Rolling hills of Sussex
The delightful village of Burwash lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Sussex Weald. A stone’s throw from the Jacobean National Trust property of Bateman’s, the home of Rudyard Kipling for 35 years, this lovely house was a backdrop for his famous books, including The Jungle Book, Puck of Pook’s Hill, as well as the poem ‘If’. An excellent base for visiting the surrounding towns and villages and only 15 miles from the coast, Burwash is central to a plethora of historic houses, castles and gardens in the area that you cannot afford to miss.
Recognised as a local trading centre in the 13th century by King Henry III, a weekly market and a May three-day fair was authorised which continued until the 20th century. Sadly, the market isn’t there anymore but the tradition has continued with the annual village fete now held every August Bank Holiday. The village is pretty, with 15th and 16th century cottages slung with Georgian tiles with the oldest house there, Chateaubriand, dating back to 1375.
The village has some lovely shops, and the famous ‘Burwash in Bloom’ competition is held every June, with many houses and shops playing a part. Pop along to Burwash Manor if you can – a working organic farm with tea rooms and a selection of unique little shops, that also offers lovely farm walks.
Smuggling is an important part of the history of Sussex, and Burwash is no exception. Rumoured to be a stop-off on the Sussex Coast to London route, Kipling referred to it in one of his writings, and several smugglers’ graves allegedly lie in the village church of St. Bartholomew’s.
Why not dive back in time and imagine the smugglers enjoying a drink or two on their way to London to deliver letters and brandy? Originally counting on seven pubs in the village, only three remain – The Bell, The Rose and Crown, and The Bear, all of which retain many of their original features.
"Burwash is central to a plethora of historic houses, castles and gardens."
Bateman’s is a must. Get caught up in the magical atmosphere of this impressive house, where Kipling’s study appears as though he has never left. Walls of books all around and a cluttered desk will make you imagine him hard at work, penning his next book or poem, and then pull on your wellies to enjoy a hearty winter walk around the estate. Make fun memories in the ‘Rewards and Fairies’ winter garden trail; starting at Puck’s Toadstool Ring, you can while away the hours searching for hidden fairy homes and a wise old tree spirit! To warm up afterwards, a cream tea in the Mulberry Tea Room will do just the trick.
Being perfectly situated in the triangle of Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Hastings, with Rye and Battle also within easy reach, you will find masses of things to do. Visit Bewl Water or Dallington Forest for a lovely long walk with your dog, visit the sweet little towns of Wadhurst and Sissinghurst, and don't leave without seeing the breath-taking Bodiam Castle, open to visitors all year round.