4 quirky breaks in Sussex

Higgledy Treehouse at Blackberry Wood, Ditchling

Higgledy Treehouse at Blackberry Wood, Ditchling - Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

From an awe-inspiring treehouse to a converted World War II ammunition wagon, you’ll feel like you’re a world away from the everyday on one of these magical holidays

Tawny Owl Treehouse at Knepp Estate

Tawny Owl Treehouse at Knepp Estate - Credit: Charlie Burrell

Tawny Owl Treehouse, Knepp Estate

The Knepp Estate is one of the largest and most exciting rewilding projects in Britain. Recently they have successfully attracted breeding white storks, and beavers were introduced in partnership with Sussex Wildlife Trust earlier this year.

The estate offers wildlife safaris and accommodation is available on their Wildland campsite is shepherd’s huts, yurts or tents. Our choice, though, would be the lovely Tawny Owl Treehouse. It’s built around a mature oak in a secluded corner of the ancient woodland, made from local, sustainably sourced oak, chestnut and Douglas fir, with shingle walls of fragrant cedar.

The tented bedroom comes complete with wood-burning stove and luxurious handcrafted double bed - and an outside deck with table and chairs to enjoy the sunset and views over the wildland.

Prices: from £350 for a two-night mid-week stay in low season to £1067 for a seven-night stay in peak season.


Higgledy Treehouse, Blackberry Wood

At only seven miles from Brighton, Blackberry Wood is like stepping into a parallel, very magical, universe. As well as pitches for tents in meadow and woodland, there’s a range of unique accommodation to choose from including a fire engine, a romantic gypsy caravan and a helicopter.

But what really catches our eye is the Higgledy Treehouse, a spectacular construction with more than a hint of Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree. It even impressed presenter George Clarke when he visited for his Amazing Spaces programme.

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There’s space for four adults or two adults and two children, and comes equipped with a shower room and kitchen.

Prices: from £160 a night during low season to £245 a night in high season.


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The Ammunition Wagon, Northiam

The Ammunition Wagon is located right next to Northiam Train Station, on the Kent & East Sussex Railway Line.

The wagon was originally used during World War II to convey military ammunition and explosives.

These wagons would have been particularly in need in the preparations for the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944, and many British and American-built wagons and other rolling stock followed the first wave of troops over to France to assist with the Allies’ advance towards Berlin.

This idiosyncratic accommodation has one double bed and a convertible sofa bed, sleeping two adults and two children. There is a winter booking offer between November 2020 and March 2021 where guests receive one free night’s accommodation.

Prices: two-night stays from £200 and seven nights from £565.

The Bell, Ticehurst. Photo: David Giles

The Bell, Ticehurst. Photo: David Giles - Credit: Archant

Lodges at The Bell, Ticehurst

This quirky pub, described by The Times as “somewhere Alice in Wonderland would feel right at home” has three lodges situated around a huge firepit and a rather fantastical Love Nest.

Each lodge has its own outdoor fire in a private patio area, perfect for hot chocolate or a hot toddy after a long walk. In design the lodges mimic the design of local Kent and Sussex Oast Houses. At every turn, there is something to make you think and question.

The oast lodges look like mini alpine mountains with plants growing from the cowls. The woven nest looks for all the world as if it is perched on top of a supporting branch and the maze-like structure around the fire pit calls for a second look.

Prices: nightly rates including breakfast are £115 for a small double, £135 a classic double and £225 for a lodge.

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