Explore Winnie-the-Pooh’s corner of England

Although I didn’t visit England until I was eleven, I have very early memories of ‘knowing’ all about it. These memories were based largely on the work of A.A. Milne and in particular the poem, Buckingham Palace, and of course the ever delightful world of Winnie-the-Pooh.

When I finally did visit England, I stood at the gates of Buckingham Palace and couldn’t help but recite “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace, Christopher Robin went down with Alice…” However, I didn’t find Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. But now I have (perhaps another British trip is in order?).

The magnificent Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club in Sussex, England is surrounded by the Hundred Acre Wood (although on a map it’s labelled Ashdown Forest – probably more accurate!). The woodlands of Ashdown Forest were the inspiration for A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories and today are one of the many attractions in Sussex.

Situated between the historic towns of East Grinstead, Uckfield and Crowborough, Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club offers luxurious country-house accommodation – yes, you may feel as if you are on the set of Downton Abbey!

At the bottom of Ashdown Park’s magnificent gardens, golf course and croquet lawn, you’ll find the Hundred Acre Wood (note that it is actually one hundred and eighty six acres!). Pooh fans should be on the look-out for The Enchanted Place, Heffalumps and Pooh Bridge, consider packing a picnic lunch of ‘hunny’ sandwiches and be ready for a few games of poohsticks.

Whilst the hotel can provide helpful maps to all the important Pooh sites, kids can also join in various woodland and other activities as part of Ashdown’s children’s programs – Tigger Tots for children up to age two,  Little Adventurers for three to twelve year olds and Forest Rangers for teens. There are also seasonal activities such as mushroom foraging.

Ashdown Park has numerous seasonal accommodation packages available, with short stays for families, including dinner and breakfast, beginning at £420 per night. Bookings can be made online. Book flights to England online through Flight Centre.

For those who want to brush up on their Winnie-the-Pooh, check out Book Depository!

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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