I am always a little apprehensive when I approach a new hotel. Will it be as nice as the photos? Were the reviews a fair representation of the place? As we weaved our way through the Autumnal landscape in East Sussex, past quaint cottages with whisps of smoke leaving their chimneys, past grand castles perched on top of the soft English hills, I felt the usual apprehension, but I needn’t have worried, The Bell In Ticehurst truly is rather special.
You can’t miss The Bell. It is probably the largest building in Ticehurst and you go right past it as you drive through the village. There is not much to Ticehurst itself, which is made up of a few shops and a couple of roads extending right into the countryside, but it’s location, being right in the center of the Downs, is excellent for walks and visiting local attractions.
These make The Bell In Ticehurst special. There are lovely rooms above the pub in the main building, but dear reader, you must book yourself into one of the lodges out the back, they are superb. I was in “Pretty Vacant” and was led up a gravel path to the back of The Bell pub, and to the front door of one of four of these special outhouses. Once through the door you enter an oasis of dark wood, lush fabrics and a million kitch special touches. These lodge rooms are large with a huge super-king bed to one end and a sitting area with sliding doors to your very own patio complete with a private wood fire to the side. The entire room had been put together by a brilliant carpenter and designer who used bespoke and recycled materials such as banister struts for the legs of the TV cupboard, copper piping for the curtain rails, an old fashioned dentists spitoon as a coffee table decorative item. The list goes on and on. The bathroom to the side is reached through an old fashioned shed style door and was put together with underfloor heating along with a bath looking right out onto your private patio, a shower and lovely hand made lavender amenities. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of these bathrooms is the small stained glass window that adjoins the bathroom to the main room. I could go on about the pyramid-shaped high ceilings, hand-painted with the name of your room so that you go to sleep counting “Pretty’s” rather than sheep, or the fun old lamps adorning the walls so that you can choose various levels of dimness to suit your mood, but the pictures say it all. Staying in these little “mole houses” or lodges at The Bell In Ticehurst was like having my own private, mini and perfect house for the night.
Bar & Restaurant
The Bar was a bit limited on seating and felt very local. It had a big open fire at one end and a restaurant at the other, with a sophisticated crowd of couples who also appeared to be staying for the night. Again there are lots of clever touches in and around the main building, for example, a stack of books holding up the ceiling instead of a pillar, and the barman kindly showed me the unique urinals made from Tubas (see picture). The food and atmosphere were enjoyable but what really made The Bell in Ticehurst for me is their superb lodges.
The Bell In Ticehurst is located right in the middle of some beautiful countryside so is a perfect base for country walks or to reach the large and beautiful estate of Scotney Castle just 3 miles away with woodland, parkland and a superb display of rhododendrons and azaleas. Battle Abbey is just 10 miles away and the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Just 13 miles away is the unmissable ooh Corner home to the world’s largest collection of ‘Pooh-phernalia’, and the ‘gateway’ to beautiful Pooh Country. To visit the actual ‘Pooh Places’, collect a free Map. Finally for a pub lunch before you go home, pop over to the historic spa town of Tunbridge Wells.
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