Well, 2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it? But if these months of uncertainty have proved anything, it is that reconnecting with nature is the tonic many of us had forgotten we needed. Throughout everything the great outdoors has stayed open for business-here to provide refuge and restoration; that chance to forget it all for a bit.

From tranquil woodlands and rolling hills to meandering rivers and glorious stretches of shingle and sand, we are lucky here in Sussex and Kent to be able to go wild, right on our very doorstep. Whether you want to walk, cycle, forage, swim-or simply sit, relax and breathe it all in, here are some of our favourite spots to get away from it all. And our collection of handpicked holiday properties means that after a day out enjoying all that fresh air, your stylish home from home will be right there waiting for you.

Kingley Vale, image by Laurence Creamer

Kingley Vale
Located just a few miles outside of Chichester, Kingley Vale’s grove of magnificently gnarled ancient yew trees (thought to be amongst the oldest in Britain) makes this a magical place for a walk or cycle, with a clearly marked trail. We promise that the rather steep hike up to the top of the reserve is worth it; pack a flask of hot chocolate and enjoy the breathtaking views-you can look out across the Solent on a clear day.

Stay: The super stylish Little Whispers is nestled in the picturesque South Downs village of Lodsworth near Petworth. If you can tear yourself away from the cosy wood burner and sumptuous interiors, there are miles of unspoilt Sussex countryside to enjoy as soon as you step out of the front door.

Romney Marsh

Romney Marsh
Big views, sweeping skies and barely another soul in sight; if you’re looking to truly escape, Romney Marsh is the perfect place. Famed for its unique landscape and bounteous wildlife, the marsh’s quiet, flat lanes make it excellent for exploring on foot or by bike. The area is also home to the stark wild beauty of Dungeness, which has captured the imagination of so many artists over the years. Be sure to visit The Pilot Inn when you’re here too-we’d argue they do the best fish and chips in the whole of Kent.

Stay: You can expect the warmest of welcomes at the delightful Romney Cottage, which, as the name suggests, sits right by the marsh, but is also only a short stroll from the sandy dunes of Camber Sands and just down the road from the charming Cinque town of Rye.

Pett Level beach

Bedgebury National Forest and Pinetum
With mountain-bike tracks, orienteering trails, an adventure play trail, Go Ape treetop experience and miles of paths to explore, a trip to Bedgebury Forest near Goudhurst will guarantee everyone gets plenty of fresh air, whatever they’re into. It is also home to the famous ‘pinetum’; a world-leading collection of over 12,000 conifers, while the kids will enjoy trying to spot the Gruffalo and his friends hiding amongst the trees.

Stay: The Orchard Studio is a gorgeous bijou retreat, situated just outside the High Weald village of Beneden. Bright, light and super comfortable (with the added bonus of having a great local pub), it’s an ideal base for exploring this beautiful part of Kent, with the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells just a short drive away.

Romney Cottage in East Sussex

Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve
A huge area of salt marshes, mud flats and lagoons, Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve is a beautifully peaceful place to enjoy birds and other wildlife just as nature intended. There are lots of walking trails and the views across the wetlands are stunning, while if you head down to the beach you can see all the way to Beachy Head to the east, and the Isle of Wight to the west.

Stay: Situated right on Pagham Beach and next to the nature reserve, both The Bolthole and Driftwood Beach House offer guests truly unique first class accommodation, due in part to the fact that each property is built around original Victorian railway carriages. Quirky maybe, but don’t worry, there’s no sacrifice of comfort or style here, and the location really can’t be beaten.

The Orchard Studio in Kent

Pett Level
A beautifully quiet and unspoilt shingle beach found between Rye and Hastings, it’s at low tide when Pett Level reveals what make it quite so special; the remains of an ancient fossilised forest, thought to be around 6000 years old. Beachcombers young and old will delight in scouring rock pools and fossil beds, scrambling over the foreshore in search of dinosaur footprints and shark teeth. What memories are made of.

Stay: Sleeping 6 guests, The Pett Level Beach House has that laid back coastal living vibe nailed, complete with relaxed open plan living spaces, cosy log burner and spacious decked area in the garden. The perfect place to unwind.

Pett Level Beach House


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