Hidden in a ten-acre estate in Waldron, East Sussex, Roserai is a characterful former oast house, now available to rent through Unique Homestays.
The property, which sleeps up to eight guests, was built in 1575 and boasts a traditional Sussex sandstone and redbrick exterior with an original square-capped roof. Its grounds are equally picturesque – weeping willows, majestic cedars and oak trees surround a large lake, where you can float out onto the calm waters in a rowing boat with only the local wildfowl for company.
As well as these heritage features, Roserai offers more modern facilities including a large, heated swimming pool (available to use from May to September), a hot tub, and a spa pavilion with sauna and steam room. The latter also houses a fully-equipped kitchen, and there’s a gas barbecue and wood-fired pizza oven for any budding chefs to whip up al-fresco fare, best enjoyed at the spacious outdoor seating area.
WHAT TO PACK
Interiors have a distinct Franco-English flavour thanks to the owners’ love of the South of France, where they have spent time over the years. Chunky exposed beams, period furniture, and beautiful plaster details combine with French art adorning the walls to create a whimsical yet sophisticated aesthetic that appeals to all tastes.
The sitting room boasts a huge fireplace, great for huddling around with friends or family and playing endless board games, while the farmhouse style kitchen comes complete with a large double oven, a fridge-freezer, dishwasher, washer-dryer and Nespresso machine. There is everything you need for a successful self-catering break and it is super easy to relax and unwind as soon as you’ve unpacked your bags.
Upstairs, the accommodation is plentiful – there are four main bedrooms comprising three super king-size beds and one king-size bed. One child’s bunk room is available on request, at an additional cost. One bedroom has a light and airy en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower, and for the others there is a large family bathroom with an overhead shower, plus a ground-floor WC.
Ceilings are hung with sparkling chandeliers, beds are dressed in sumptuous linens and cosy quilts and on the door of each room is a playful brass knocker depicting animals including a fox, dragonfly, snail, owl and bee. Meanwhile, contemporary bathrooms are stocked with fluffy white towels and bathrobes, plus luxurious Bramley products to use during your stay.
The Little Extras
On arrival, a bottle of fizz will be waiting for you in an ice bucket, along with a luxury welcome hamper packed with a bottle of the owners’ favourite wine, freshly-baked bread, cakes and local cheeses. In the sitting room you’ll find logs and kindling to get you started, plus other well thought out details for the perfect staycation such as a TV with an Apple box, a Bang & Olufsen music system, DAB radio, Wifi, Hunter wellies, a croquet set plus marshmallows and toasting forks to take out to the fire pit after the sun has gone down.
Two small well-behaved dogs or one large dog are welcome too, on prior request and with an additional cost.
The To-Do List
Halfway between bustling Tunbridge Wells and coastal Eastbourne, Roserai enjoys a scenic spot at the edge of the High Weald, with rolling green views for miles around. The world-famous Glyndebourne opera house is just a short drive away, where culture enthusiasts can take in a show during the season from May to August. Don’t forget to take a picnic and dress to impress. If you like your history, visit Herstmonceux Castle (half an hour by car), an impressive 14th-century landmark in a splendid 300-acre estate including woodland, formal and themed gardens.
The small hamlet of Waldron is the closest point for buying fresh produce (check out the weekly food market) or popping into an authentic Sussex country pub, such as The Star Inn, which offers a hearty Sunday roast, warm atmosphere and a huge selection of real ales, beers, ciders and wines. Waldron also has a 12th-century church thought to have been built on the site of an older Saxon one; a circular trail takes walkers across High Weald, starting and stopping at the village itself.
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