The luxurious Ashdown Park Hotel is an impressive historic hotel and country club in the heart of Ashdown Forest in East Sussex – the perfect setting for a refined, tranquil getaway or in our case, a quest to find the home of Winnie the Pooh!

When you arrive at Ashdown Park Hotel, you can’t fail to be impressed by it imposing grandeur and sense of history. Set amidst 186 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, it offers an idyllic retreat for guests seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. The hotel boasts elegant accommodations, including stylish rooms and suites, some with stunning views of the surrounding countryside where a herd of around 50 deer roam.

Disclaimer: My bed and breakfast accommodation, dinner and massage were complimentary for review purposes but, as always, I will only share with you my honest opinions.

Ashdown Park Hotel, East Sussex

Above, the East Wing and Chapel at the Ashdown Park Hotel. Below, inside the Chapel, now a stunning location for weddings.

Wedding receptions at the Ashdown Park Hotel, East Sussex

 

Rooms at the Ashdown Park Hotel

From the cosy Deluxe Bedrooms to the expensive Master Suites, all the rooms here are elegantly decorated and feature period furniture and of course, ensuite bathrooms.

Our Master Suite featured beautiful wood panelling, a king-size bed, a large flat-screen TV, a three-piece suite and coffee table, a dressing table and a separate desk. All the amenities I would expect were available such as an iron and ironing board, hair dryer, fluffy white robes and slippers. Double doors opened up onto the gardens which would be wonderful on a warm summer day.

Our L-shaped bathroom included a large walk-in shower, a whirlpool bath and double sinks. Personally, I would have made the bathroom bigger and the bedroom a little smaller when converting the building into a hotel but that’s a small thing. It was a wonderful suite.

Master Suite at the Ashdwon Park Hotel

ensuite bathroom at the Ashdown Park Hotel

 

Where to eat at the Ashdown Park Hotel

Anderida Restaurant, for the ultimate treat

The award-winning Anderida Restaurant is located through the elegant cocktail lounge of the hotel. This grand, spacious restaurant offers sweeping views across the grounds down to the lake. Lilting tunes from the grand piano add to the charm and stylish ambience. The attentive service and excellent cuisine didn’t disappoint, while the extensive, carefully chosen wine list was equally impressive.

The highlight of my meal was the exquisitely prepared and presented Harissa Rubbed Lamb Rump served with minted pea velouté, aubergine imam bayildi and dauphinoise potatoes. We also ordered a side dish of garlic creamed spinach and a glass of Argentinian Malbec. For dessert, I chose the Sticky Date Pudding, a scrumptious twist on this classic dish. For the two main meals, one side dish, two desserts, two glasses of wine and a bottle of still water the bill came to just over £100. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Undoubtedly.

Enjoy the surroundings, soak up the atmosphere and relax into leisurely, fine dining at its best.

 

Breakfast at the Anderida Restaurant at Ashdown Park Hotel

Breakfast was also served at the Anderida Restaurant making the perfect start to the day. A good selection was available from the continental-style buffet, including smoked salmon and local cheese and freshly cut chunks of honeycomb – no doubt a nod to the local famous resident, Winnie the Pooh. There are also various cooked options available and our Full English Breakfast was very good.

Full English Brekfast at the Ashdown Park Hotel

 

Forest Brasserie, for an informal meal

With main courses around the £20 mark (less from the lunchtime menu) the Forest Brasserie in the hotel’s Country Club is an excellent, more informal, unpretentious alternative. The menu is a celebration of local produce from Sussex and Kent and includes vegan and gluten-free options, as well as child-size portions. Although I didn’t get a chance to eat here it looks very inviting and it has an excellent reputation for great food and service. The large windows looking out over the surrounding grounds must offer a lovely view.

 

Lounge and Terrace Menu, for a lunchtime snack

There are several refined lounges in the hotel plus the terrace overlooking the grounds, where snacks are served from 10 am to 6 pm. Choose from a tempting range of sandwiches, desserts and cream teas as well as a good selection of teas, coffees and alcoholic beverages.

Afternoon tea at the Ashdown Park Hotel, Forest Row, East Sussex

Above, one of several lounge areas, and below, the Cocktail Bar at the Ashdown Park Hotel

Cocktail Bar at the Ashdown Park Hotel, East Sussex

 

Ashdown Park Picnic, for a fine summer’s day

While it wasn’t quite the weather for a picnic during our stay, I’d love to try this option on a return visit.  There are several different options ranging from the Winnie the Pooh Picnic featuring honey sandwiches to a very generous Afternoon Tea. Picnic rugs and a trolley are provided so you can find your perfect spot in the extensive grounds. While there is a vegetarian option there was no vegan option listed but, just ask, and they can cater a vegan diet too.

