​Melpies House & Hayloft, East Sussex

​Rural retreat in leafy Sussex


Reviewed by Holly Swayne

Melpies House & Hayloft

PRICE: from £1,925 for seven nights or £1531 for three nights, sleeps 16. Two (well-behaved) dogs allowed from £20 per dog per week 

LOCATION: Burwash, East Sussex

TYPE : Self catering/ country house /house party/traditional/dog-friendly

HOTEL STYLE: Rural Retreat

BEDROOMS: Sleeps 12 in main house and four in the neighbouring Hayloft


Set in the Sussex village of Burwash (a bucolic countryside affair once home to Rudyard Kipling), this six-bedroom bolthole has sweeping views over the valley and plenty of outdoorsy action on hand. Get there early to bag your favourite bedroom:  there  are five to choose from in the main house, with pretty floral bed throws and bunting, exposed-beam ceilings and deep, roll-top baths. There's also 'The Hayloft' - a converted  outhouse which sleeps four,  in the garden - handy if some of you want a bit of peace away from the main party.


What to do when you get there? It's not all lolling around in front of the fire: you've got 4x4 action days (quad biking, paint ball, 007 days ...)  and  horse riding a 25 minute drive away, and there are plenty of places for running/walking  through the valley.

All that countryside may be  a draw for some, but many people don't make it past the garden gates, thanks to an outdoor swimming pool (heated from May-September), and hot tub in the garden, plus table tennis  and a full-size trampoline. 


If you can't be bothered to rustle up meals yourselves,  a local cook can be booked to drop off  lunch, or to  whizz up a fancy dinner -  so pack a party dress as well as your Hunters.

What's hot?

- The patio with the huge oak dining table overlooking the gardens – is just what you need for group meals while the weather holds

- The Hayloft's underground games room, complete with a slate-bed pool table, foosball and exercise bike.

- The exposed brick walls in the living room– bringing a touch of 'New York loft' to Sussex

- A beautician on call for treatments and massages.

- Parties of up to 12 people can gain a cool 15% off the full weekly cost (in the main house only).

What's not?

- The pool is shared with the owners, so guests only have sole use for either mornings or afternoons

- If you're not taking children, the bright plastic play area is a bit of an eyesore in the garden 

Number of rooms:  The main house has five bedrooms: (1 king-size, 2 doubles and 2 triple rooms, each of these having three single beds). The Hayloft sleeps four: (1 double  and a sofa bed in the living area).

Check-in/check-out times: Check in 4pm;  check out i10am.

Swimming pool: yes -   but shared with owners

Wi-Fi Free throughout the house

Eating and drinking: The village's no-frills Wheel Inn serves good pub grub like  home-cooked steak and kidney pie and  the chef's signature ham, egg and chips. If you're after a ritzier affair, Apicius restaurant is a 30-minute drive away in Cranbrook, for treats like lobster risoni, breast of guinea fowl and vanilla pannacotta.

Near to? Burwash is famous for its National Trust property, 'Bateman's', home of Rudyard Kipling, which you can walk to from Melpies. The village also has a local butcher, antique shop and a tea room.

Getting there: The nearest main line station, Etchingham, is under three  miles away and can transport you to London Bridge within 70 minutes.

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