'peerless pier', as it became known, was owned by an overseas company that neglected it so badly that a compulsory purchase order was issued last year and Hastings Borough Council, which is providing some of the funding, took over ownership in August. Most of the grant comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with other significant contributors including the Coastal Communities Fund - also using Lottery cash - and East Sussex County Council. Shares in Hastings Pier go on sale tomorrow (Saturday 5 October) which can be purchased at £100.00 per share if you fancy making your own investment in its future.
Posted on 27 September 2013
Sussex can lay claim to the origins of stoolball - a game we've probably all played at some point, usually in the local park after work and involving a few pints. For the uninitiated, I can tell you that stoolball is described by its governing body as somewhere between Twenty20 cricket and baseball, although I always thought it was a version of the game of rounders we played at school. So you get the drift: it involves wickets, bats, bowling and boundaries and the scores are made in runs.
I don't wish to sound glib though: stoolball is recognised by Sport England and has a serious league, particularly in the South-East corner of England, and teams can be ladies only or mixed. But its history is very much a part of Sussex, dating back to the 15th century and originally, so it's said, played by milkmaids who used milking stools as the wicket. Not to be confused with Stow-ball, which was played elsewhere in England.
Posted on 23 September 2013
I have some interesting tourist statistics from Visit Britain regarding visitor numbers to the UK from overseas. In our own case we have found that our overseas visitors have grown by almost 50% over the last twelve months however our own findings tend to be distorted through the growth of our business as we continue to target visitors from the international market..
It is therefore interesting to share a few statistics nationally to get an indication of how tourist traffic has been over the year to date.
Posted on 18 September 2013
Mumford and Sons' Gentlemen of the Road festival back in July generated great excitement round here. With the Lewes stopover taking place less than two months after bassist Ted Dwayne had surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain, it felt really special - and coupled with decent weather, Sussex was onto a winner. Lewes traders reported a surge in business as visitors flocked in and the atmosphere was great. Local residents and people staying nearby were delighted with the readmission policy, even if gate queues were rather slow. Feedback has been brilliant so let's hope this becomes a regular event.
And if you can't bear to see the music festival season drawing to a close, then why not see it out in style at Shakedown in Stanmer Park, Brighton at the end of the month? A luxury holiday let in the Brighton or Hove area would make the perfect base.
Posted on 14 September 2013
The beauty about a historic town like Rye in East Sussex, is that it naturally attracts the 'arty and musical types'.
With this brings enthusiastic and talented individuals who wish to share their exuberance for the love of the arts, meaning locals and guests from afar benefit. The town lends itself easily to being a perfect backdrop for these art events, whatever the season.
Posted on 11 September 2013
Positive news for Sussex cyclists with the recent announcement of more than £5bn - much of it from the government - being earmarked to improve cycle routes in the South Downs National Park. It might seem like a lot of money on a relatively small project, but since nearby Brighton and Hove are part of the national flagship scheme for safer cycling in cities, it seems logical that we're encouraged to explore further afield on two wheels. Creating safer, more accessible links between areas is a step in the right direction.
One stretch where safety will be vastly improved is the Shoreham-by-Sea and Steyning area in West Sussex. The A283 crossing at Bramber is a bit of a tricky one and an alternative route is being sought, possibly through Bramber village itself. And a short stretch of the Downs Link track from Shoreham to the Downs is to have its surface and signage improved. This is a lovely part of Sussex, with the coastal stretch rising up towards the South Downs and plenty of scenic and historic places of interest to stop at - there are routes to suit almost all levels of fitness and all types of bike. Challenging road ride? Check. Madcap mountain bike adventure? Check - although one note of caution - please be considerate towards other path-users. Gentle scenic pub or teashop ride? Check.
Posted on 4 September 2013
This summer a fascinating project to uncover a lost wing of historic Petworth House reached its conclusions - and I for one am looking forward to the forthcoming exhibition showcasing the results.
It's long been known that an L-shaped manor existed on the site and when Henry VIII owned the house he built a banqueting house there, possibly on the northern face of Lawn Hill. The north wing was demolished in 1692 but excavations have revealed artefacts that point to a high-status building in use during the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of these will be on show from early October, along with paintings, documents and other evidence, including the results of geophysical surveys.
Posted on 28 August 2013
While you're out exploring from your Sussex holiday cottage you might notice that the village of Ringmer, near Lewes in East Sussex, features a tortoise on its sign. Clearly not a native breed, so what's the story?
It seems that the tortoise, named Timothy moved to Ringmer in 1740 from somewhere in the Mediterranean, when she - as was subsequently discovered - was sold for half a crown by a sailor at Chichester to a lady called Rebecca Snooke, who lived at Delves House. Mrs Snooke happened to be the aunt of the famous naturalist Gilbert White, who loved to study Timothy whenever he visited Ringmer. When Mrs Snooke died in 1780 White adopted Timothy and his observations about 'the old Sussex tortoise' appeared in his book The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, published in 1789 and still seen as a landmark as he was one of the first people to write and publish first-hand accounts of natural history in the English language. Timothy died in 1794 and her shell is still owned by the Natural History Museum in London.
Posted on 22 August 2013
Is the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex a piece of early political satire - a sort of precursor to the Ronald Searle or Steve Bell cartoons that appear in our newspapers? Was he carved out of the hillside by Saxons furious at the Roman invasion, by monks from the nearby abbey or farmers having a joke? Is he a symbol of fertility, rebellion, war or peace, or does he mark the passage of Orion in the sky above his head?
A lot of people have had fun studying the giant's origins and some of them have taken it extremely seriously for its historic and cultural value. These figures, which famously appear in several locations in South-East England, put me in mind of crop circles, which might be caused by alien spaceships or by locals having a laugh - indeed the late Reg Presley, frontman of '60s band The Trogs, admitted to having created a few in his time - but they certainly provide a lot of fun and a nice focus for visitors
Posted on 16 August 2013
I hope you've been able to make the most of all the perfect beach weather we've been having. Many of our gorgeous Sussex holiday cottages are within an ace of the sea, while others are perfectly situated for the shady lanes and villages during the heat of day and perhaps a stroll to the beach once it cools down a bit.
Please take a moment to check the tide tables if you're planning to go to the beach, too. Just recently, three men had to be rescued after being stranded on a sandbank at West Wittering by the incoming tide. They walked out at low tide, got cut off and tried to swim back but got into difficulties and while one was taken by road ambulance to the nearest hospital, the other two lost consciousness and needed the air ambulance. These beautiful Sussex beaches are here to be enjoyed, but please keep your eyes open - the tide can come in very quickly in some places and it's so easy to lose track of time. The other danger is undertow, which can be so deceptive in a calm sea.
Posted on 13 August 2013
Last month car enthusiasts from all over the world converged on Sussex for the 20th annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.. Whether you're 'into' cars or not it's a magnificent sight and events that attract a knowledgeable crowd as well as casual visitors always generate a brilliant atmosphere. There's something incredibly evocative about racing and sports cars through the ages, designed for beauty and speed and always ahead of the game. For the cognoscenti it's akin to watching a line-up of your favourite Hollywood stars from the past century, or a parade of fashion through the ages, and for others there is simply a fascination in how machines have travelled from early models to today's supercars.
Goodwood is a stunning setting - they don't call the race meetings 'Glorious Goodwood' for nothing - up on the South Downs within a sniff of the sea. It used to host international dressage as well, and with a warm-up arena in front of the great house that really was a spectacle. One of the highlights of the Festival of Speed is the 1.16 mile hill climb, using a challenging estate road that goes past the house. To put it in context, remember that many of the classic racing cars lack mod-cons in terms of control - yet this year's best speed was about 45 seconds. I do hope those of you who were staying in our stunning holiday properties around Chichester managed to see some of the action - and if not, I recommend booking your Sussex holiday for next year. The date hasn't been fixed yet but you shouldn't have to wait long for that. You'll see fabulous vehicles from across the world and from all sectors of motorsport, from Formula One to World Rally cars and drivers to match. We can offer you everything from a cosy cottage by the sea to a luxury holiday let on the Downs, and all within easy reach of Goodwood and its beautiful surroundings. Unbeatable, I reckon.
Posted on 5 August 2013
I love the notion of Hastings standing in as a film location for Fiji. Apparently the underwater scenes for the new and much-publicised Status Quo film, Bula Quo, were filmed at the Blue Reef Aquarium in the Sussex town. I guess they couldn't quite carry it off above the water; much as we love Hastings we have to agree even our glorious Sussex coastline doesn’t quite match the golden sands of a Pacific paradise island. Hastings is not Fiji, but it provides some brilliant days out and the aquarium alone is a must-see. we have two great holiday properties in the town and another three within a 15 minute drive.
Another piece of water that's once-more accessible is the beach at Birling Gap now the steps have been moved back to compensate for cliff erosion. This famous Sussex beauty spot with its distinctive chalk habitats is always a pleasure to visit, whether you've walked along the cliff path to reach it or just driven in for a look and a lunch at the pub. The views are tremendous and the atmosphere incomparable.
Posted on 30 July 2013
Another weekend, another gorgeous Sussex walk. I've raved about the South Downs plenty of times, but one route I've neglected until now is the Downs Link. This recreational track - which means it's open to walkers, horse riders and cyclists and is marked by those little diamond shapes on the Ordnance Survey map - stretches about 37 miles from the South Downs Way near Steyning into the wilds of neighbouring Surrey ("there be dragons", in ancient map parlance).
The Downs Link basically follows a couple of disused railway lines, which makes it fairly easy walking, and has become a green corridor connecting a variety of natural habitats. Starting from the southern end it crosses the River Adur flood plain, which cuts through the South Downs in a largely arable landscape. After this the beds of hard sandstone known as Horsham Slab start to feature, before it reaches the clay of the Low Weald as it heads for the Sussex/Surrey border. What this means is that you'll see many different types of vegetation along the route which in turn provides homes for wildlife, including some quite rare species.
Posted on 23 July 2013
Life in Sussex is getting better - it's official. Well, I didn't need the 2011 census to tell me that, but it's nice to see it in print. I hope that when you stay in one of our gorgeous coastal cottages or cosy country hideaways you'll get to share something of what makes our county so special - and if you haven't already booked yours, do check our late availability and special offers pages. Although like everywhere else the population is growing and changing, Sussex is less crowded than other parts of Southeast England and in any case, a changing population keeps things interesting in so many ways.
One figure from the census that intrigued me was the rising number of homes with central heating in the county. I wondered if this was due to the abundance of beautiful old cottages being modernised - we have some fascinating examples on our books - or just the popularity of installing woodburning stoves to make a cosy cottage extra welcoming.
