For some reason I can't fathom, Sussex had always slipped under my radar when it came to planning holidays.
Despite the fact that exploring 1066 country was high on my list of "must-do" things, Sussex tended to get passed over in favour of Northumberland, Norfolk or Cornwall.
It wasn't until we remembered how much our tandem holiday of Kent had surprised us, that we decided to put Sussex on the shortlist for the next holiday.
Picking an area to explore was easy - 1066 country, of course! - but building a shortlist of suitable and appealing places to stay in Sussex was anything but. Not because there aren't any, but because there is simply too much choice. Did we want to stay in an oast house? In a thatched cottage? Or close to the beach? Then I saw this:
My husband loves steam trains and when I saw this image, I immediately thought of a train and decided that I'd found the holiday cottage of our dreams. On closer inspection, and after conversation with the owner, it became clear that it wasn't a train but a Victorian showman's carriage from 1890. It never ran on rails, but sat on wheels beside a fairground. The decoration - inside and out - is simply marvellous as is the layout! And the carriage's location - on an apple farm overlooking Bodiam Castle - couldn't have been better if we'd asked for it.
The farm's owner has a few unusual cottages dotted around the fringes of his land and if you like to take a punt on unusual places to stay for your holidays, I recommend you check them out here.
It's easy to see that there are lots of lovely, unexpected places to stay in Sussex. You can explore 1066 country, spend a holiday along the coast or wander the South Downs. Sussex has no shortage of things to do and see. So how about it? Here's a small selection of cottages to give you a taste...
If you love English history, exploring 1066 country is a must. Follow the Normans from Pevensey to Hastings to Battle. There are Roman ruins and tales of smugglers.
The South Downs are a haven for walkers, cyclists, painters and nature watchers - and have been a favourite holiday destination for decades. Here I've tried to collect some of my favourite places to stay in Sussex - cottages large and small that I would book for one of our holidays.
Places to stay in Sussex can be tiny, thatched cottages, tucked away down a narrow, quiet lane. They can be restored barns, stunning oast houses or former smugglers' hideouts. You can holiday in Regency splendour, rent a Victorian showman's carriage or live the life of a south-coast fisherman only a stone's throw from the beach. Whatever suits your taste, you're bound to find it in Sussex along with more history and sights to see than you'll have time for during your holiday.