Sleeps: Up to 2 adults and 2 young children
Where: Rodmell, near Lewes
Price: From £85 / night including breakfast
I first came across Clare Young and her pretty shepherd huts back in 2017. Back then the huts were based at Bentley Wildfowl Museum and Clare ran them as self catering glamping accommodation. We stayed in ‘Rolling Down’ as they were then known, for one of our very first glamping reviews for Juggling on Rollerskates – so of course we jumped at the chance to visit the huts again 3 years later in their new home just outside Lewes!
Clare offers stays in her Garden Huts on a bed & breakfast basis in the privacy of the grounds of her own home. Clare has created two beautiful secluded areas in her garden where guests can enjoy a night or two in these pretty huts while enjoying easy access to the walking trails of the South Downs or the buzz of Brighton and Lewes.
Clare’s Garden Huts are based in Rodmell – a small village just outside Lewes with views looking up to the South Downs. There’s a good pub just a couple of minutes walk away as well as Southease train station with direct links to Lewes, Brighton and Eastbourne. Despite being in a rural location Garden Huts are in an ideal location to base yourself for local exploring.
On arrival parking is available on the main drive. The huts are reached via the side gate which leads guests into the gorgeous gardens. A pretty, covered pathway leads to two gated areas – which accommodate the two separate areas available to guests. Ouseside is a larger hut that sleeps up to 2 adults and 2 small children; while Caburn consists of two huts one with accommodation for 2 adults and a separate hut with bathroom facilities. Both huts are set in their own private garden space with seating and hammock.
During our recent stay my daughter and I stayed in Ouseside for a night indulging in a bit of quality girl time. Clare had contacted me before hand to give me details on how to access the property but it was lovely to meet her in person as we parked up around tea time. After being greeted warmly by both Clare and Maggie the dog we were left to settle in our very own shepherd hut paradise.
Clare has clearly worked hard on the borders and floral displays in both gardens – the flowers surrounding Ouseside were just stunning with bees flocking around vibrant verbenas and the large eucalyptus tree filling the air with its sweet scent. The outdoor space is a joy to relax in. We had the fortune of visiting in the middle of the early August heatwave which allowed us the opportunity to really make the most of the various outdoor spaces (although we didn’t need the fire pit on this occasion!)
The hut itself has quite a Tardis feel! It manages to fit in a lot more than you might think possible from the outside! There’s a small kitchen area with a double gas hob, fridge, sink and all the crockery and cutlery you might need for a short stay. Then there’s a washroom with toilet, sink and shower. Finally there’s the main living space with a large double bed, a small bunk, a spacious dining area (with seating that converts as another child’s bed) and cosy wood burner. It was very roomy for just me and Daisy – although it would certainly feel a bit cosy with the whole family were in tow.
Ouseside has been furnished and decorated to a high standard and feels luxurious. Shower gels, shampoos, washing up liquid and tea and coffee all help make a stay here feel like a real home away from home – and definitely make life a bit easier.
We spent the evening in Lewes which is just a 5 minute drive away. We enjoyed dinner in a restaurant before strolling around the town. Once back at the hut we enjoyed the cool evening by swinging in the hammock watching stars before snuggling in the big double bed. As it was so hot we slept with doors and windows open listening to the sound of the breeze in the big eucalyptus tree as we nodded off.
As the huts are booked out on a bed and breakfast basis a loaf of bread, selection of jams, milk, cereals, eggs, yoghurts and strawberries were all provided. Bacon was also offered but we declined. The morning was laid back and lazy with the added bonus of being able to dictate what time we’d be dining for breakfast. Eating breakfast in the morning sun on the terrace table was a lovely way to start the day. If only every morning began like this one..
Before heading off Clare invited us to look at her other shepherd hut accommodation. Caburn is set in it’s own private garden just along from Ouseside. The gardens are slightly less mature than Ouseside but equally well thought out again with outdoor seating and hammock.
Caburn contains a large double bed, a coffee and tea making area and storage cupboard. In an adjacent hut there’s a cute roll top bath, toilet and basin area. Everything you need for a couple’s retreat.
Through Garden Huts Clare has created two luxurious bed and breakfast options in beautiful settings. While both huts comfortably accommodate 2 people there IS the option of including younger children for a stay in Ouseside. The location really makes a stay here though – in the heart of the Downs, a stone’s throw from the River Ouse yet within walking distance from pubs and local amenities. The perfect escape for walkers and wanderers wanting to experience a true taste of Sussex.
With thanks to Clare for inviting us to stay in exchange for this honest review.