Posted on 18 July 2013
Yesterday, while cycling up a Sussex country lane that I use regularly, I came upon a tiny shrew scuttling across the Tarmac. I'm not brilliant at telling rodent species apart but its pointy snout was clearly visible, and on the bike it was easy to avoid running it over. In the past I've stopped the car at that same place when I've spotted, just in time, something small and furry about to cross and potentially get under my wheels, but from the cocoon of a vehicle it's hard to spot wildlife properly. It's so much easier from two wheels.
On a similar note, the other day, on foot, I saw a very impressive stag beetle in a residential street in Horsham, West Sussex I stared at it for some time, wondering what on earth it was doing there - visiting someone for Sunday lunch, perhaps? It was definitely on a mission of some sort. I've reported the sighting to Sussex Wildlife Trust as I gather stag beetles are quite rare; perhaps it had been disturbed by ongoing lamp-post replacement work.
Posted on 15 July 2013
Sussex art trails are back - yes, it's that time of year. Sussex is an artists' and art lovers' paradise - whether you dabble, do it seriously, collect or just love looking, do visit Sussex for inspiration. A piece of local artwork, created by someone who is immersed in the landscape and atmosphere, makes an evocative and lasting souvenir.
For those of a creative turn we have the views, the detail, big skies, deeply-shaded woodland, seascapes and a fabulous coastal light. This is a county where almost any medium seems to work, from watercolours to scrap metal. If you're an artist you'll know what I mean - some places just cry out for a particular medium that seems to convey their atmosphere, softness or perhaps harshness, but here in Sussex I don't think that applies.
Posted on 8 July 2013
Local food in Sussex, eating out or eating in - sometimes I get so enthusiastic about it I don't know where to start. On the hors d'oeuvres at Rye Bay Scallop Week, perhaps, with a nice glass of chilled Nyetimber white? Hearing that celebrated Brighton resident Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, is buying Heather Mills's vegan cafe in Hove Lagoon was what sparked this culinary caper - and by the way, aforesaid cafe won't be vegan any more if the deal goes through, although Mills has moved her set-up into the town if you're worried. And thinking of vegetarian food (close enough for all but purists, I hope) I had heard that Terre a Terre in Brighton had a kitchen fire last year, but only recently learnt that it was caused by "spontaneously combusting laundry". A pile of warm, tumble-dried tea towels apparently, which sounds much more mundane.
To fuel your self-catering holiday in Sussex, do please look out for farmers' markets and local food and beer festivals, there’re all the rage at the moment - we do them rather well. They're a win-win idea, really: fun for visitors, who get to sample some new and delicious treats, while local businesses get a networking opportunity as well as, hopefully, new customers and some publicity. They give towns a chance to shine and tourists and residents alike a chance to see them in a new light. I'm not being cynical - we're a local business too, and these opportunities are vital for survival. Many farming families have gratefully seized the opportunity to diversify and the quality and freshness of their produce is second to none.
Posted on 2 July 2013
Pondering this year's holiday plans? Just come across our blog on your daily commute and looking for something to brighten your day? In that case, welcome - and try a quick internet search for images of Sussex. From Sussex villages to Sussex views, the towns or the downs, the colours, the sea and the big skies, there's something about seeing a whole bank of photos together that makes you want to be here. It's a dose of colour therapy, too: the green grass, blue sea and skies, whitewashed country cottages. See it, then come and feel it, breathe it for yourself.
Many of the iconic images of this county are of the sea, the imposing regency buildings and the rolling South Downs. Farming has always played a huge part in shaping the landscape and this spring has been a torrid one for farmers - as illustrated by the strange tale of 50 sheep found wandering in Chiddingly a few weeks ago. It's possible that a farmer who was busy with lambing simply hadn't noticed they'd gone, but equally that someone couldn't afford to buy hay for them when the spring grass failed to appear. A kind villager took them in, but when no one claimed them he found he might become the legal owner, which he hadn't quite bargained for.
Posted on 18 June 2013
Great news for your Sussex seaside holiday! West Wittering and Littlehampton Coastguards Beach have been awarded Blue Flag status for 2013. The EU is continually raising standards so it really is an accolade to be proud of. Other beaches, such as Hastings, have Seaside Awards for their excellent facilities.
I also love the fact that these two offer such contrasts. Littlehampton Coastguards is more a town beach, with the sort of facilities and general bustle you would expect from its location. The broad expanse of West Wittering, on the other hand, is totally rural, much of it being a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its flora and fauna; it's mainly owned by local interests and the National Trust and its preservation, and preservation of the landscape and atmosphere, is paramount. I recently discovered that it's officially situated on the wonderfully-named Manhood Peninsular – yeah!
Posted on 13 June 2013
Rural tourism can provide a valuable income stream for farm businesses. Converting barns and outhouses into a furnished holiday let has become a popular way for farmers to diversify their business, especially as there is unsatisfied demand for holiday accommodation in the south and south east of England. In the past though it has presented farmers with a series of legislation and planning requirements that has made the process of conversion less straightforward
On 30 May 2013 new permitted development rights came into effect which allow existing agricultural buildings to be used for a variety of non-agricultural purposes without the need to obtain full planning permission. The changes are potentially a very significant boost for farmers who are considering diversifying their business.
Posted on 1 June 2013
If your Sussex holiday includes a spot of birding, I do hope you'll like this: Chichester Cathedral's rooftop nesting box has once more provided a safe haven for peregrine chicks. Three females were born there last month, bringing the total number raised since the box was installed 18 years ago to about 45. They're all ringed and some are known to be breeding in Sussex - one, for instance, has been seen with a brood on the same building in Brighton every year since 2009 - while others are nesting in neighbouring counties.
Sorry about all the Bs in that sentence. But it brings me beautifully to another buzzword - bees. The link with peregrines is that both have really suffered from the use of pesticides, so it's not entirely left field. When you visit Sussex you'll see many of the wildflowers in fields and hedgerows that are so important for bees and many gardeners will be sowing them around now. Some of the local councils in Sussex actively plant wildflower patches in parks, greens and other public spaces instead of more formal blooms, and many of our lovely country cottages have gardens that are perfect for attracting beneficial insects. Fellow vegetable-growers will no doubt forgive the odd patch of netting to keep less beneficial visitors like cabbage whites off the brassicas, though.
Posted on 25 May 2013
If you've previously been alarmed at the sight of sheep on a Shoreham roundabout, rest assured, they were fake - and they're back. With a shepherd to keep them in check.
I doubt if Shoreham by Sea makes the news that often - though the recent announcement of a Paris service from its little airport (officially called Brighton Airport) did get some column inches, and I thought what an amazing day trip that could make when you're staying in one of our holiday cottages near the coast. The beach at Shoreham is a surprisingly good place to swim because the water gets to a good depth, but the harbour provides a great base for water sports such as sailing and kayaking and the local fishing boats bring in some good catches that are sold throughout Sussex and further afield - well worth seeking out when you're in self catering accommodation.
Posted on 20 May 2013
Hove in East Sussex keeps on appearing in the local news, and since we have plenty of superb seaside apartments and holiday cottages within easy reach I thought a little look was in order. It's a rather genteel, historic yet up-and-coming sort of place, with architecture ranging from traditional cottages to glorious mansions, plenty of clubs, trendy bars and eateries (and celebrity residents), and the longstanding reputation of this neck of the woods as a sort of London on Sea is exacerbated by reports of a Hove Plinth project.
The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is used on a rolling basis by artists and performers deemed to merit exposure there - although rumour has it that it's being kept for a statue of our present queen come the day she pops her clogs. Anyway, the local council in Hove has backed a plinth project that would showcase local sculptors' work, and at the time of writing it's awaiting planning consent. In an area well known for its artistic leanings, this could provide a great boost for local sculpture and a lovely diversion for the rest of us.
Posted on 9 May 2013
A survey revealed last month that the South Downs National Park generated £464m a year in visitor spending. I'm not quite sure how they can say 'each year' at such an early stage - this is, after all, Britain's newest national park, having only become fully operational two years ago - but it's welcome news none the less. The study also found that visitor spending supported more than 8,000 local jobs, and that more accommodation was needed - all the more reason to book early with us to avoid disappointment. After all, we have plenty of gorgeous South Downs holiday properties to tempt you, from luxury houses to idyllic country cottages and farm stays. The South Downs National Park is now the third most visited so don’t hang around!
Posted on 24 April 2013
I love castles, and our wonderful county of Sussex has some really good ones. Bodiam, for a start, down near Robertsbridge: hard to beat for sheer atmosphere and incredible setting. It's been sympathetically restored, so it doesn't have the Disney factor even when there's a medieval theme day going on around it. Over the May Day bank holiday weekend the 'Living Castle and Green Man Trail' event is a must-do in our family. It brings to life the mediaeval household and daily life in a castle, and the children love searching for the green man sculptures and – hopefully – claiming a prize at the end of the trail.
If you haven't come across the green man before, well, he's not exclusive to Sussex but he does seem to feature widely here, especially if pub names are anything to go by. He was probably a pagan symbol originally and some children find him a bit scary, but many others find him beautiful and just a little mysterious.
Posted on 17 April 2013
When we think about the sumptuous selection of locally-produced food available in Sussex, it tends to be farmers' markets that come to mind first and we probably associate those with things like meat, vegetables and delicatessen items. But Sussex has a long stretch of coast and some productive rivers, so do remember we have wonderful fish here
One way to find Sussex seafood at its freshest is to look out for the fishing boats coming in at Hastings, Shoreham by Sea, Worthing or Littlehampton, for example. You might find a chalk board showing what the local catch and selling time might be, but there's a bit of pot luck involved - you need to be in the right place at the right time. Some fishmongers travel around in vans bringing fresh local catches to inland villages and town markets, so it's worth asking locally to find out which day of the week they'll be there. From crabs and lobsters to bream, bass and sole, you'll always find something - and it's worth coming back at different times of year for the seasonal variations.
Posted on 9 April 2013
Back in February we reported on intrepid Sussex lad Tom Brabham's plan to walk the whole UK coastline after setting off from Eastbourne Pier. We very much hoped that keen hikers staying in our Sussex holiday properties would be able to walk some of the county's iconic coastal trails with him, whether at the start of his journey or on his return. Despite the unfriendly weather Tom was going strongly until mid-March, when he sustained a nasty hip injury that forced him to abandon the adventure - for now, anyway. He was absolutely gutted and it's probably scant consolation to know he's not alone in having to shelve his ambitions: the amazing Sir Ranulph Fiennes - who also has Sussex connections - had to give up his hopes of a first winter Antarctic crossing after suffering frostbite in his hand (again) last month.
What is it about Sussex that inspires adventurers who can write about their travels and travails in such an engaging way? It's just occurred to me that intrepid round-the-world cyclist Josie Dew grew up in the Midhurst area, too. I do hope that the both she and Sir Ran are represented in the bookshelves of many of our lovely holiday cottages: a few pages of Josie will have you itching to jump on a bike and explore the South Downs, if not beyond.
