Cabin on the Hill

Forest Row and the Ashdown Forest

Kent and Sussex

Bateman’s House (National Trust Property)

The home of Rudyard Kipling from 1902 until his death in 1936.  The house was bequeathed to the National Trust when his wife, Carrie died. Built in 1634, from local sandstone, Sussex oak beams and Wealden clay baked tiles, it is set in acres of woodland. His own Phantom 1 Rolls Royce is still in the garage!    If you’re lucky during your visit, you may hear readings from Kipling’s stories enacted.

Burwash, East Sussex,  TN19 7DS  (approx an hour’s journey)

Charleston Farmhouse (run by the Charleston Trust)

Home of the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant; and country retreat for many of the Bloomsbury Group. Richly decorated with wall murals, painted furniture, ceramics and paintings.   

Charleston, Firle, East Sussex, BN8 6LL

Monk’s House (National Trust Property)

Country home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf. This is a small house with a large garden. The well-known portrait of Virginia by her sister, Vanessa Bell, hangs there.

Rodmell, near Lewes, BN7 3HF  

Sissinghurst Castle (National Trust Property)

The home of Vita Sackville-West and the diplomat Harold Nicolson in the middle of the twentieth century. The gardener, writer and television presenter Sarah Raven now lives in one wing with her husband the writer Adam Nicolson, Vita and Harold’s grandson.

You will find the White Garden, the Lime Tree Walk, and the Tower from the top of which the whole garden can be taken in with a sweep of the eyes, if you have a head for heights. The Tower is where Vita retreated to write. Vita was one of the founder members of the National Trust’s garden committee.

near Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2AB 

Writers’ Houses


Home to one of the great modern opera houses. The annual festival is a theatrical occasion in itself for the audience. Evening dress and picnics in the gardens overlooking the Sussex downs during the long interval creates a magical out of this world time.

Glyndebourne,  Lewes,  East Sussex, BN8 5UU

Arts, Architecture, Crafts and Gardens

Chagall Windows at Tudeley

All Saints Church has its twelve windows decorated by Marc Chagall. Visit on a sunny day!

Tudeley, Tonbridge, Kent, TN11 0NZ

Derek Jarman’s Garden

In the bleak seascape surrounding Prospect Cottage, the Dungeness Nuclear Plant is in view and didn’t detract from Jarman’s decision to buy this fisherman’s cottage in 1986. Wild shingle beach, upturned boat wrecks, and a sharp wind make for a bracing walk. The Pilot Inn is nearby for fish and chips.

Ditchling Museum 

Presently closed for refurbishment. Important collection of art, craft and applied arts including works of Eric Gill.

Church Lane, Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8TB

Great Dixter House & Gardens

It was in the gardens of this Sussex Manor House that the garden writer, Christopher Lloyd established his nursery and developed his approach to the garden with mixed colourful borders and meadows. The old dwellings were restored with attention to local styles and traditions by the comparatively young architect, Edwin Lutyens in 1912. There is a magnificent medieval Great Hall.

Great Dixter, Northiam, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 6PH

Standen (National Trust Property)

Just outside East Grinstead, this is a solidly built country house designed by arts and crafts architect Philip Webb, and decorated with William Morris wall-papers and fabrics.

East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 4NE

Worth Abbey

A Grade 2 listed building; the Abbey Church is a wonderful example of a circular 1960s design, and recently refurbished. Here a community of Benedictine monks pray and work within society, offering education and hospitality as part of their calling.

Forest Row is one of the largest villages in the country and four miles from East Grinstead where trains come in from London Victoria.

We are well served with cafes, restaurants and pubs, a Co-op and Post Office, bakery, a variety of small shops, cash points, and a chemist.

The house is a few minutes walk to one of the paths leading directly onto the Ashdown Forest. A slightly misleading name as most of the forest is in fact open heath-land. In medieval England the word forest was derived from ‘foris’ Latin for ‘outside’. This large stretch of uncultivated land belonged to the Crown and from medieval times was the haunt of royal hunting parties.  There were also traditional practices for commoners to exercise rights of grazing and wood collection. Before the Enclosures Act, dwellings were erected at random which is why you will come across houses built in many secluded and lovely spots. 

There are many ways to walk across the forest and it’s easy to get lost. Take a map (provided) and bring walking boots.


Sussex & Kent have many places of interest to visit for writers, artists, and gardeners.   Please check visiting hours and details before planning a journey.

In your car

To make the most of your time, I’m sorry to say that the car is de rigueur. Public Transport by bus or train across the counties is unfortunately a time consuming and frustrating activity!  

The historic town of Lewes (35 minutes);

Tunbridge Wells (30 minutes), & Brighton (50 minutes) are all possible for a day’s trip.

Go & Play Poohsticks

Christopher Robin grew up in the nearby village of Hartfield where A.A. Milne wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories. Thousands of foot-steps across the original 1907 Pooh Bridge in the Ashdown Forest eventually wore it out and a newly reconstructed timber bridge replaced the old one at the end of the nineteen nineties. is an interesting source for information.

On your bike

There are many bike routes for anyone wishing to bring their bike, or hire one in the village.

The garden at Great Dixter

Sustrans cycle path