Pack your swimsuit and swap the real world for a cabin on the water. Ditchling Cabin, set on the edge of its own lake in the South Downs National Park in Sussex, is the perfect place to hole up in if you’re in need of a peaceful escape.
Ditchling Cabin review
It’s hard to choose where you want to escape to the most when you peruse Canopy & Stars’ collection of quirky places to stay – do you feel like holing up in a tree house, a wheat silo, a double decker bus? But high on any wanderlust wishlist has to be charming Ditchling Cabin in the South Downs National Park. Dive straight in to your own lake from the doorstep of this beautiful hideaway – wild swimmers will never want to leave.
Ditchling Cabin is all about life by the water, perched as it is on the edge of a four acre fishing lake. On a balmy summers day you’re likely to be out-of-doors from dusk till dawn – even in still-chilly early March when Mary and I stayed here we swam multiple times a day, first lapping the lake in wetsuits and then daring each other to jump in in just our swimsuits. As well as no less than three pontoons you can dive off, a rowing boat, a raft and canoes also wait tied up right next to the cabin for you to paddle about in.
Life on deck is very easy (and rather luxurious) at Ditchling Cabin – this wooden bolthole has everything you need al fresco, from a barbeque, outdoor wine fridge, fire pit and closet full of wetsuits to borrow to – joy of joys for keen swimmers – a hot outdoor shower to warm under after a dip.
A stay at this dreamy cabin may be all about splashing out in the great outdoors but once you retreat inside, you’ll find a wonderfully snug and cosy space complete with stove, big squashy sofa, plenty of books and board games to curl up with and a kitchen area with a big dining table. Mary and I picked wild garlic in the nearby woods and cooked it up with pasta and ricotta on our first evening, watching the sun set outside. All you can see from the cabin windows is a view of lake and trees – giving you the feel of a real cabin in the wild.
Climb the stairs to the top floor of Ditchling Cabin to find the bedroom, with huge windows looking over the water. Pride of place is a roll top bath begging to be lolled in with a large glass of wine. You’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep in the huge bed, especially if you’re like me, and love to wake up to the morning light and the sound of birds. Bringing more than one other person? Downstairs two dinky single beds are hidden away in a cupboard – perfect for children.
Ditchling is tucked into a corner of the South Downs National Park, with wild trails practically on your doorstep. A short ramble or, if you’re feeling energetic, a trail run will bring you on to the 100 mile-long South Downs Way, where you can walk for miles and miles along a winding ridge of chalky grassland that looks out over Sussex. The sea and buzzy Brighton are also only a 20 minute drive or an hour or so cycle away. But really, it’s hard to find the motivation to roam far from the cabin when you could just crack open a beer and sit and watch the sun set low over your very own lake of an evening.
Photos don’t do justice to the sense of calm you’ll feel as soon as you arrive at this little house on the water. The secret is already out, and Ditchling Cabin is often fully booked for months in advance – so if you’re planning future adventures, put this magical hidey hole in your diary now – this is an escape you can look forward to for months.
Stay here: A stay at Ditchling Cabin, which sleeps four, costs from £320 per night.