Posted on 3 April 2013
The Easter holiday weather hasn't been quite what we'd hoped so far, but luckily Sussex has so much to see and do both indoors and out that it shouldn't have too much effect on your holiday. If it's going to be cold and threaten to snow, then I can't think of many better ways to spend time off than visiting some of our brilliant local attractions, having a hot meal of local produce in a lovely village pub beside a roaring log fire, or just curling up in one of our cosy cottages with a good book or a family board game. Many of our holiday homes and apartments have fabulous views across the downs or the sea, so if it's cold outside you can still admire the scenery from within.
That led me to think about recommending some of my favourite Sussex views, but it's incredibly hard to pick out just a few. Birling Gap must be one of the best, at the end of the glorious Seven Sisters in East Sussex. And I should think there were quite a few onlookers the other day when the two-man crew of a fishing boat found a World War II bomb off Beachy Head - the poor guys were told to anchor offshore and keep the device wet until a bomb disposal crew arrived. There must be quite a bit of unexploded ordnance in that area, since a 20-foot-long bomb was found by a fisherman there a couple of years ago.
I adore walking along the South Downs ridge where you get a panorama that juxtaposes
Posted on 26 March 2013
Several Sussex towns have actively embraced the idea of Transition Towns - an initiative that gets volunteers together in a communal bid to reduce the local carbon footprint and promote a more sustainable way of living and working. It's about promoting flexibility and resilience and sharing skills so that towns can continue to thrive against economic and energy crises. In East Sussex, Lewes, Mayfield, Brighton, Forest Row, Hastings and the Cuckmere Valley have got involved, while in West Sussex, Horsham, Worthing, Chichester and Shoreham have taken it on. In fact Lewes has a long history of independent thinking, right down to its own local currency - but don't worry, ordinary sterling is more widely accepted even there!
I think this Transition Town activity speaks volumes not only for the places and the sense of pride they engender, but for the local people. These are people who love the places they live in and want to make them better for future generations - not see them disappear. It’s a great attitude to help encourage tourists to Sussex as well. Some groups are more active than others and some are more commercially-aware than others: some have impressive websites, others are quite hard to track down - but it's worth the effort, even if you're just visiting on holiday for a week or two.
Posted on 22 March 2013
Saturday 23 March is a momentus day for the Bluebell Railway and at Amberley House Cottage Holidays we pass on our congratulations as the railway finally reopens to East Grinstead. It is 55 years since trains last ran between Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead and after closure in 1958 British Railways sold the track bed to over 30 different land owners. Finally being able to reopen is the culmination of an almighty effort not least the clearing of the Imberhorne cutting which had long been used as an amenity tip.
The East Grinstead Festival is about to commence and for two weeks special trains will run.starting tomorrow with a Champagne Breakfast and closing on the first day with an Evening Gala Pullman. We wish them well.
Posted on 13 March 2013
If you want evidence of a changing landscape, look no further than the W in Wikipedia. In search of information about a few famous Sussex windmills that I wanted to tell you about, I stumbled upon a long list of those that used to exist, with notes of when they fell down, disappeared or were last mentioned. Towns and villages needed their own mills, and with them came the specialist jobs of miller and millwright; it was an industry within an industry.
Take Shipley Mill, for example, which sadly closed to the public in 2009 but is in working order and you can still have a peek from outside its grounds. Known variously as King's Mill or Vincent's Mill, it was built in 1879 by a Horsham firm of millwrights and worked commercially until 1926. In 1906 it was bought by the writer, poet and political activist Hilaire Belloc, who lived there until his death, after which it was restored by a Burgess Hill millwrights a memorial to him. More recently, it found fame again as the setting for Jonathan Creek’s home in the TV series of that name.
Posted on 7 March 2013
Sussex rugby has been feeling proud of itself lately, with a couple of local players making an impact in the England Six Nations squad. New backs star Billy Twelvetrees, who's really made his presence felt in this campaign, grew up in the picturesque village of Wisborough Green and was playing for Pulborough minis before he was 10 years old; while forward Joe Launchbury, who got his break as a replacement for the injured Tom Palmer, is a former Christ's Hospital rugby captain who also played for Barns Green and Horsham.
The England side has looked exciting lately, not least with that stupendous win over the All Blacks that left us all reeling - though not as much as the All Blacks, who've been the subject of massive soul-searching at home ever since (defeated by the Poms? Unthinkable!) - and to see local lads playing a key part is a real pleasure. Now, clearly I am showing a bias towards England here, but there's something special about the Six Nations - more so, for me, than the World Cup - and if I have to single out one team to cheer for, what better than a team with Sussex connections?
Posted on 28 February 2013
Down in the southeast of our county, controversy is raging over proposals for a new link road between Hastings and Bexhill. It's become known as the Second Battle of Hastings and it's getting quite acrimonious.
The government and local council voices claim it's vital for trade, tourism and growth. They're supported by a lot of businesses, who would like to see the area regenerated, but strongly opposed by an increasingly large number of local residents, historians and wildlife and ecology campaigners. They say they're not against regeneration - far from it - but they fear this is not the way to achieve it.
Posted on 20 February 2013
Sussex University kicked off this year by paying £60,000 for some of Virginia Woolf's diaries in an auction at Sotheby's. The series of small engagement diaries were kept by Woolf for the last 11 years of her life, until she committed suicide in 1941 by walking into the River Ouse near her country home at Rodmell in Sussex with her pockets full of stones.
The university believes these diaries are important as they record her everyday life and personal thoughts, rather than the public persona of Virginia Woolf the novelist and essayist. They record conversations with such literary giants as TS Eliot, EM Forster and Christopher Isherwood and the economist John Maynard Keynes, as well as visits to the home of her sister Vanessa Bell at Charleston. But it was also a time when Woolf was dogged by mental health issues and some daily entries just consist of the word 'bed', indicating her fragile state. The final entry is a poignant note in pencil by her husband Leonard on 28 March, 1941 that says simply, 'died'.
Posted on 14 February 2013
Well I never, the latest Jack the Ripper theory centres on East Sussexagain. Actually this isn't such a surprise: theories about the identity of the notorious serial killer have already centred on the cosmopolitan melting-pot of Brighton, but this time it's Hastings in the frame, which does seem to come from left field.
Let's just step back a bit: Ripper theorists have long been citing Brighton and one of the favourite suspects is a surgeon called Robert Donston Stephenson who around the time of the notorious Whitechapel murders had been living above The Cricketers pub in Black Lion Street, then a notorious a prostitute hangout. It's not so far fetched, if you think about it - this was the age of the steam train and while Londoners could flock to sample the seaside delights at Brighton, of course traffic went the other way too. Stephenson moved to Whitechapel at just the right time; his surgeon's skills would have been handy if he felt like dismembering victims and to spice it up even more, some conspiracy theorists point to an occult connection. Apparently he was arrested at least twice in connection with the murders, but was never charged.
Posted on 5 February 2013
This month, adventurer Tom Brabham plans to set out on a fund-raising walk round the British coastline. The 22-year-old graphic designer from Hailsham, East Sussex, starts from Eastbourne Pier on 5th February on his 7,000-mile trek, which he estimates will take 10 months. It's all in aid of the Sussex Air Ambulance and he hopes to raise £3,000 - there's a Justgiving page if you'd like to sponsor him.
Tom will be walking in a clockwise direction and his route will take in some of Sussex's well-known tourist attractions, such as the Seven Sisters near the start of the route, Chichester Harbour in West Sussex and parts of the South Downs Way; he's aiming to stick to the coast as much as possible, although there will inevitably be places where he has to detour inland a bit. He's planning to camp out whenever he can and will be carrying all the equipment he needs - no armies of support vehicles - which sounds like a pretty chilly prospect at this time of year, so I suspect that any offers of budget or free accommodation en route would be gratefully received.
Posted on 23 January 2013
One of the loveliest sights I can think of is a flock of birds against a winter sky. I happen to live near a small Sussex nature reserve, in fact it’s also close to our Sussex offices and we regularly see geese and terns heading purposefully to or from it, especially in the late afternoon when the sky is darkening and the last remnants of sun dip towards the horizon. Well, maybe the sun part is wishful thinking on my part at the moment, but honestly the birds tend to fly to the west of our house, so you do see some good colours even on a dull day. We also used to hear its resident owls hunting on winter nights, but sad to say they haven't been around as much this season.
The RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks is quite wet at the moment. Surprise, eh? And I know it's on water meadows, but seriously, just before New Year it flooded and things just got worse for several days. They've tried hard to keep tracks and hides open where possible, but some areas had to be closed. The wetland trail remained open, at least as I write, although wellies were essential.
Posted on 15 January 2013
For seaside-lovers, West Wittering was a pretty good place to be over New Year. This might sound a trifle unlikely given that a beach isn't somewhere you'd normally expect to have a good time at New Year, but do bear with me.
New Year's Eve, if you recall, was pretty horrible weather-wise in Sussex: wet, windy and on the whole a good day for curling up in front of the fire with a good book. Lucky, then, that lots of our lovely Sussex holiday properties have everything you need to do just that. But a group of keen windsurfers were out making the most of the wild winds. According to a report in the Chichester Observer, one enthusiast said he spent two hours on the water because the mild temperature meant his hands didn't freeze. 'It was great weather,' he told the newspaper. 'It was horrendous for the general public but for us windsurfers it could not have been better.' For the past two years the windsurfers haven't been able to go out over the festive season as it really was too cold, and the West Wittering Windsurf Club usually closes over the winter. But if you're keen to have a go at windsurfing in warmer conditions, the Witterings provide a great location for it.
Ironically, New Year's Day dawned bright and beautiful - blue sky, little wind and yes, even
Posted on 3 January 2013
In December the celebrated Sussex resident Sir Patrick Moore died, aged 89. The accomplished and popular astronomer, who was a long-time resident of Selsey, had only ever missed appearing on one episode of his long-running TV programme The Sky at Night - and that was many moons ago.
As many people said in various ways when paying tribute to him, Sir Patrick inspired you to look up and see beyond the obvious. When you're looking for a spectacular night sky light pollution is often a big problem, but up on the South Downs or at the coast on a clear night it can be truly spectacular. Stargazing outdoors is a chilly pastime at this time of year and it does tend to be a bit cloudy down here in Sussex, too, but January often brings clear nights that make it very rewarding.
Posted on 22 December 2012
As we close the office for the christmas holiday it is time to wish you a happy and restful Christmas. We shall re open on Thursday 27 December in readiness for those making their plans for holidays in the new year be it a summer holiday or an early winter break.
