The Best Hotels to Book Near the Bluebell Railway

You'll be racing full steam ahead to Buxted Park Country House Hotel
You'll be racing full steam ahead to Buxted Park Country House Hotel | © Photimageon / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Paul Stafford
1 October 2021
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Riding a heritage steam train is a treat for anyone seeking an unusual travel experience, and particularly engaging for children. That’s why families flock to the Bluebell Railway, an 11-mile (18km) route through the green Sussex countryside between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park. Some of England‘s finest steam locomotives follow these tracks, stopping at the 19th-century stations of Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. All aboard for eight of the best hotels nearby, bookable on Culture Trip.

Buxted Park Hotel

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Courtesy of Buxted Park Country House / Booking.com
As the name suggests, Buxted Park Hotel is situated in 312 acres (126ha) of impeccably manicured parkland. The building itself is a 1722 Palladian mansion, accessed by a long, tree-lined private road. The interiors retain an air of refinement, with high ceilings and antique furniture, while some rooms have an open fireplace, clawfoot bathtub and a garden terrace, among other luxuries.

East Sussex National Resort

Resort
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Courtesy of East Sussex National Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa / Booking.com | Courtesy of East Sussex National Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa / Booking.com
The elegant reception at East Sussex National Resort feels more like a renovated aircraft hangar than a resort hotel. But don’t let the scale put you off; this is the place to come for complete relaxation and an escape from normal life. The quirky combination of conical and rectangular buildings – holding, among other things, a health club and a pool – are surrounded by two championship golf courses, ideal for an active countryside retreat.

The Buxted Inn

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Courtesy of The Buxted Inn / Booking.com
For a smaller hotel with a laid-back village vibe, check out the Buxted Inn, located eight miles (13km) from the Sheffield Park terminus of the Bluebell Railway. The eight double and twin rooms are all ensuite, with high-pressure showers as standard. These are located above a laid-back gastropub, which is popular for its creatively presented meals and impressive array of local cheeses.

Sharpsbridge Barn

If you yearn to truly escape it all in the gentle Sussex countryside, this holiday home near the hamlet of Piltdown offers a pleasing level of seclusion. The half-timbered cabin has a patio door that opens onto a large, blossoming garden. Sit there by your gazebo-covered table, or on the accompanying swing chair, and dine al fresco. A kitchenette, large bed and couch can be found inside the open-plan home.

Hastingford Fishery

Cabin

This accommodation is even smaller and more remote than most, surrounded by trees on private land. Your cabin will be right on the water’s edge, with a little wooden terrace from which you can watch the resident herons. It may be tiny, but it is well-appointed, with a fridge, microwave, gas hob, washing machine, and a wood-burning stove for the colder months. Guests can also paddle out on the lake in a dinghy.

Horsted Place

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Courtesy of Horsted Place Hotel / Booking.com
Fans of singular historic buildings are particularly drawn to Horsted Place when staying near the Bluebell Railway. That’s because this 19th-century neogothic country house, with its red-and-white cross-patterned brickwork, parapet wall and elegant chimney stacks, is a real sight to behold. The interior is no less alluring, containing elegant, high-ceiling hallways and spacious guest rooms with views over the pristine gardens.

The Blackboys Inn

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Courtesy of The Blackboys Inn / Booking.com
As the plethora of mansions and stately homes on this list suggests, Sussex has no shortage of history. But it’s not just contained in the former homes of the upper echelons. Take the Blackboys Inn, for example. This old coaching inn is believed to have opened in the 14th century, and the wood-beamed ceilings and aged-brick fireplaces certainly add weight to that claim. The mezzanine rooms are housed within a modern annexe and have separate sleeping and sitting areas.

1 Badgers Rest

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Courtesy of Charming farm cottage - 1 Badgers Rest - North Chailey / Booking.com
One mile (1.6km) down the road from the Bluebell Railway’s Sheffield Park stop is the Badger’s Rest, a spacious cottage that feels more like a home than a holiday let. There is plenty of living space and a kitchen containing an oven, toaster, microwave and washing machine. The building is surrounded by fields and woodland, ensuring a peaceful, rural escape with easy access to the many great local attractions.

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