Cool and Quirky Places to Stay in East Sussex
I love exploring my home county of East Sussex with its green rolling hills, sparkling sea views, iconic cliffs and quintessentially English villages like Rye. There are some unique places to stay in East Sussex from plush hotels and cute B&Bs to cottage rentals or campsites. But sometimes I’m partial to a bit of quirk.
I may not be travelling far from home which makes it doubly important that I’ll be getting a break with a difference. I’ve had a lot of fun combing the county to find some of the best cool and quirky places to stay in East Sussex. From treehouses, trains and turrets to lighthouses and windmills, read on for some of the more unusual places to lay your head in our cool county.
Luxury Eco-Lodge in East Sussex
Take your weekend break up a level with stay in an eco-lodge treehouse. The two treehouses at Fair Oak Farm near Mayfield are a bit special and without doubt a quirky place to stay for the night, or even a week.
Set within 12 acres of rustic countryside with views across the valley, each contemporary-styled lodge sleeps two people. Inside you’ll find a queen-sized double bed, comfortable seating and dining area. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, a wet room and loo.
Go off the rails with a stay in a converted train carriage at Railway Retreats in Northiam East Sussex. Choose from four separate carriages which have been beautifully renovated for a first class stay in the Sussex Countryside.
Kent and East Sussex Railway is just across the track and Bodiam Castle a short steam train ride away. Just the ticket I’d say.
The largest MK1 carriage sleeps up to 6 people with two double bedrooms and a bunk room for kids with one family bathroom, one en-suite bathroom. There’s a kitchen and open plan lounge and dining areas, a fully functional kitchen and an elevated glass balcony with superb views of the station and Kent and East Sussex steam railway line and surrounding countryside. Perfect for steam train enthusiasts.
Two goods wagons sleep up to four people and have en-suite shower rooms. The smallest wagon, a GWR ‘TOAD’, sleeps two and has its own en-suite shower room and veranda with station and countryside views.
Stay in a State-of-the-Art Vineyard
The Flint Barns at Rathfinny Vineyard were built on the site of the original farmhouse to house grape pickers and pruners during the autumn and winter. Don’t let that put you off, this is much more upmarket than your average picker’s accommodation and we had a very comfortable night at the Flint Barns.
The public areas are filled with authentic features like flint walls and thick wooden beams. Comfy sofas and colourful rugs give a homely feel. The bedrooms are small with comfortable furnishings, a contemporary feel and modern ensuite shower room. During the day make sure to go on the Rathfinny vineyard tour. It’s a fascinating tour to see how Sussex Sparkling wine is produced accompanied by a top class lunch.
How many people can say they’ve spent the night in an authentic tipi? These tipis by White Dog are the real deal constructed from solid wooden poles and wrapped in a heavy duty canvas for a dry comfortable night. You’ll wake up to views of the beautiful Sussex countryside. Less than a mile away is magical Bodiam Castle and the Kent and East Sussex Railway which are great for your mini knights and knightesses.
Shine your Inner Light at Belle Tout Lighthouse
I’m happiest when I’m close to the ocean so a stay in Belle Tout, the lighthouse, near the edge of the cliffs at Beachy Head is my dream accommodation. Imagine waking up to never-ending ocean views, the sound of waves rolling across the pebbles and watching the sun dip behind the horizon from the lantern room.
Themed rooms like ‘The Captains Cabin’, ‘Old England’ and ‘Keepers Loft’, add to the sea-faring ambience and mean Belle Tout is a very special place to stay and one you’ll remember. There are six double en-suite rooms which can be booked individually. Belle Tout has a minimum two-night stay policy and breakfast is provided. Belle Tout isn’t just quirky to Sussex it’s surely got to be one of the most unusual places to stay in the UK.
Find out more about visiting Seven Sisters Country Park.
If you’re looking for quirky accommodation in East Sussex you’ve just found it! I’ve always wanted to stay in a windmill. I think it must be something to do with watching Camberwick Green as a child. Trumpton was another favourite (do let me know of any converted fire stations that do holiday lets). This must be one of the most unique places to stay in East Sussex.
Read more: What to see and do in Rye, East Sussex
Little Turret Cottage near Hastings
If you’re looking for an unusual holiday cottage in East Sussex then this is it. How many cottages do you know that have their very own turret?
Meet Little Turret, a cosy cottage with heaps of character and its very own turret in St Leonards near Hastings. Rapunzel eat your heart out. This Grade II listed two-bedroomed abode has charm in abundance, Access is via the base of the turret where you climb the stone staircase to enter the lounge. Now that’s a quirky place to stay.
Read more: What to see and do in Hastings Old Town
The lounge has stripped original floorboards, comfy leather sofas and a wood-burner. There’s also a dining room, galley-style kitchen and two double bedrooms. The roomy bathroom has exposed brickwork and a roll top bath. Soft fluffy towels and luxury bed linen add to home comforts. Outside you’ll find a decking area with seating.
Have you stayed at any of these quirky places? Do you have any other recommendation’s that should be on our list. Feel free to get in touch and share your suggestions.
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Suzanne Jones is co-founder of Hello Sussex and travel writer and content creator at The Travelbunny travel blog.
Thursday 1st of April 2021
I'm obsessed with turrets so love the little cottage with its own!
Thursday 1st of April 2021
It's a very cute little cottage - I foresee a Rapunzel moment!
Saturday 8th of August 2020
We stayed at the windmill in Rye in was such a unique experience I would recommend it. Beautiful inside.
Saturday 25th of August 2018
I'd love to stay in all these places. I tried picking a favourite and I simply couldn't. They all look fabulous n different ways.
Sunday 26th of August 2018
I agree! All so different so something to suit everyone.