This year has been challenging and again at the time of writing this blog it is raining! The poor weather in the spring and early summer had a significant impact on the market generally and then the Olympic and Paralympic Games caught just about everyone's imagination with little else happening! For 2013 we certainly don't have any Olympic Games to distract us and we cannot expect a repeat of this year's weather, can we?
Posted on 17 December 2012
OK, it's not quite as famous as 'How the leopard got its spots' but to many Sussex residents and regular visitors it's just as important. The iconic lighthouse at Beachy Head with its famous red and white stripes, was in danger of reverting to an ordinary, undistinguished grey appearance because Trinity House, the organisation which owns and operates all Britain's lighthouses, said it couldn't afford the paint job. So a year or so ago some determined local campaigners went into action. It’s something we blogged about last year! Fundraising activities included street collections, book sales and a well-subscribed walk round the lighthouse at a low spring tide (the only time such a walk is possible) and the necessary £27,000 has been raised.
You might think from this reaction that the lighthouse had always been red and white, but strangely enough it hasn't. Originally it was black and white, then red and granite, until 1980 when the iconic red and white stripes first appeared. These would have made it stand out in dark and fog, but these days technical navigation systems at sea are so advanced that the colours are just cosmetic.
Posted on 6 December 2012
We couldn't do a December blog without mentioning the festivities, could we? I think Sussex has something for just about everyone in the run-up to Christmas, and whether you like to spend the silly season curled up by the woodburner with a good book in one of our cosy cottages, discovering beautiful country walks and warm, welcoming pubs on your doorstep or just shopping and eating based in one of our lovely apartments, there's a warm welcome for you.
This month many Sussex towns - including Seaford, Worthing, Chichester and Newhaven - host delightful Christmas fares and markets, including special seasonal farmers' markets featuring delicious local produce which anyone in self-catering accommodation (or looking to buy tasty presents) really shouldn't miss, and most towns have special late night shopping evenings. One of the loveliest is Arundel by Candlelight, on Saturday 8 December, with music, a glittering tree, mulled wine, mince pies, hog roast, a carousel and of course shopping, with many streets closed to traffic so that you can stroll safely. There's a candlelight and lantern parade to brighten up the dark evening and of course Santa will be there for the children.
Posted on 3 December 2012
Great news for an East Sussex icon: Hastings Pier is to be fully restored thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of over £11m. The pier was destroyed two years ago by a fire so big that it took four days to put out and was believed, but never proved, to be a case of arson. Its owners appeared to have lost interest - the pier was already in a poor state of repair and had been closed to the public since 2006 - and a few months ago the government allowed Hastings council to issue a compulsory purchase order.
An interim grant has already enabled some structural work to be carried out but the latest cash injection means that Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust can take full ownership, restore the pier to safety and build a new visitor centre. Preserving the original design, engineering and heritage is a priority but the trust is keen to make it a 21st century visitor attraction too. The Western Pavilion was the only part to survive the fire and will become a bar and restaurant.
Posted on 23 November 2012
A couple of weeks ago we revisited one of our favourite West Sussex walks over Chanctonbury Hill. If you're staying in one of the local villages I'm sure you'll have discovered it by now - and if you're based in one of our lovely cottages in other parts of Sussex, it's easy to access as it's not far from the A24, the London to Worthing road. .
This time we took the path that winds up through glorious woods from the north side - it's a fair climb but not too long, and the footing is good. After about 15-20 minutes you reach the South Downs Way and a good view of the famous Chanctonbury Ring. This circle of beautiful trees is planted on the site of an iron age hill fort and although it's not the original, which was destroyed by the infamous storm of 1987, it's looking beautiful now with its autumn colours. Neolithic flint work and Bronze Age pottery have been found there and the site also contains some Roman remains - there was almost certainly a temple, with some other buildings that archaeologists haven't been able to identify.
Posted on 15 November 2012
To Midhurst the other day, with a friend who was visiting Sussex. As we both agreed, we don't look at our lovely surroundings enough. Look properly, that is, instead of taking them for granted.
Midhurst is a place I frequently drive through normally en route to somewhere else such as the lovely cottages we have in the Midhurst area. I always think I really must stop here sometime, and driving slowly through the town as one has to makes it even more tantalising when you don't have time to stop.
Posted on 7 November 2012
October was a poignant month in the history of the Bluebell Railway, one of Sussex's best-known tourist attractions. The man who founded the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society, Bernard Holden, died at the great age of 104 and a special train carried his coffin from Sheffield Park to Kingscote for the funeral.
Now this might sound like a sad subject to blog about, but it's not: Sussex has good reason to celebrate Holden's life as the Bluebell is a real asset to this region - a great day out for railway buffs, children and families at any time of year, or for a special occasion (a romantic dinner, perhaps?) on certain days you can book a table in its period-piece dining car.
Posted on 1 November 2012
There's no shortage in Sussex of what I call ‘days out houses' which we show under our Places to Visit - historic properties ranging from stately homes to quaint cottages, some privately owned and others in the hands of organisations like the National Trust and English Heritage - but one of my favourites is Standen, the Arts & Crafts house near East Grinstead.
I visited Standen first as a teenager, when grandiose piles that felt like museums did little for me unless they had an interesting art collection or a beautiful garden (which many do, of course). But what immediately grabbed me about this place was not just that it has both of those but also its timeless feel - it's a real house, you could imagine real people living real lives there through many different times. The building, designed by Philip Webb, was so original and ahead of its time and the interior is pure Arts & Crafts, from the William Morris wallpaper to the William de Morgan ceramics. Then there's the setting, on that hillside surrounded by glorious woodland and views over the Sussex High Weald - especially at this time of year, when the trees turn golden before shedding their leaves to reveal the full extent of the vista.
Posted on 23 October 2012
Hallowe'en and half term mean one thing; you stand a good chance of finding witches, ghosts and ghouls in the Sussex countryside. In the towns too, come to that. I should add that you generally only find them if you're looking for them, so granny and your smallest children needn't be alarmed, but they're bound to be there if you look in the right places.
The place to start is Pumpkin Cottage in Slindon, open daily 9.30am till dusk throughout this month. Here you can find your Hallowe'en essentials for making a pumpkin man, as well as tasty varieties for cooking - and they look brilliant. But it's not the only place to buy a good gourd; many pick-your-own farms in Sussexturn to pumpkins at this time of year too - and you can check out our selection of working farm retreats for your half-term break.
Posted on 16 October 2012
One author whose work often features on the bookshelves of our Sussex holiday cottages is the late Georgette Heyer. A hard-working and prolific writer, her tales of romance and intrigue are synonymous with Regency Sussex, as she lived in Horsham, Brighton and Hove during the 1930s and set many of her novels in the county. Apparently she carried out such highly detailed research into the period, its costumes, artefacts and architecture that it's amazing she found time to write so much - but she did, with a light but authentic touch. Some might call it chick-lit, but it's always fun and her historical details are spot on. And there's often smuggling involved - an industry, if you can call it that, which played a huge part in the lives of people in coastal Sussex over the centuries.
Sussex is still full of beautiful Regency architecture, the most famous example of course being the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. But many of our seafront towns have fine examples that tourists and connoisseurs alike will enjoy discovering. At 2, Lansdowne Place in Hove you can spot the blue plaque dedicated to architect Charles Augustin Busby (a man with a passion for Romanesque pillars), who designed the Kemp Town estate and the Brunswick Town development which you might think of as the east and west flanks of Brighton and Hove. Kemp Town, incidentally, was named after wealthy local MP Thomas Read Kemp.
Posted on 9 October 2012
At this time of year your thoughts have probably changed from the outdoor element of a holiday to the cosy, comfortable or romantic retreats - and where better than a nice Sussex pub? We've got our share of local breweries and a great choice of beers, and many pubs specialise in serving local produce with original recipes. Sussex has everything from gastropubs to gourmet pubs to pubs that serve really good, traditional grub with walker-sized portions, outside in the lovely garden on a sunny autumn day or inside by a warm hearth. Pubs you can hike to, ride to, cycle to or just potter along in the car. Pubs with fabulous Sussex Downs and sea views, or tucked away in picturesque villages.
One thing most of them have in common is that they've had to diversify and adapt in order to survive - and novelty seems to work well. You'll often find exhibitions of local arts, crafts or photography on display; one has trombones for urinals and some sell local produce as well as serving it. From local venison and lamb to fresh vegetables and rape seed oil, Sussex produce is diverse and delicious.
Posted on 3 October 2012
If you've been on or in the sea during your holiday on the Sussex coast this summer, spare a thought for the local lifeboat crews. The RNLI famously speeds to the rescue of stricken ships, but its dedicated and brave volunteers also help a wide variety of leisure craft and all sorts of people, from professional and amateur sailors to swimmers and people whose holiday fun goes a bit wrong. Lifeboats operate from Shoreham by Sea, Littlehampton, Selsey, Hastings, Newhaven and Rye, as well as Eastbourne, whose new, state-of-the-art Tamar-class lifeboat, aptly named Diamond Jubilee, took part in the Thames pageant this summer.
Incidents logged for the Eastbourne lifeboat in August included locating a swimmer in trouble - who it seems had a track record in undertaking risky swims; rescuing an exhausted kayaker who had the sense to call for help; finding that a 'floating body' reported off Pevensey Bay was, thankfully, just a log; and helping the crew of a catamaran that lost its outboard engine overboard while in the outer harbour. That happened on the same day they provided cover for the Eastbourne Air Display and took part in a demonstration with a search-and-rescue Sea King helicopter. The day seemed to develop something of a theme, as the volunteers were later called out to tow a motor cruiser and help a sail-training yacht that both had engine trouble. Thankfully all these incidents had happy endings.
Posted on 24 September 2012
This year's Glyndebourne festival details of which you can read under ‘What’s on’ was billed as the first one ever to run on wind power, thanks to a 67-metre turbine that was officially unveiled last January by Sir David Attenborough. It hasn't been the best summer for outdoor events but at least Glyndebourne, which claims it's the first UK arts organisation to generate its own power, could make positive use of some of the poor weather. If you're planning to come back for next year's festival, do check out our superb selection of East Sussex cottages.
Individual attempts to create renewable energy generally seem to be well received, but when they travel in packs and turn into offshore wind farms they usually provoke mixed feelings. Some people think they're beautiful and well worth the cost from an ecological point of view, others see them as an expensive waste of time that cause havoc among birds. A long-running consultation for a proposed wind farm off the Sussex coast closed in August and it will be interesting to see what happens.
Posted on 17 September 2012
No this is not a new addition to our own portfolio of Sussex holiday cottage!
