Things have been a little different recently haven’t they!? We are beyond pleased to be open again and helping you all have a well deserved staycation with lots of R&R in our beautiful B&B barns. We are situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park with direct access onto the famous South Downs Way! It’s been full steam ahead here with guest stays and basking in the summer sunshine, but we are looking forward to the coming months and change in the season. Autumnal nights snuggled up in our courtyard with a spiced latte (or wine!) yes please…

Autumn unwind and must sees

With the Autumn fast approaching, we wanted to showcase 5 of the best things Sussex has to offer for the upcoming season and how they can’t be missed!

There is a vast collection of beautiful gardens and parks that belong to the National Trust in Sussex, with some located just a short distance from here at Blue Door Barns. These include Sheffield Park & Garden, Nymans and Wakehurst (country sister to London’s Kew Gardens) - a collection of historic houses, country estates and their gardens, that are beautifully curated to showcase each of the seasons through natural beauty. There really are no better gardens to enjoy and absorb the changing foliage, local wildlife, glistening lakes and woodland walks.

With fun for all the family including cafes, seed banks, woodland trails or picturesque, picnic spots and the backdrop of stunning historic, country houses , all venues are ideal for a day trip during long weekend stays or during half term holidays with the kiddy winks. All are within 45 minutes of Blue Door Barns. We have also featured some of the best local historical monuments; Michelham Priory and Bodiam Castle, that provide great fun for all ages. Finally, we have featured the Bluebell Railway, one of the finest heritage steam trains that travels across the glorious Sussex countryside.

Top 5 places to visit this autumn in Sussex

  1. Sheffield Park
  2. As Sheffield Park put it themselves, it is a garden that will “excite the senses”; full of beautiful plants, lakes, woodlands and views. It really is a must when visiting East Sussex for a staycation this Autumn. The park's beauty and landscaping has been crafted throughout its history, with distinct characteristics of each owner's influence being reflected. Arthur Soames, owner until 1934, had a love for colours and much of the autumn colours at Sheffield Park are down to his horticultural expertise.

    Autumn @ Sheffield Park

    Home to their own natural woodland playtrail called the ‘Ringwood Toll’, it is the perfect path to explore the grounds or play a game of wildlife bingo (which should keep the kids entertained!). The gardens, which surround four distinct lakes are so picturesque, perfect for a stroll around after looking at the diverse range of plants and wildlife. Or relax on a bench for a natter with a loved one, with the grounds as an impressive backdrop.

  3. Wakehurst
  4. Wakehurst is a beautiful house and botanical garden, which is one of Sussex’s real gems. It belongs to the National Trust but is collectively managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Home to trees, plants, and flowers from all over the world including their famous horsebridge wood - groupings of trees native to North America that can take you on a wild adventure trail. For some tranquility, the wetlands is a beautiful boarded walk which is ideal for roaming some of the 300 acres of Wakehurst and gazing at the animal inhabitants and plants.

    One of the key features of Wakehurst is its magnificent ‘Millenium Seed Bank’; a conservation project which stores seeds from plants and fungi native to the UK and from all over the world, in a bid to reduce extinction. It is the “most diverse wild plant species genetic resource in the world” - which is pretty impressive!

    Wakehurst has a big emphasis on fun for all the family including a range of kid friendly activities, making it a superb choice for a half term day out. Including the ‘Log Trial’, which includes some of the Wakehurst trees that can be climbed for an interactive adventure! The Seed Bank has also crafted activities that can educate yet entertain the kids about plant heritage and conservation. Wakehurst holds many events throughout the year including bat walks, guided mindfulness courses and their renowned lantern trail festival ‘Glow Wild Festival’.

    ©Wakehurst Facebook 2016, ©Jim Holden, RBG Kew

  5. Nymans
  6. Nymans, and it's beautiful landscape and grounds, is a must see when having a stay in the Sussex area. Just a 20 minute drive from our doors, you can walk around the romantic home and gardens, which are home to an abundance of unusual plants and ruins. The gardens are full of hybrid plants and incorporate foliage from all around the world including China and Tasmania, which heavily reflects the expeditions of many famous plant hunters and shouldn’t be missed!

    © Nymans, National Trust

    Hopefully the British weather plays nice and you can enjoy a walk under some sunshine but with a refreshing crisp autumn breeze. Then warm yourself up in the Pavilion Cafe with a hot chocolate (yum!). The gardens are surrounded by vast woodlands which can give you a 360 view and the chance to stretch your legs and enjoy the day.

  7. Michelham Priory
  8. Immerse yourself in the Tudor era, with all things Henry the 8th and the 15th century way of life. Set on its own island, surrounded by a water filled moat and medieval grounds, you can learn about over 800 years of history and have some all important fun! The gardens have been recreated to accurately represent medieval styling and the natural habitats that would have existed. Whether that is in the ‘Physic Garden’, home to an array of herbs that would have been used by the Tudor staff in the Kitchens; or the ‘Orchard Garden’ - which follows a linear design that is typical of the medieval era, lined with an abundance of historial fruit. It truly is a beautiful historic site which combines some interesting facts with stunning grounds, that can be enjoyed by all the family.

    ©David Ross, Britain Express

  9. Bodiam Castle
  10. A 14th century moated castle, known as the “quintessential English Castle’” that boasts extensive grounds and medieval ruins that truly capture the imagination. The moat can be walked around giving a panoramic view of the castle and chance to take in its history and dissolution. The architecture of the impressive castle is typical of medieval style, with original gatehouses and courtyards and offers another great day out in Sussex. Bodiam Castle is an ideal way of bringing history to life with the kids whilst keeping it fun.

    Bodiam Castle is also home to one of the largest collections of bat roosts and the trust works hard to protect this. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on the daily bat walks to catch a glimpse of some!

    This shortlist of beautiful gardens and historic monuments offer some of the best days out in Sussex and are particularly wonderful in Autumn. For more information please check out their websites which have been listed below. As with the latest coronavirus guidelines, number of visitors are restricted so prior bookings are required and safety guidelines should be followed.

    ©Bit About Britain, 2017

  11. Bluebell Railway
  12. The Bluebell Railway is a collection of spectacular vintage trains that run from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, passing through the renowned Sussex countryside and bluebell covered fields - the glory to its name! A visit is an absolute must when exploring East Sussex, with interactive displays, cafes and train rides, it is a fantastic way to learn about the industrial age and unwind in the depth of the Sussex countryside. Each train ride stops at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote, allowing you to observe the history behind each station whether that’s straight from the Victorian era to the fifties!

    If you're looking for the perfect date night with a twist...the new ‘The Blue Belle’ evening fine dining experience will certainly tickle your fancy! Dine and wine on the vintage 1960’s train, with a delicious three course meal and celebrate the Bluebell Railways 60th birthday!

    © The Bluebell Railway

Sheffield Park:



Michelham Priory:

Bodiam Castle:

Bluebell Railway: