From Forest Row, you can explore Ashdown Forest, as well as join some great Sussex trails including the High Weald Landscape Trail, Forest Way and the Sussex Border Path.
When you’re back from your walking, head into the village for coffee and cake at one of the many eateries. Check out Coco’s Café (for homemade cake), Java and Jazz (for pizza, ice cream and really good coffee), In Gear (one for the cyclists) or Seasons (for organic). And don’t forget to pop into The Bazaar where you’ll find lots of artisan wares and an eclectic selection of beautiful “stuff”.
Places to Stay in Forest Row
But where to lay your head? Well, don’t worry, because whether you want history and literary references, luxury or off-grid, here are four very different ideas.
The Brambletye Hotel
The Brambletye Hotel is almost synonymous with Forest Row and is right in the centre of the village. It’s got history because it was originally built as a large private hunting lodge before becoming a hotel in 1866. Perhaps one of its most famous guests was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who featured the hotel in his novel ‘The Adventures of Black Peter’.
They have their own restaurant and do a well-recommended Sunday roast which is a great way to round off a weekend of walking before you head home.
A standard double room in March is £63 / night. Dogs are not permitted (except assistance dogs).
Also right in the middle of the village, The Swan used to be known as The Yew Tree and was at the centre of the village’s 18th century smuggling activities. The building dates from the 18th and 19th centuries but the oldest part of the inn is Medieval.
Recently refurbished, they are part of the Balfour Bush Heath Wine Estate based just over the border in Staplehurst, Kent. They have six stylish boutique rooms and their breakfast menu looks like the perfect start to a day (think full English, granola, smashed avocado or smoked salmon!).
A cosy double is £99 / night. They do have dog-friendly rooms.
Ashdown Park Hotel
You might subscribe to the go big or go home philosophy, in which case head out of the village to nearby Ashdown Park Hotel – which describes itself as the finest luxury hotel in Sussex! Their beautiful rooms have views over rolling parklands or their golf course, and they also have a luxury spa. And yes, some of their suites accept four-legged friends. Eat at their 2 AA Rosette Anderida Restaurant or their new Forest Brasserie. They are champions of local produce and also offer estate picnics.
Prices for one night start at about £180 but if you want to layer on the luxury – why not book yourself into their opulent deluxe rooms with a four-poster bed, a view of the lake and lawns (which start at £306 mid-week).
If you’re looking for a different kind of glamour what about some glamping? Shovelstrode has two yurts and four cabins set in a small regenerating woodland and is surrounded by six acres of forest garden, a highly productive way of gardening, using a woodland ecosystem. You can also learn here with woodland craft courses such as green woodworking, beekeeping, bread making and more. Their yurts have a distinctive style (one is Mongolian) and their cabins resemble frontier-style log cabins made from western red cedar.
They come with wood burners, a double ring camping stove, a BBQ and a large open fire pit for each unit and a two-night midweek stay in a yurt in low season will cost £275. They do not accept dogs.
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