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum,at Singleton, near Chichester, is currently working on the reconstruction of ‘Tindalls Cottage’, an early 18th century home which will, when complete, become the latest addition to the Museum’s superb collection of rescued historic rural buildings. The project which began last autumn will celebrate a landmark stage this September, at a special public event – ‘Raising the Frame’ – next weekend of 22nd and 23rd September, during which the timber frame will be erected in its location on the site.
Posted on 11 September 2012
One of our larger traditional market towns, Horsham in West Sussex was thrilled to host the Paralympic torch on its progress towards the second half of London 2012. This torch, rather than being flown in from Greece like The Other One, was lit with flints and taken on a more modest but nonetheless exciting tour of the country. The good burghers of Horsham had been a little miffed not to be part of things the first time round - especially when arch-rival Crawley got the nod - and the local press enjoyed some lively correspondence on the subject.
But hosting the Paralympic flame was a great honour and Horsham is good at occasions like that, with its lovely park - fittingly, with the leisure centre backing onto it - creating the perfect setting despite a dodgy weather forecast. I headed back to Greenwich Park to watch the Paralympic dressage, an event in which the British team has an unrivalled medal record, and it was great to see the Olympic spirit alive and well.
Posted on 4 September 2012
Today sees the opening of a 500 year old medieval barn together with three 19th Century oast houses at Great Dixter Gardens in Northiam East Sussex, once the home of horticulturist Christopher Lloyd. The timing of the opening could not be better as we enjoy some fine late summer weather here in Sussex that is forecast to run to the weekend.
The Grade II listed barn is one of the south east's largest surviving medieval timber framed barns and along with the oast houses has been restored as part of an £8m conservation project over a four year period. The threshing floor and a cattle feeding trough have been preserved thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
Posted on 29 August 2012
The other weekend we took some friends to Bognor Regis, because they'd never been there and felt it was 'one of those places you ought to see'. They weren't sure why, except that it's one of those famous Sussex seaside resorts, possibly the enticing mixture of its royally-decreed name and what is perceived a slightly tacky reputation. For one of them the fact that there's a good model shop in the town was good reason, but anyway, they wanted to see it for themselves.
Bognor Regis has a good beach. It's pebbles at the top, and quite a steep slope in places, but that makes for a clean place to put your gear down. When the tide goes out there's plenty of sand and as we walked the length of the beach, starting near the tranquil sailing club, we passed several very good sandcastles, a few games of football and volleyball (yes, beach volleyball actually on the beach!) and several kites..The sand was firm to walk on and I love the red seaweed. A good breeze was blowing and further along a couple of kitesurfers were having fun; at the other end, away from the few hardy swimmers, the jet skiis were in full zoom.
Posted on 23 August 2012
Taking a hot air baloon flight on a balmy summers evening is certainly on my list of things to do. It's funny but when you live here in Sussex you somehow never quite get round to grabbing the opportunity to get up there and see our fantastic county from the air. However now that my colleague Diane Lay who handles all our bookings for us has enjoyed such an experience then it is certainly quickly heading up my list of things to do.
Here are a few words from Diane following her and husband Brian's flight from the outskirts of Petworth in West Sussex. I can't think of a better place to start a flight and if you too are tempted we have some great holiday cottages in and around Petworth to offer you.
Posted on 13 August 2012
A nightjar was heard at Woods Mill earlier this year. Not quite 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square' but still great news as the bad weather has been disastrous for many birds. Last summer there were two evening walks with Sussex Wildlife Trust - one to hear nightingales, the other to hear the elusive nightjar; these take place on several evenings each year and I recommend them highly.
For the nightingale walk a beautiful evening is always a bonus. Setting out from the Woods Mill visitor centre, two miles north of the South Downs, after a fascinating slide show and talk by SWT expert Mike Russell, someone claimed to have heard our first nightingale within minutes. Others remained sceptical but in any case we heard a song thrush, which was delightful in itself. Mike led us to a spot where he was fairly sure nightingales were nesting and sure enough, right on cue, one began to sing.
Posted on 3 August 2012
Just back on the planet after watching Findon girl Kristina Cook help the British three-day event team to its Olympic silver medal. What a fantastic performance. Sad that Tina didn't win an individual medal too, despite being in contention until the bitter end, but that's how it goes. Greenwich Park looked glorious and the cross-country course worked well; it was tricky and twisty but the Brits rode superbly. It was also cleverly designed to showcase magnificent views of London and I'm sure some of the iconic images of London 2012 will come from the equestrian events.
Sure, I queued with the other 54,999 people to get into Greenwich station at the end of the day, but it wasn't bad and the trains to and from Sussex worked very well. In fact, if you're based in one of our lovely Sussex holiday cottages this might be a good time for a day trip to the capital now that the athletic events have also started - I gather all the warnings about staying away have worked so well that you can get a seat on the Tube in rush hour!
Posted on 1 August 2012
It's hard to believe that not so long ago I was writing about the depleted levels of water in our Sussex reservoirs. Back in April I couldn't recall having seen Ardingly Reservoir so depleted, but when I drove over there last week it looked full to the brim, although I've no idea how the underground reserves are doing. We had a picnic near the Ashdown Forest Visitor Centre on what I think was the first dry, clear evening in ages and it was such a pleasure to be outside, enjoying the glorious view as it changed in the evening light.
Sussex was one of the last drought-ridden counties to have its hosepipe ban lifted since we are the sunshine county, but that didn't happen until it had poured non-stop (or so it seemed) for months. When the bans were introduced, didn't some boffin say it would need to rain every day between then and Christmas to replenish stocks? It did seem like tempting fate... Happily, it's looking much brighter out there now.
Posted on 1 August 2012
Sussex truly is a picturesque part of the British Isles and is adored by thousands of tourists annually. Whether they're visiting for the sun drenched coast or to explore the National Park, Sussex hotels and campsites fill up quickly with returning guests. So what are your options if you're planning a holiday for a large group of people? ...
Posted on 27 July 2012
But it's a boon for holidaymakers. It's hard to go wrong with a tranquil holiday home within the national park, which covers more than 1,600 sq km containing so much history and culture. Staying in a lovely self-catering cottage within its boundaries you'll have leisure amenities right on the doorstep, from walking, riding and cycling opportunities to paragliding, hang-gliding, mountain boarding and zorbing - that's the one where you roll down a hill inside a transparent bubble, and I say 'you' for a good reason.
A great idea for families is to look for a holiday cottage on a working farm and see how Sussex farmers help look after the environment - we have a great selection of properties. I was very glad the Big Butterfly Count last month, with teams covering East Sussex and West Sussex, managed to be on quite a nice day amid all the rain. We're proud of our biodiversity round here!
Posted on 24 July 2012
No, it's nothing to do with The Jam or the Jubilee - it's even older and nonetheless intriguing. Petworth House, near Midhurst, opened its network of tunnels on 21-22 July for a rare opportunity to get right below stairs at this iconic stately home. They may have been originally designed to enable servants to go about their business without being seen, but they found a highly worthwhile use during the Second World War as air-raid shelters for children - some local, some evacuees from the Chelsea Day Nursery that was set up in the servants' quarters, others from areas where their homes had been bombed. We have plenty of lovely cottages in this area and it's easily accessible along the A272 if you're staying in one of our Petersfield and Winchester properties.
One thing you're sure to find in a dark tunnel is bats. If you want to see and hear them a little less up-close-and-personal, go along to Buchan Country Park between Crawley and Horsham, which is a real haven for the crepuscular creatures. Sussex Wildlife Trust's wonderful evening bat walks are worth a try, with a sonar detector that lets you hear their amazing sounds as they flit around the lake.
Posted on 16 July 2012
The Olympics are less than a month away now and at last the exciting Olympic torch relay is coming to Sussex - getting closer and closer to the end of its journey. It crosses the border into our lovely county on the morning of Monday, 16 July at Rogate in West Sussex, then travels to Chichester, Bognor and Arundel before finishing the day with a massive party on the seafront at Brighton. The party is free to attend and there'll be music, dance and cultural performances - the sort of thing Brighton does so well.
If you want to keep following the torch's progress you'll need to get up early, as it leaves Pavilion Gardens at 7.20 the following morning (Tuesday 17th) for its journey towards East Sussex through Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings - where another evening celebration is on the cards, at the Stade Open Space. Then, early on the Wednesday morning, the torch will be borne off to historic Battle Abbey and on to the funicular railway in Hastings old town, before disappearing into over the Kent border (feel free to check out our sister website for holiday cottages with a bird's eye view of that leg of the relay).
This is no low-key affair: quite apart from all the people lining its route, the torch is accompanied by something like 35 runners, who are each putting in up to 30 miles a day, along with support motorcyclists and cyclists to protect it. One of the torch-bearers on the East Sussex leg will be daredevil motorbike stunt rider Eddie Kidd, from Peacehaven, whose career came to an abrupt end when he suffered brain injuries in a crash back in 1996. The torch-bearers aren't all celebrities but what they have in common is that they've been nominated by people who think they truly deserve the honour, so come along and cheer them on wherever you are in Sussex - and if you haven't already booked your cottage, try our late availability page now!
Posted on 11 July 2012
Blue flag beaches abound on the Sussex coast, from West Wittering all the way round to Hastings and beyond, and July is the month when holidaymakers start flocking towards the water in the hope that it's warm enough to swim. Some, of course, swim anyway whatever the weather and I take my hat off to this hardy bunch given the weather we have had! As a kid I used to take trips to Worthing in the school holidays and will always remember the white-haired gent who walked to the sea every morning, swam for five or ten minutes, stood on his head on the beach and then strode off. Even the shortest swim is worth the effort - just make sure you've got a nice warm towel and a flask of hot tea waiting! It's part of the great British seaside tradition, after all.
For those who don’t want to get quite so wet, though, the Paddle Round the Pier at Hove Lawns is the world's biggest free beach and watersports festival and alongside watersports it features street sports, live music and of course plenty of 'have a go' opportunities.
Posted on 10 July 2012
For large group's of holiday makers traveling to the sunny depths of Sussex and the South Downs, an ideal option is to stay in one of the many holiday cottages on offer.
Posted on 6 July 2012
Copywright Samantha Lamb.
What's the connection between Sussex and the London Olympics? Well, if you're an equestrian enthusiast, the All-England Jumping Course at Hickstead, which we in Sussex call our 'local international', wanted to stage Olympic events and could easily have done so but the powers that be decided to put them in the thick of things, up there close to the Olympic Park. Actually the riders quite like that idea in some ways, because they felt pretty cut off competing in Hong Kong for the Beijing Games; someone commented that it was like being at a World Championships but lacked the atmosphere of a real Olympics.
Anyway, I digress: it's exciting when the Hickstead opens for the year's competitions, it’s a sign that summer is finally here!. They branched out into arena polo recently, with an international fixture that created quite a buzz around here so I hope it'll be repeated. You can now buy your tickets for both the Derby meeting – that's the one where they have to tackle the formidable Derby bank – and the Longines Royal International in July, which hosts the famous King George V Gold Cup and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and is a top 'showing' show as well.
