The southern county of East Sussex is home to all manner of gems, attracting an impressive number of holidaymakers each year. From Victorian seaside esplanades to quaint and picturesque rural villages, East Sussex has it all. The county is also rich with history, which the locals are keen to preserve. From this desire sprung one of the county's biggest tourist attractions - the Bluebell Railway. With plenty of hotels near the southern terminus of Sheffield Park Station, it couldn't be easier to visit this heritage line.
A Slice of History
The Bluebell Railway is an 11 mile long heritage railway line, running steam trains from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park. The volunteer-run line is the United Kingdom's first preserved standard gage passenger railway. Operating independently since 1960, the line has become one of Sussex's foremost tourist attractions.
Sheffield Park Station
Sheffield Park Station is the southern terminus of the Bluebell Railway, located on the Greenwich Meridian, beside the River Ouse. As well as marking 'the end of the line', the station also operates as the Bluebell Railway's headquarters. The iconic station was built in 1882, in the Queen Anne revival style.
Sheffield Park Station is far more than just a station, also featuring storage for an array of stunning vintage carriages. There's a model railway, shop and museum at the station. Visitors can find refreshments and a picnic area beside the car park. There's also good disabled access, toilets and a pub.
Hotels near the Bluebell Railway
After checking out the locomotives and coaches, you'll be keen to check into a local hotel. Fortunately, there's no shortage of excellent hotels in East Sussex, and particularly in the area around the Bluebell Railway.
Bexted Park Hotel offers a grand retreat, whose opulent perfectly suits the aesthetic of the steam railway. This decadent four star hotel is set within a Palladian mansion in some 312 acres of parkland. The rural setting is just a short drive away from the Sheffield Park Station.
It's not just large and luxurious hotels that are to be found in the East Sussex countryside. The area's also home to some excellent, friendly and intimate guesthouses. White Lodge B&B is further south, near Lewes though still within easy reach of the Bluebell Railway.