 

The Hatch Inn, for generous portions and a great pint

Beyond the hotel, there are several excellent gastro pubs. The nearest is the Hatch Inn established in 1430, less than a 5-minute drive away. We enjoyed an excellent and generous ploughman’s lunch in this cosy and charming historic pub. If you’d like an inside table, booking in advance is highly recommended.

The Hatch Inn -Historic pub in the heart of Ashdown Forest

 

The Country Club and Forest Spa at Ashdown Park Hotels

The Country Club at Ashdown Park Hotel offers a good range of facilities both indoors and outside. As well as the Forest Brasserie mentioned above, facilities include outdoor tennis courts, an 18-hole, par 3 golf course, a driving range, an indoor heated swimming pool and jacuzzi, a fully equipped and air-conditioned gym, six therapy rooms, a nail salon, and for those enjoying a treatment, a relaxation lounge. Bicycles (for ages 12 and over) can also be hired here.

It’s also worth noting that the hotel also has a two-table snooker room below the cocktail bar and outside you’ll find a croquet lawn.

During my stay, I made good use of the pool and jacuzzi before one of the best back massages I’ve ever had. Sam, my therapist was exceptionally good. Not only was it extremely relaxing, my back felt wonderful afterwards. Then, having enjoyed a fruit tea in the relaxation room, I floated on air back to our suite.

 

Things to do in Ashdown Forest and beyond

For those looking to explore the great outdoors, the grounds around the hotel offer some wonderful walks. If you’re lucky, you might spot one or two deer. Be sure to find the Secret Garden.

On the hotel’s doorstep, Ashdown Forest offers ample opportunities for walking, cycling, and horse riding, with picturesque trails winding through ancient woodlands and heathland.

The steam trains of the Bluebell Railway (Sheffield Park Station) are less than 7 miles away, while the historic village of Lindfield is just over 8 miles away.

Sheffield Park and Garden is about 6 miles from the hotel and Heaver Castle and Gardens are about 11 and half miles.

Further afield, the lovely seaside towns of Brighton and Eastbourne are less than 30 miles away.

Central London is also easily reached via a 25 minute drive to Haywards Heath, from where you can catch train and be in central London in under an hour.

The Winnie the Pooh Trails

Ashdown Forest is well known for being the home of children’s favourite Winnie the Pooh, the delightful bear brought to life by writer A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepherd.

If, like me, you have fond memories of playing ‘Pooh Sticks’ as a child, a visit to Pooh Bridge is a must. We picked up a leaflet from the hotel’s concierge showing the details of two short ‘Pooh’ themed walks.

First, we headed to Pooh Car Park (which you can find on Google Maps), just a ten-minute drive from the hotel first which was a good move as the small car park filled up quickly. From there it’s about a half-mile walk downhill to Pooh Bridge via a rough track passing Owl’s house en route. Be sure to collect a few pooh sticks along the way. And do walk across the bridge to meet Pooh himself surrounded by his honey pots before walking back the way you came uphill to the car park.

A slightly longer walk starts at Gill’s Lap Car Park and takes you to such memorable places as the ‘Enchanted Place’ and Eeyore’s ‘Sad and Gloomy Place’. Water proof shoes or boots are a must as it was very boggy in places. With the help of the leaflet, it was easy to find the first couple of locations including Milne’s memorial stone which has a lovely view across the forest, but we never did find the remaining places. Nevertheless, we had a lovely morning exploring the woodland home of Pooh and friends.

Private guided walks are also available via Pooh Trek.

Pooh Corner, a charming tearoom, gift shop and museum dedicated to all things Pooh, is less than 4 miles from the hotel in Hartfield.

 

Ashdown Park Hotel’s Location

Ashdown Park
Wych Cross, Nr Forest Row
East Sussex
RH18 5JR

The Ashdown Park Hotel is just 50 miles south of central London. Whether arriving by car, bicycle or helicopter, you’ll find all you need to know on the hotel’s website on their FAQ page.

T: +44 (0)1342 824988
E: [email protected]
W: AshdownPark.com

Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family holiday, or a weekend retreat, Ashdown Park Hotel offers a luxurious and idyllic setting for a memorable stay.

 

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