Posted on 18 June 2012
We've had the sort weather that makes getting out on the allotment seem worthwhile. Wet weather often feels much better when you go out and do something than when you just look out of the window, but working on the allotment is an exception: you just sink into the ground, although the weight of all the Sussex Weald clay on your boots probably does wonders for muscle tone. Still, I'm pleased to say that my attempt at boosting Sussex produce is now well and truly under way.
But it's a drop in the ocean compared to many people, and you only have to visit one of this county's fabulous farmers' markets, or the little independent Sussex farm shops dotted around, for proof of that. From artisan bread, fresh fruit and vegetables and locally-reared meat to deservedly popular cooking alternatives such as rapeseed oil, Sussex has so much to offer that you'll never go hungry in your self-catering cottage.
Posted on 11 June 2012
Hickstead is a fabulous international equestrian venue right on our doorstep in Sussex. But this month something really special is happening, and it's free, yes a holiday day out for nothing!.
On 18-19 June, the All-England Jumping Course at Hickstead hosts the British Para Dressage Championships – a major event in itself, but this year it's also the final Olympic selection event. The organisers want lots of supporters there to boost the para dressage profile and help the squad (both human and equine) get a feel for the atmosphere of a major show. The entry list includes top riders Sophie Wells, Natasha Baker, Anne Dunham and Sophie Cristiansen, as well as nine-times gold medallist Lee Pearson.
Posted on 8 June 2012
June is the month when many parts of Sussex hold their annual Art Trails, or Open Studios. There's a wealth of talent in East and West Sussex from painters and sculptors to jewellery and textile designers, wood turners, furniture makers and much, much more, and each year many of them open their studios to visitors. Not only do you get to see some truly inspiring work in a relaxed, friendly environment – it's not like visiting a formal gallery – but the artist will usually be on hand to chat about their work, or about the art scene in general. Most of the work is for sale but although you may well end up buying a lovely keepsake of your visit, there's no pressure to buy.
The Adur Art Trail (now to 17 June) showcases the Adur Art Collective, based around Lancing, Shoreham-by-Sea and Southwick. Most of the studios are open between approximately 10am-5pm at weekends, but some open during the week too – pick up their leaflet in local tourist outlets and libraries. There are workshops, talks and demos too, and if you're too late to book a place on one of those why not join in the One Big Drawing event. This will be a huge, collaborative mixed-media creation, anyone of any ability can take part for a small donation towards materials.
Burgess Hill Open Studios event takes place over this weekend and then the weekend of
Posted on 31 May 2012
June is Jubilee month, as I'm sure you already know unless you've been visiting another planet (though we haven't branched out into space with our holiday cottages... yet!!). This month Britain is celebrating the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and there's nothing like a royal event to get this country in a party mood. There will be street parties and festivals in towns and villages throughout Sussex – far too many to list here, but do check the internet and local press for information as there's bound to be something happening near your holiday cottage. Possibly even within walking distance, so you won't have to worry about driving.
Sussex certainly has its fair share of the 4,000 Jubilee beacons that are being lit around the country. Towns all along the coast from Chichester to Hastings, inland to Crowborough on the Ashdown Forest and west to the Sussex Weald, will see festivities galore as the beacons are lit on bank holiday Monday, 4 June. Lighting times are being co-ordinated throughout the country so do check local information to find out what's happening and when. If we're lucky enough to get clear weather, and probably even if we don't, it'll be truly spectacular. If you're bringing a large party to the parties, I hope you've found one of our lovely town and country house retreats to stay in that sleep eight or more guests.
Posted on 24 May 2012
A Sussex country show that's always worth visiting is Heathfield Agricultural Show this coming weekend (26 May) – a true traditional agricultural show whose purpose has always been to show visitors the provenance of meat and the important part farming plays in getting food to our tables. There'll be farm animals to look at and learn about, plus showing classes for sheep, cattle, pigs and horses which always make a lovely spectacle. An Olympic-themed flower show (with classes for both professionals and novices) and a display of vintage tractors complete the line-up, so whether you're watching or taking part it promises to be a great day out.
View our East Sussex cottages where we still have late availability and given our god weather at long last many are taking the opportunity to get away.
Posted on 15 May 2012
e Whatever your interest in horsepower whether it's at Goodwood or Cowdray, we have two superb and high quality Sussex executive homes to offer you that are perfect for your executives and corporate guests who enjoy the high profile horsepower events here in Sussex!
Shopwyke Manor dates back one thousand years, a manor home steeped in local history and today presented to the highest standard complete with maid service. For top executives and key guests it is a special place to stay allowing you to entertain in style during our premier events..
Posted on 10 May 2012
May is the month for festivals in Sussex, with some of the best you'll find anywhere.
Running from 5-27 May is the famous Brighton Festival, England's biggest arts festival, with this year's guest director Vanessa Redgrave inspiring a whole range of events that explore some of her favourite themes ranging from theatre, literature and politics to humanitarian and social issues. Alongside it runs the Brighton Fringe, the third-largest fringe festival in the world with something like 675 events over three weeks. Just about every one of Brighton's fabulous arts venues, plus some quite unexpected temporary ones, is pressed into action and it's always a showcase for major and up-and-coming talent as well as a forum for ideas and debates.
Posted on 1 May 2012
Dust off your hiking boots and head for Ashdown Forest. It's fabulous at any time but on a clear, sunny day and with the trees filling with new leaf growth you can see so much. It's not just the views, though – just look at the textures. Windswept grasses against soft heather, dark birch and oak trunks... if you're given to taking a sketchbook on holiday, do bring it here. The walking doesn't have to be hard; plenty of hills but if you start from one of the car parks (which are free, by the way) and do a circuit, there's nothing too arduous.
The forest has plenty of lovely places to see even if you don't really enjoy walking. Winnie The Pooh country, around Hartfield East Sussex, is delightful, and it’s worth calling in at the visitor centre, which has plenty of information – from maps and trails to how to recognise different types of newt – and usually an art exhibition. The volunteer staff are well-informed and helpful.
Posted on 13 April 2012
I'm thinking fitness with the Brighton Marathon taking place this weekend and the Olympic torch relay route - with its Sussex sections, of course – being announced recently. I just wish the thinking could translate into a bit more doing... don't we all?
The Brighton Marathon course always takes in the best local scenery, from lovely Preston Park and the Regency-era Royal Pavilion to some fabulous stretches of coast with magnificent views. This year's route is designed to be a bit faster than usual, with one of the big climbs around Ovingdean East Sussex taken out and an extra loop added around Portslade, West Sussex instead. A good knock-on effect should be some extra trade for the local shops and cafes around Portslade as the run draws a host of visitors..
Posted on 3 April 2012
Well I’m happy to report that finally the Easter holidays are here. We’ve had a busy lead up to Easter in Sussex this year – and if you're spending your Easter in one of our pretty Sussex cottages as I know many are, you won't be disappointed. I really think there's something here for everyone. Sussex has lots of lovely old churches and, of course, two magnificent cathedrals – Arundel and Chichester; National Trust and other stately homes and gardens start opening up for the summer season, complete with Easter egg trails in many cases; and, as if you could miss it on the South Downs, it's the tail end of lambing time.
If you appreciate ecclesiastical architecture from outside as well as in, I recommend the view of Arundel castle from the train. I caught the train from Pulborough to Chichester the other week and as the line curves around Arundel you're treated to the most glorious sight of the cathedral and castle towering above the flat coastal plain. Look the opposite way and you're faced with the South Downs escarpment. In fact the whole journey is beautiful and really shows some of the scenic variety Sussex has to offer.
Posted on 21 March 2012
Do you fancy a fabulous day out with birds of prey?. You can do this at several places in Sussex – including the Sussex Falconry Centre in, appropriately named Birdham, and West Sussex Falconry at Compton, near Chichester. There’s also Huxleys, in Horsham, where owners Julian and Steph and their team give a day to remember. We have some handy holiday cottages in this part of the county as well so take a look!
The 'Raptor Experience Day' at Huxleys starts with coffee and owls, a bit Harry Potter-ish. Gloves are lent out with an introduction to the little owls who squeak happily, and a tawny owl who loves having his feathers stroked. Perhaps the highlight of the day is: the hawk walk with Denver the Harris hawk snug in his travelling basket, At the appropriate place usually with the cover of Sussex woodland he displays his skills. It's a bit like walking a dog, except Denver flies and sits in trees. The walk they take you on takes in impressive views over the Sussex Weald and south towards the South Downs at Truleigh Hill.
Posted on 8 March 2012
That bastion of British seaside tradition, the pier, is disappearing fast. These iconic wooden structures seem to burn down or get ravished by storms at an alarming rate and those that remain become national treasures.
So when you find a fully-functioning pier – and the Brighton Pier is one – what's the attraction? It's tacky, it's noisy and there's probably a cold wind blasting through the boards. You'll burn cash in the amusement arcade, perhaps feel a bit dizzy as you peer at the surging sea below or shudder at the recollection of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock gangsters, and the kids will clamour to go on the fairground rides before demanding candyfloss; but there's an indoor fish-and-chip restaurant and three bars and, let's face it, there's just something about the atmosphere. Perhaps because it's been enjoyed by so many people for so long, or perhaps because – and it's easy to forget this – back in 1823 it was the landing stage for ferries to and from Dieppe, it has a certain je ne sais quois, a timeless, feelgood experience for anyone and everyone.
Posted on 29 February 2012
It's 25 years since the Great Storm of 1987 that wreaked havoc across Southeast England. Arguably we've had a few 'great storms' since then, but the 1987 one really did change the landscape. Well-known views disappeared overnight as 75mph winds swept through and felled trees and shrubs – many of them centuries old – in their path. Ironically, though, there was a silver lining for visitors as many other vistas across the Sussex Weald reappeared that had long been hidden.
At Wakehurst Place, the country estate near Ardingly in West Sussex which is now linked with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the damage was keenly felt both in the gardens and in the surrounding woodland. More than 25,000 trees came crashing down and it took five years to clear the damage, let alone begin the restoration process. But in the aftermath of that storm features such as the Asian Heath Garden were created that are now much-loved parts of the scenery, and some of the trees planted then now reach 50ft (you might not be surprised to hear that they're eucalyptus).
Posted on 20 February 2012
Appropriately for a region that's so popular with walkers, some of our country and coastal cottages can accommodate your dog as well as yourself. We don't discriminate, but we'd love to see more of our very own Sussex Spaniels visit, as this lovely breed – stockier and stronger than other spaniels – is on the Kennel Club's 'at risk' list. It's always described as having a sort of rolling gait, which makes me think of sailors and seems rather appropriate to our coastal county.
