Philippa King, the Creative and Marketing Director at The Bell in Ticehurst, tells us all about the Inn’s colourful history and their intriguing lodges nestled around their very own cosy fire pit.
Nestled away in East Sussex lies the village of Ticehurst, where you’re sure to stumble across The Bell.
Named after the single bell in the village church, this popular watering hole has a lot going on behind their doors.
The Bell has a number of interesting facilities, including ‘The Stable with a Table’ and ‘The Big Room’, which can be hired out for a variety of functions, but it doesn’t stop there.
One of the most intriguing aspects of The Bell, are the rooms they have available, both inside and out.
The main building houses seven quirky bedrooms, all named after a line of a poem written for The Bell by their design team.
“The hush of the trees, I am here.
Watching you blue against the window with
the moon wild behind you, I just knew.
There is nothing stranger than truth.
Uncertainty lies behind the closed door.
Anything is possible. This is the then and the
now. Between the benefit of the doubt and
that certain something, is you.
Simple things that echo make smiles of
Each of the seven bedrooms that are available feature a king size or super-king size bed, handmade Somnus mattresses, feather duvets, flat screen TVs, complimentary WiFi, and an en-suite bathroom complete with luxury toiletries.
But other than these basic provisions, each room is uniquely decorated. From exposed wooden beams to cosy colour schemes, you don’t know what surprises lie in wait behind the doors.
The Bell’s Creative and Marketing Director, Philippa King, said: “The only thing they have in common is a silver birch tree and a sinfully comfortable bed in every room, otherwise they are all completely different.
“They have individual pieces of furniture painted in a slightly quirky way, vintage rugs, or fabulous pieces of art. Some have copper or fabulous pieces of art. Some have copper baths and others have very uneven floors!”
Moving away from these majestic rooms and back into the fresh air, you’ll notice something that truly makes The Bell seem like a magical place.
Comfortably tucked away in their own private gardens, around a giant fire pit, four little grottos await their guests.
These rustic lodges, like the seven bedrooms found inside, are all one of a kind. They are named ‘Pour L’Amour’, ‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘Between The Lines’ and last but not least, the ‘Love Nest’.
Without giving too much away and spoiling the mystery, Philippa said: “The lodge names hint at what you might find within.”
If you’ve found that your business is expanding and you need more space, why not consider building your own exterior units and take inspiration from The Bell’s lodges?
Philippa said: “Our rooms were proving very popular and our wedding business was developing well, so we needed more accommodation.
“We had a lovely big garden and wanted to create some truly memorable spaces for our guests to stay in.
“All our lodges have great bathrooms and private outdoor patios with their own little fires. The ‘Love Nest’ even has its own private roof terrace and wood burner.”
Captivating exterior units such as these are becoming increasingly popular within the hospitality industry.
Back in 2019, plans were announced for a new and improved Bell.
Over 200 local residents attended The Bell to peruse the plans, which received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Phase 1 of the plans is now complete and guests can visit the extended function rooms, The Stable and The Big Room, as well as the new independent bar.
Phase 2 will also soon be put in motion and will result in a new restaurant with an open kitchen and three new rooms above the bakery.
But perhaps one of the most anticipated improvements of phase 2 will be the addition of three new, plant covered lodges, which are to be built in the bakery garden.
If you’re interested in creating your own
fairy-tale lodges, Philippa said: “Know that you have a market for them. Keep your building methods as standard as possible and add all the interest on the inside.
“We enjoy very high occupancy rates with the lodges, and they are popular all year round.”
She added: “The inspiration and individuality behind each of the lodges was a result of a collaboration between Richard Upton, the owner, and a Brighton design consultancy called ‘We Like Today’.
“The lodges themselves were built by a team of local builders and craftsmen, who were managed by Stephen Evans, a local civil engineer.”
In addition to using local craftsmen to create their one-of-a-kind lodges, The Bell “celebrates local produce in all its natural glory” and endeavour to use locally sourced products as much as possible, which includes locally sourced beers and wine!
Some of the local businesses they work with includes, but is not limited to, Newington Estate (game), Lighthouse Bakery, Alsop & Walker (cheese), Cooper’s Farm, Maynard’s Fruit Farm, and more.
The Bell is still owned by the Upton’s who bought and restored the property to all its former glory, and can be found close to Bewl Water, Battle Abbey, Scotney Castle and many other popular locations.
1296 – The house was given to the Parish Clerk or Sexton of St Mary the Virgin and administered bread and ale to the poor
14th C – The house was given to the Parish Clerk or Sexton of St Mary the Virgin and administered bread and ale to the poor
1552 – Property is sold to Henry Sawkins who leased it to the Reynoldes family of Ticehurst, who kept the lease for the next 50 years
1645 – The Bell became a registered Inn, licensed to lodge travellers for a nightly tariff of 1 penny per bed
1725 – The Bell Inn was bought by a brewery in Lamberhurst. Susannah Slaney kept The Bell until her death
1852 – The Bell was sold to the Culverden brewery of Tunbridge Wells.
1902 – The Bell became a registered hotel
1920 – Sold to Philips and Co of west Malling
1950’s – Taken over by the brewer Flowers. Henry Reeve became landlord until his death, when his wife Elizabeth took over
1970 – Tenancy taken on by Henry and Elizabeth Reeve’s son-in-law, Frederick. His wife then took over until her death and the property’s closure in the late 2000’s
2008 – The Bell Inn was bought by Richard and Roz Upton of Stonegate
2009 – Two years of restoration work and reinvigorating the inn
Nov 2011 – The Bell Inn reopened its doors
Dale Hill Golf Course
King John’s Nursery
This article was first published in Issue 43 of the Luxury BnB Magazine in October 2020:
Luxury BnB Printed Magazine – October / November 2020Product on sale