ashdown park hotel

Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club: a classic country retreat

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As beautiful settings go, Ashdown Park Hotel East Sussex certainly has the ‘wow’ factor. Walking through a stone arch to the garden terrace, the view suddenly opens out in front of you: acres of rolling green countryside, two fountains bubbling away in a carp-filled lake at the bottom of the hill, an imposing converted chapel, the sweep of the hotel itself and colourful clumps of rhododendron bushes as far as the eye could see.

Ashdown Park hotel
Rooms with spectacular views: Ashdown Park hotel is set in 186 acres of East Sussex countryside

The hustle and bustle of the outside world just melted away and I felt as if I could just sit and admire the view for hours. Which, aided by a G&T and the Sunday newspapers, I promptly did.

Ashdown Park hotel East Sussex
Guests sit in the sun on the terrace and enjoy a great view along with afternoon tea

Owned by Elite Hotels which also owns Luton Hoo, Tylney Hall and The Grand in Eastbourne, Ashdown Park, once part of Ashdown Forest, was built in 1867 by Durham MP Thomas Thompson, who when he died left in his will a black suit to each of his employees so they would be smartly dressed for his funeral.

Ashdown Park hotel East Sussex
The terrace was my favourite spot during my stay

After a variety of owners and uses, including being a convalescent home for Belgian army officers, a training centre for novice nuns and bank managers (not at the same time) and an offshoot of an American university, it was bought by Elite in 1993 and has 106 bedrooms and suites as well as a health club and an 18-hole golf course.

ashdown park hotel east sussex
The entrance hall to Ashdown Park makes for a grand welcome

The hotel itself is vast, as we soon found out on the long trek to our room at the very furthest and highest end of the west wing. The room, Sycamore, was a good size, with an immaculate bathroom and great views over the grounds, and had it not been for the dated green carpet, it would have been very smart. (However I was told there is a refurbishment due which will update all the older themes).

ashdown park hotel east sussex
The Sycamore room – smart, large and with great views (just a shame about the green carpet)
ashdown park hotel east sussex
The view from our bedroom

The terrace itself was a perfect place to sit in the sun and enjoy the view, although the hefty prices – £4.75 for an espresso,  cheese and biscuits for £9.50 and Ploughman’s lunch at £12.50 – deterred me from sampling the food.


To book directly with the hotel, go to: Ashdown Park hotel
To compare prices for Ashdown Park hotel click on: Trivago – Expedia – Hotels.com
To read more reviews click here to go to Ashdown Park hotel and country club on TripAdvisor


However that did mean I had a hearty appetite by dinnertime, which was just as well as the food in the Anderida restaurant was very good indeed, particularly the crab starter which came in a variety of dishes and styles, including bisque and potted, and the ‘poached and roasted beef sirloin’ which was deliciously tender.

ashdown park hotel east sussex
Both the dinner and the service at the Anderida restaurant were very good

The Millionaire Chocolate dessert was huge but very tasty, while the selection of British cheeses was excellent, including Baron Bigod Brie from Suffolk and the wonderful Driftwood goats cheese from Somerset.

Service was quick, efficient and staff were knowledgeable and thankfully only once asked ‘Is everything alright?’ (when I’d asked for the scallops to be slightly hotter) so we were left to enjoy our meal uninterrupted.

Breakfast was excellent too, with a wide variety of buffet offerings and dishes cooked to order, with a nice additional touch of having an express menu to choose from, which meant you could be served bacon and eggs instantly if you were in a rush but it did away for the need to have hot plates in the dining room.

ashdown park hotel east sussex
There was a large buffet selection as well as many cooked options

My only negative comment would be that for a 5 star hotel, the house-keeping could have been slightly better in public areas: piles of dirty dishes and napkins in corridors outside several rooms when I checked in at 3pm which were still there at 11pm when I went to bed, and when I went down the the terrace two tables with used glasses and plates weren’t cleared away for a good 40 minutes. However on the whole the place seemed well looked after and the staff were friendly and helpful.

ashdown park hotel east sussex
The grounds, which include a wood, a lake and a secret garden, were the perfect setting for a morning’s walk
ashdown park hotel and spa
The converted chapel next to the main building still has many of its original features including stained glass windows and a vaulted gothic ceiling

After breakfast we took our coffees to the terrace and sat all morning in the sun, drinking in the view and being very glad we weren’t stuck in the office that day.

After a morning of inactivity it was time to explore the grounds which made for a very pleasant hour or so, finding everything from a Secret Garden to the Bluebell woods, where we met a couple of llamas from the neighbouring Llama park on their morning walk. The spa pool looked a good size but was rather dark and gloomy so not especially inviting.

ashdown park hotel east sussex
One last look….

There was just time to take a look at the converted chapel which has spectacular stained glass windows created by famous 19th century artist Harry Clarke before heading off to the A23, but I will certainly be back to my spot on the terrace before long.

Ashdown Park Hotel
Wych Cross nr Forest Row
East Sussex RH18 5JR
01342 826 206
www.ashdownpark.com

Rooms start from £240 for deluxe bedroom up to £430 for a junior suite and £525 for a master suite

To book directly with the hotel, go to: Ashdown Park hotel
To compare prices for Ashdown Park hotel click on: Trivago – Expedia – Hotels.com
To read more reviews click here to go to Ashdown Park hotel and country club on TripAdvisor

Ashdown Park is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels and Small Luxury Hotels of the World groups.

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Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by leisure expert Sarah Bridge who, when she is not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends her time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings.
Sarah Bridge
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