Although they're working dogs they have a kind, confident nature that makes them good pets too. The English Setter and the Irish Terrier are also on the list as more people turn to exotic breeds of the sort favoured by slebs, sorry, that's the breed formerly known as celebrities. Paris Hilton and her Chihuahua have a lot to answer for.
It's always sad when a native breed begins to die out. It's not just dogs – ponies, cattle and sheep are affected too, and I'm sure there are other examples. We don't have our own Sussex ponies but our local Southdown sheep are having a bit of a revival, mainly because they grow fast and taste good but let's face it, the Downs just wouldn't be the same without flocks of these no-nonsense, leg-at-each-corner creatures. No country walk is complete without the sight and sound of local sheep.
Another Sussex breed that's still popular is our very own chicken. They seem to come in all sorts of colours, from brown or red to speckled, lavender or even golden (these apparently popular in Australia). They're good foragers and very productive on the egg front and they get on well with people, so they're popular as garden pets.
The Sussex Weald is full of deer, of course – anyone who's walked in the woods will have come across the signs, if not seen them. But if you're after something a little more exotic – barring the odd escaped wallaby – another inhabitant that's on the increase is the wild boar, a nocturnal fella so you're less likely to come across him, although you may well see the signs – look for rubbing posts and wallowing holes as well as tracks, especially in woodland on the Kent/Sussex border. They're a bit controversial as they can damage crops, but it's sad to hear they're popular with poachers.
So keep walking, keep looking... you never know what you might meet.
Posted on 10 February 2012
Half term is here, and our lovely Sussex countryside offers so much to see and do. Walks are always an option, but as it's February we thought you might like something warmer.
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton makes a lovely day out (it occasionally has to close when conditions are too icy, so it's worth phoning ahead if the weather's iffy). You get to stretch your legs strolling around the scenic site and its outdoor attractions, but if the rain or snow descends there's plenty of indoor stuff too. Discover how our ancestors lived, how they built their homes and worked their land as you explore the museum's village which includes farmsteads, a Tudor kitchen and a working watermill. There's also an amazing collection of buildings 'rescued' from the local area – historic structures that would otherwise have been demolished.
Posted on 3 February 2012
We're enjoying a winter cold snap here in Sussex with beautiful crisp clear days, in my view that's what winter is all about and it's pleasing to avoid all the snow that blighted us last winter!.
Our winter booking activity has been far more active with many guests enjoying short breaks away in Sussex even at this coldest time.
I read an article in the Independent recently on the best winter walks. We have long held the view that getting on to the Sussex chalk downland whether walking the South Downs Way or enjoying the myriad of paths and bridleways that cross Englands latest National Park is a wonderful way to enjoy the winter air and our stunning scenery when it's at its bleakest time.
Posted on 17 January 2012
The legend of Devil's Dyke on the top of the South Downs above Brighton is far more romantic than the down-to-earth explanation offered by geologists: that Britain's largest dry valley was formed during the last Ice Age by the ebb and flow of ice over its chalk landscape.
Ancient parisoners took it as gospel that the valley was the Devil's work, carved out of the land by the Devil himself so the sea would flood the Weald and drown all its God-worshippers. Man has lived on this landscape for 5,000 years, building farmsteads in the Bronze Age and hillforts in the Iron Age to defend against invaders and farming corn and grazing sheep at Devil's Dyke in the Middle Ages.
Posted on 20 December 2011
Julian, Debbie, Rebecca and myself would like to take the opportunity of wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year..
We have many guests enjoying a Sussex holiday cottage over Christmas this year whether gathering to see family or to just enjoy this beautiful part of southern England at this festive time. A cosy Sussex cottage with roaring fire is appealing at the best of times but particularly when it is specially decorated for the festive period. Step back hundreds of years and a Sussex Christmas was always spent with immediate family and maybe with a few villagers much merriment was had.
Posted on 25 November 2011
The Beachy Head Lighthouse at the foot of the chalk downs at Beachy Head in East Sussex is one of the most famous landmarks in England and attracts thousands of holiday makers to this wonderful spot at the far end of the South Downs every year.
Sadly the iconic structure is set to lose its distinctive red and white stripes as Trinity House, the owners of the Lighthouse can no longer justify spending money on maintaining the paintwork and it will be left to return to its natural grey granite.
Posted on 15 November 2011
From now until January 2012 Chichester Cathedral's North Transept is transformed by a 25ft pair of dove wings suspended from the ceiling.
Posted on 15 October 2011
The first one was so successful they decided to organise another! This will be the second year of the Arundel Food Festival. The West Sussex town famous for its historical castle that is home to the Dukes of Norfolk is ideally located between the South Downs and the coast meaning there is a feast of fresh foods on offer.
As well as local produce stalls and markets the surrounding restaurants, cafes and shopkeepers all get in on the act too. The event starts with a Farmers Market and for those keen to have a hands on experience, there will be guided walks with a ranger from the South Downs National Park Authority which will explore the relationship between food and farming on the South Downs. This will be followed by the Arundel Picnic.
Posted on 13 October 2011
From this weekend it is a mere ten weeks to Christmas Day. I won't break that down into the number of shopping days left apart from saying there are plenty!!
Well it's certainly not too early to consider celebrating Christmas and New Year in a cosy cottage in the heart of the Sussex countryside. After a long year and all those preparations you probably deserve it!
Posted on 6 October 2011
This month is the 945th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings where England changed forever and almost certainly the single most significant event on the soil of Sussex.
The Battle of Hastings fought on 14 October 1066, changed English history. We all know that William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey and defeated the army of King Harold at Battle.where Battle Abbey now stands. Well perhaps that's not the case!
Posted on 23 September 2011
I took part in the South Downs Way Walk over the weekend as part of the Horsham 100 challenge in aid of the Dame Vera Lynn Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy. Joining my colleagues from our sister company Guy Leonard & Co we relay walked 100 kilometres from Arundel in West Sussex to Beachy Head in East Sussex.
Although I have lived in Sussex for the majority of my life it is always a pleasure to get the chance to walk on the South Downs. We had five relays in total and I walked the final stretch from Bo Peep Lane at Alciston through to Beachy Head.
Posted on 15 September 2011
We still have late availability for September and October in a number of our Sussex and South Downs holiday cottages. Check our Autumn availability pages where a number of properties have late availability offers for your imminent arrival.
So it's not too late to bag some fine Autumn weather and enjoy Sussex and the South Downs before a number of our glorious country houses and gardens close for the season. Nearest to our offices here in Pulborough West Sussex, Parham House and Gardens, a beautiful Elizabethan home will close its doors at the end of September and our National Trust Houses such as Petworth House, Standen, Batemans and Uppark will close by the end of October.
Posted on 9 September 2011
The Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the south of England. It is now running throughout September and will finish on Tuesday 4 October 2011.
With local producers, growers, restaurants, bars and food retailers firmly at it’s heart, it’s a showcase of the fantastic food, drink and hospitality to be found in the city and surrounding Sussex.
Posted on 31 August 2011
I never get around to reading the weekend papers until much later in the week, so some news is way out of date, but in this case I'm definitely not too late!
The Telegraph Online published an article on the top ten places to visit over the Bank Holiday weekend featuring Arundel Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk in West Sussex as number one in Britain. Anyone who read their articles more promptly than me would have had time to get to Arundel in time for the conclusion of this year's Arundel Festival! If you didn't Arundel and Arundel Castle still awaits your visit.
Posted on 22 August 2011
I spent an enjoyable day on Saturday at the Shoreham Airshow, one of our listed What's on events in Sussex. It was good to have a few hours free to enjoy a great day out.
The back drop at Shoreham by Sea is really picturesque. Not only is Shoreham Airport the oldest civillian airport in the country with its art deco designed terminal building, it has views straight to the South Downs and the imposing Lancing College to the north.
Posted on 20 August 2011
I wrote in my previous blog about the expected impact the Olympic Games will have next year and in particular the number of visitors we hope we will welcome from the United States and elsewhere overseas.
The buzz, competition and sheer atmosphere that will surround the Olympics will bring a vibrance to London that visitors will relish. In addition many will also want to combine and contrast the excitement of having a UK vacation at this great time with experiencing the history we have to offer.
Posted on 14 August 2011
I have begun thinking about our friends who will be visiting from overseas between now and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. I read a statistic very recently via Facebook that there are approximately 43 million US citizens aged between 35 and 60 who either already do or have shown an interest in taking their vacation in the United Kingdom.
As we build towards next summer I wonder how many will actually make the journey across. It will be interesting to see whether the impact of the Olympics is limited to just the period of the games or whether its influence will go beyond that and we see a growth in tourism over a much broader period as a result.
Posted on 5 August 2011
The BBC Antiques Roadshow is coming to Sussex in September. The roadshow will be at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton near to Goodwood on 8 September 2011. Admission to the roadshow is between 9.30am and 4.30pm and will be free.
For anyone who wants a great day out in a most scenic part of West Sussex that is within the South Downs National Park then the Weald and Downland Museum is a perfect setting. We're not expecting you to go on holiday with some of your finest treasures, but if you do have that special book or ornament that has always intrigued you then there could be an oportuniy to present it to one of the BBC experts!
Posted on 27 July 2011
After eight years of planning and four years of construction, the Hindhead Tunnel on the A3 finally opens to traffic today. The tunnel at 1.2 miles is the longest road tunnel in Great Britain and it is reckoned it will cut 20 minutes off the journey between Portsmouth and Guildford.
The Hindhead Tunnel passes beneath the Devils Punch Bowl an area of outstanding natural beauty that is owned by the National Trust and is close to the Sussex border with Surrey. It is expected that the opening of the tunnel will lead to many visitors now wanting to come and enjoy the western end of the South Downs at Petersfield and on towards Winchester. The old road junction at Hindhead was such a barrier to easy access to this beautiful area of Sussex and Hampshire Downland.
Posted on 21 July 2011
With its own Cathedral, Theatre and Harbour, Chichester is chic, beautiful and compact and deservedly the Capital of West Sussex. There is history on every corner, but also does modern very well too. In 2002 Chichester opened its own South Downs Planetarium, one of the largest in the UK, with spectacular shows of the night sky.
Posted on 18 July 2011
The Lodge at Warningcamp just a mile from Arundel in West Sussex has featured in a holiday article published by the Daily Mail online.
A traditional gate keeper's home it forms the centre piece of an article about the historic town of Arundel and the beautiful Arun Valley. We recently placed a journalist and her young family at the Lodge for an enjoyable few days away.
Posted on 15 July 2011
If you want the most hours of sunshine in the British Isles then you'll find it here in Sussex. Yes it's pretty much given that Sussex has the best climate in the UK.
