Is anyone ever PLEASED to be back from holiday?
I doubt it very much. But back I am. Boo. Caution, as ever with holiday posts this contains lots, and lots, of photos!
All the way back in 2011 I talked about taking a holiday in a train, with a list of funky places where you can sleep in train carriages. So when I was looking to book this years getaway I was SO excited when I found the Prince Regent Carriage Bodiam in Sussex.
It was built in the late 1800s for a Fairground owner called WC Jones, who apparently lived in it with his wife for years. It was refurbished, at some point in the 1970s I believe, and now lives on a farm in Bodiam as a Holiday cottage. I have no idea if it ever went on rails as a train, but it’s now on carriage wheels, outside is all deep red paint and gilding. Inside is a small sitting room and bedroom. It’s amazingly decked out in mahogany, with what are apparently the original cut amber glass handles, velvet seats and cut crystal windows and mirrors. There’s even the original “Showman’s Seat” right by the doors and all the original slide out desks and filing are still there. It’s a masterpiece of how to fit a lot in a small space!
You have to leave the carriage to go to a separate kitchen and shower room which are on either side of a covered decked area, which is where I spent much of last week sitting with an array of different drinks taking in the view, which included apple orchards and Bodiam Castle itself.
I totally recommend it as a holiday destination. It’s quirky and beautiful. There is a steam railway in walking distance that during the day can take you to Northiam and Tenterden. In the evenings there is a pub less than a mile away and another called the White Dog about a mile and a half away in nearby Ewhurst Green that does delicious food, and that’s about as far as you can get without a car. You probably want to make sure you have reflective clothing and a torch to get back from them in the dark as well. It was pretty blissful to not be able to do anything except sit on a porch and watch the sun go down.
So what did we do with ourselves all day and night?
Well, we went on a steam train, and then for a long country walk home via several pubs. At the Bodiam station of the Kent & Sussex steam Railway is a small railway carriage that has been turned into a museum. It’s called the Cavell carriage and it’s the railway carriage that carried the body of executed WWI nurse Edith Cavell back to England. She came from Norfolk, which was a little coincidence and made it all the more interesting for me.
We went to Battle Abbey on the only day it rained (and spotted Tony Robinson in the tea room, that’s the second time he’s been in the same place as me, I think I’m being stalked)
We walked down to Bodiam Castle on a stupidly hot day, looked at fish and then hid inside it’s nice cool Medieval walls. Mr Chick had a go at archery, I decided no one needed to die today so stuck to my usual job of moaning about how hot it was.
We drove to Eastbourne during the day to win tat from 2p falls machines and eat the mandatory seaside meal of fish and chips on the Pier.
We went for sunset walks around the farm.
And then we went back to the porch, bought the TV outside and watched Indiana Jones, just because.
Sussex might not pop up highly on your list of go to Holiday destinations, but it should, if you fancy a proper country break. We ate Sussex cheese, drank Sussex cider and beer and the country side is full of gorgeous cottages that are probably all owned by Londoners as weekend homes, but I like to pretend are owned by Farmers and people who do country crafts (and I’m sure some of them still are!)
Here are some links to where we stayed, and where we visited. (p.s.I want to go back to the Prince Regent carriage next year, so if you steal my week I will have to hate you forever)