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A Cultured Weekend at Hummingbird House

Posted to Travellers Tales by Paul on 16th May 2016

Five of us arrived on a glorious sunny May afternoon at the gates of Hummingbird House – a quick call on the buzzer and the wooden gates swung opened to reveal a stunning wisteria-clad Wealden farmhouse in the most glorious of settings – from the serene fish pond with its resident mallards, to the perfectly-clipped potted topiary and the painted gazebo at the bottom of the lawn - we knew we were in for a sensational weekend. 

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We were met by the lovely owner Charlotte who welcomed us with homemade cake, tea, a bottle of Champagne, and a fabulous hamper full of delicious goodies. We then embarked on our tour of the house – the attention to detail, magnificent setting and stunning interiors wowed everyone in the party and Charlotte's genuine love of the house was evident throughout.  

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Dinner on the first night was at The Griffin Inn at Fletching; an award-winning hostelry in the prettiest of villages with sweeping views of the downs from the rear garden. Fabulous food and local craft ales were enjoyed, before heading back to Hummingbird House after a quick provisions stop at nearby Uckfield. 

The weekend forecast promised wall-to-wall sunshine and we were not disappointed; cloudless blue skies meant a visit to the award-winning Eggs to Apples farm shop at nearby Hurst Green – perfect for local strawberries, asparagus and the very best chocolate brownies we'd ever tasted.

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Next up was a visit to the sensational Great Dixter gardens with its breathtaking gardens surrounding the most awe-inspiring medieval manor house – Christopher Lloyd's planting is still as extraordinary as ever with meadows full of rare orchids and awash with pretty yellow buttercups and frothy cow parsley. Exquisite.

The afternoon's culture was found at Charleston (the country home of The Bloomsbury Group at nearby Firle). The artistic interiors have survived perfectly and the atmosphere and feel is extraordinary -the house is surrounded by the prettiest of gardens and the most lovely of settings –a real pastoral pleasure. It was mesmerising  to see at such close quarters the work of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and his fellow artists. We drove the pretty lanes back to Hummingbird House via Glyndebourne and its world famous opera house and the again through the most stunning South Downs scenery.

Sunday was a heavenly visit to the National Trust-owned Sheffield Park Gardens with its huge lakes, azaleas and rhododendron resplendent in all their full brash glory reflecting in the fish-filled lakes.

Back at Hummingbird House we enjoyed a garden lunch of local cheeses, artisan bread and spicy farmhouse chutney before heading to Batemans, the former home of Rudyard Kipling.

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The beautiful setting in the folds of the South Downs offsetting the 'picture postcard' manor house with its mill, meadows and vintage Rolls Royce in the garage. After a final cream tea and strawberries we headed back to Hummingbird House to toast our final evening in the setting sun and remembering our heavenly weekend in this gem of a house. The lovely interiors and genuine warm welcome have been a pure delight and we thank Charlotte and Will and Unique Home Stays for a weekend to truly remember - thank you.  

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Properties featured in this article: Hummingbird House

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