Home Hotel reviewsCountry house hotels Ashdown Park hotel in Sussex: luxury hotel in beautiful grounds

Ashdown Park hotel in Sussex: luxury hotel in beautiful grounds

by Sarah Bridge
ashdown park hotel

A stay at Ashdown Park hotel

As beautiful settings go, Ashdown Park hotel in 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 to reveal acres of rolling green countryside, two fountains bubbling away in a carp-filled lake at the bottom of the hill, the sweep of the hotel itself and colourful clumps of rhododendron bushes as far as the eye could see.

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Ashdown Park hotel terrace

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

It isn’t just its stunning location which makes Ashdown Park one of the loveliest 5 star hotels in East Sussex though, but its impressive historic building which has over 100 individually designed bedrooms and suites and an award-winning restaurant, modern spa and even an imposing converted chapel.

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 history

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.

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l East Sussex

The terrace at Ashdown Park hotel 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. After much investment, it is now one of the best spa hotels in Sussex as well as a popular wedding venue, and well worth a visit.

ashdown park hotel east sussex

The entrance hall to Ashdown Park hotel makes for a grand welcome.

Ashdown Park hotel bedrooms

The hotel itself is vast, as we soon found out on the long trek to our bedroom at the very furthest and highest end of the west wing.

Book Ashdown Park at Booking.com

Visit Ashdown Park on Tripadvisor

The bedroom itself, Sycamore, was a good size, with an immaculate bathroom and great views over the grounds.

ashdown park hotel east sussex

The Sycamore room – smart, large and with great views

ashdown park hotel grounds

The view from our bedroom

The terrace itself was a perfect place to sit in the sun and enjoy the view, although I refrained from tucking in as I knew I would be dining at the hotel’s two AA star restaurant that evening.

Ashdown Park hotel restaurant

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 anderida

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.

Ashdown Park breakfast

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 breakfast buffet

There was a large buffet selection as well as many cooked options

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.

Ashdown Park hotel spa

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. The spa pool at Ashdown Park looked a good size too.

ashdown park exterior

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.

Hotel information and to book Ashdown Park hotel

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

Book Ashdown Park at Booking.com

Visit Ashdown Park on Tripadvisor

Ashdown Park is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

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