Two weekends ago for Valentine’s Day we ventured outside of London to the South Downs National Park just north of Brighton. A week prior while I was doing some last minute research for a weekend getaway, upon Googling ‘UK winter camping’ I discovered the English concept of staying in a Shepherd’s Hut. Literally, a hut Shepherd’s would sleep in. Who knew this was a thing! Apparently a very big thing, as once I knew what I was looking for, the options seemed endless. Our search was narrowed down quickly due to last minute availability, allowance of a single night weekend stay (Saturday), and proximity from London via train. And so we ended up staying in The Shepherd’s Hut, pampered and very well fed by hosts Sally and Richard. Their hut lies in a garden area just steps outside of their country home, beautifully nestled within the South Downs but a very accessible walk from Brighton. On Saturday late morning we took the train from London Bridge to Brighton, and following a few hours of exploring, walked about five miles to our final destination.
Fair warning – I wouldn’t say the walk from Brighton to the hut was particularly scenic as 90% was through the city and outskirts, but we personally enjoy seeing all facets of a new town.
Upon arrival to the hut, a little after 4pm, we were welcomed into the home of Sally and Richard with tea and chocolate cake. We spent about an hour getting to know our hosts, which was a nice aspect of the overall experience, sincerely feeling welcomed and gaining a better understanding of their area and their life in the South Downs. The hut itself is quite small – just enough room for a double bed, small table and cast iron wood burning fireplace – but extremely cozy, warm and comfortable. Following a few hours or reading post tea, we choose to have our delicious three course dinner cooked by Sally in the hut. In case you’re wondering, just inside the main house is a full bathroom for use only by guests, with everything as you would expect at a B&B from towels to robes to hot water bottles.
FYI – Don’t let my desaturated photos fool you, I’m just doing some experimental editing, the colors of the South Downs can be quite vibrant in the sun.
On Sunday, following a glorious English breakfast featuring everything – fruit, cereal, yogurt, bacon, sausage, beans, toast, etc. – we headed out to the South Downs Way for a day hike looping northwest along the Downs and back to Brighton for our evening train. Could not have had more perfect weather.
More photos/info coming…
Saddlescombe Farm, Brighton, England