If you want the most hours of sunshine on the coast, then head to Eastbourne, for good reason it's officially called the Sunshine Coast with award winning beaches and an excellent sunshine record. I can't remember it ever raining there!
Posted on 6 July 2011
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Debbie and I have just joined Andrew, Julian and Rebecca at Amberley House Cottage Holidays.
My background over the last couple of years has been in Events Management, mainly organising Weddings, Conferences, Open Air Concerts etc and I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge and skills to the team and to the holiday lettings market.
Posted on 1 July 2011
I wrote about the Petworth Festival in an earlier blog, so now it's only right to comment on the Chichester Festivities which has one of the longest established festivities programmes in the country.
The Chichester Festivities were featured in an article by Nick Trend writing in the travel section of the Daily Telegraph where he listed ten reasons to take a break in July. Most of us don't need an excuse to travel, so he made a selection of the more offbeat or happening places to see.
Posted on 30 June 2011
Two journalists from Country Life Magazine have this week written about their experiences walking the South Downs Way, describing it as "one of England's epic walks"
Here are the opening paragraphs of their piece that I felt were worth sharing since they beautifully portray the wonderful chalk downland we enjoy here in Sussex and East Hampshire. The South Downs of course is England's very latest National Park.
Posted on 28 June 2011
A giant lobster, birthdays, brass and boogie woogie all combine in Petworth West Sussex in July for the 33rd annual festival.
The Festival begins on Saturday 9 July with the town fete in the grounds of Petworth House featuring outstanding street theatre acts, stilt walkers, comedy and strolling music with the Swervy World Band.
Posted on 14 June 2011
Three of the Top 10 Butterfly walks in England recently featured by the National Trust are in the south east of England. Two are on the South Downs while the third at Selborne in Hampshire is within the Western Weald area of the South Downs National Park.
For an enjoyable day out walking, here they are;
Posted on 11 June 2011
To celebrate Sussex Day on Thursday 16 June, Horsham District Council’s Health Walks team has organised two free to attend scenic walks on the South Downs.
Both walks start from the car park in the centre of Steyning High Street. Those who wish to attend are being invited to meet at 9.45am to start walking at 10am. There are two circular walks, one of 4.5 miles (2 hours) and one of 6 miles (2.5 to 3 hours).
Posted on 8 June 2011
The legendary E - Type Jaguar celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2011 and has been seen in Sussex already, and is still to come to Sussex in real style!
One of my 'scouts' informs me, the owner of Keesha House in Eastbourne East Sussex, that BBC Top Gear were filming with the E - Type at Beachy Head over the weekend for the series to be broadcast in the autumn. It is a fantastic backdrop and great road for such a legendary car running parallel with the chalk cliffs and sweeping behind the Belle Tout Lighthouse before heading west towards Birling Gap.
Posted on 5 June 2011
A new South Downs Field Guide will help holidaymakers recognise the wildlife and identify key birds, insects, flowers and crops around them in the South Downs National Park. This illustrated publication in full colour is a response to public feedback that walkers, cyclists and those on holiday in the South Downs, Sussex and East Hampshire needed more maps and guides.
Produced in partnership with the Field Studies Council (FSC) the guide includes a map of The South Downs National Park, information about the landscape and habitats of the South Downs and the countryside code. There are beautiful detailed images and specially commissioned images.
Posted on 2 June 2011
Castles, cathedrals and the Cavern Club, historians make their choices in key sites for Britain's past.for a new book that has been published by BBC Books today.
Battle Abbey in East Sussex has been placed in the top ten in a book covering 100 places that made Britain. Battle Abbey was of course where Harold lost both his crown and his life to William the Conqueror in 1066.
Posted on 29 May 2011
Arundel is Sussex in style according to the official town website when describing this quintessential market town. It is also a magnet for tourists who are attracted to Arundel's historic castle and cathedral.along with its art galleries, cafe bars, pubs and restaurants.
Arundel is also a successful town for Amberley House Cottage Holidays since we are able to offer an increasing number of Arundel holiday cottages for your enjoyment from the Sail Loft in a stunning setting overlooking the River Arun to cosy xottages at the top of the town and Byass House a gorguous Georgian townhouse that can sleep up to ten guests close to Arundel Castle and with the most wonderful south facing private walled garden.
Posted on 28 May 2011
With the French Open tennis in full swing it will soon be time to turn our attention once again to Wimbledon and as a tennis fan it is a time of year I particularly enjoy. The days are long and it's the official start to summer!
The AEGON International Tennis in Devonshire Park in Eastbourne, East Sussex is held just before. The tournament an annual favourite on the sunshine coast attracts many of the top professional players. For many visitors coming to Eastbourne, spending time in Devonshire Park makes a perfect day as well as enjoying a relaxing break in this most traditional of towns found right beneath the magnificent chalk cliffs of Beachy Head.
Posted on 21 May 2011
We still have availability across Sussex for this coming Bank Holiday weekend. Whether you fancy a last minute long weekend away or a well earned week off we have Sussex holiday cottages and luxury house retreats still available for arrivals from either Friday or Saturday.
Come and take time out in the South Downs, enjoy the diverse Sussex coastline from The Witterings through to Camber Sands, sample a few of our fine country pubs in the most beautiful East Sussex and West Sussex villages, or visit some of our 55 local visitor attractions with enough choice to satisfy everyone's interest from young families visiting Fishers Farm Park or Drusillas, to those who enjoy somewhere a little quieter like Firle Place or Borde Hill Gardens.
Posted on 16 May 2011
Eighteen restored kilns at Amberley Museum West Sussex which had been used for burning chalk with coal to create lime, were oficially opened by Prince Michael of Kent, the museum's president.
The Belgian - designed De Witt kilns were built in 1905. Over the years the heat inside the kilns caused them to distort making them structurally unsafe. An award of nearly £400,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund allowed the museum to restore the kilns, improve public access and provide a new exhibition called 'Life and Lime at Amberley'
Posted on 14 May 2011
Having lived in Sussex all my life, there are still places to visit that I haven't seen before, some of which are not too far from my own doorstep! No excuses then, but to the visitor here is another reason to come and see our stunning county or for those of you shortly en route, add this to the agenda!
I took a trip to Kingley Vale just four miles from Chichester this week. It's just great for walking and is one of England's National Nature Reserves. It is home to one of Europe's most impressive yew forests. The forest contains yews as much as 2000 years old. Their survival is remarkable because most ancient yew forests were felled prior to the 14th Century as their wood was the preferred material for the staves of English longbows.
Posted on 5 May 2011
Here's a little known National Trust garden. An acquaintance of ours who also happens to be a professional gardener here in Sussex recently visited Woolbeding near to Midhurst West Sussex, as part of an organised trip for professional gardeners. She could not speak more highly about it.
Woolbeding is a 20th - century garden of two halves, with the colour themed garden rooms surrounding the house plus a woodland garden. A short walk over open pasture land provides views to the River Rother and leads to the fantasy garden which includes a Chinese - style bridge, waterfall and stumpery. As a professional she was rightly impressed and a three hour visit could have been much longer.
Posted on 29 April 2011
I wrote in January about the changes to the Furnished Holiday Let regulations that come into force in the Finance Act 2011.
If the idea of owning a holiday let appeals to you, then I am aware of an ideal investment opportunity here in Sussex. This is a ground floor farm building that is awaiting conversion and has full planning permission as a holiday let. It will have two bedrooms one with an ensuite bathroom. The large living room and kitchen area wll have a vaulted ceiling something which is very popular amongst holiday guests. Outside there is good sized private garden space along with parking for two cars. In high season we anticipate this conversion would achieve rental income in the region of £650 per week.
Posted on 27 April 2011
Over the Easter weekend the family of Peregrine Falcons who nest at Chichester Cathedral have hatched two chicks. Up until the end of June it will be possible to stand in the centre of Chichester and around the cathedral and observe these amazing birds. This pair have been nesting here for over 10 years and have raised 34 chicks. The parents are not ringed but are estimated to be about 13 years old.
The Peregrines who nest in one of the south turrets beside the spire hatched their first egg at 3pm on Easter Monday, while early yesterday morning the second chick hatched.
Posted on 25 April 2011
I wrote in my last blog how we create a positive visitor experience here in Sussex, so we give our visitors every reason to want to return again, either to sample something new or to revisit many old favourite places of interest. In addition I hope we are achieving our own objective at Amberley House Cottage Holidays by successfully offering fine self catering holiday accommodation from quaint downland cottages to town and coastal properties where guests want to return again and again following a comfortable stay!
Posted on 21 April 2011
The weather is forecast to be excellent over Easter with temperatures in Brighton and Eastbourne expected to reach 25 degrees centigrade the warmest on record. Eastbourne is already recognised as the sunniest resort in the UK and hence with good reason it is known as the sunshine coast!
It is anticipated that well over 200,000 visitors will come to Sussex over the Easter weekend. We have to acknowledge that excellent weather is always a positive boost to tourism numbers, however what about when the weather is overcast, chilly or even worse raining, what can we do then to encourage visitors to the county?
Posted on 15 April 2011
There is a fascinating documentary on BBC4 which continues over the next five weeks that looks at the work undertaken at National Trust properties over the winter months.
The series is filmed at Petworth House in West Sussex, one of the finest period houses in England and follows the conservation work involved when putting "the house to bed" over the winter months. Now that the National Trust properties have again reopened for the 2011 season and have that clean fresh feel about them, this series is well timed.
Posted on 7 April 2011
Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton West Sussex is holding a Sussex Food and Farming Fair.
There will be a wonderful choce of quality Sussex fare to sample and buy from local producers, plus tastings, cookery classes and many children's activities. With delightful period music playing you can enjoy this wonderful museum site set right in the heart of the South Downs National Park.
Posted on 4 April 2011
The inaugural Eastbourne Cycling Festival will be held over the weekend of 21 and 22 May 2011. Eastbourne has become a terrific holiday venue for young people as evidenced by both the AEGON International Tennis held in June and the Eastbourne Airborne in August.
The cycling festival will further showcase the town. It sounds a really exciting event with road races starting and finishing in front of the Grand Hotel on the Eastbourne seafront
Posted on 1 April 2011
The South Downs National Park Authority is born today! Coming into full operation on Friday 1 April 2011, it is the latest National Park in England for 60 years. The Park Authority will be working closely with local communities, environmental groups and landowners to protect and enhance the Park for residents and visitors today, and for future generations.
Posted on 29 March 2011
We have just launched a new web page which shows our latest holiday cottage availability for Easter here in Sussex, UK. Easter is always a popular time to take a short break away and with Easter being much later this year we remain confident for some good spring weather.
Posted on 14 September 2010
The travel section of the Daily Telegraph at the weekend of 11 September, carried a double spread guide to the South Downs.