Whilst I love camping, Ed isn’t as enamoured, so a cabin in the middle of nowhere is our perfect middle ground for a proper wholesome, down-with-nature weekend. I’d always sort of thought of ‘outdoorsy’ UK weekends as exclusively summer appropriate, but then that’s because I’m thinking about pitching a tent in the rain. Turns out, cabins are the answer to year-round UK exploring. ‘Cos who cares about a wet and soggy long walk, if you get to come back to hot chocolates in a cosy little cabin and dry your feet out in front of a roaring fire? As cabins go, Ditching Cabin is pretty much perfect. An idyllic hideaway set on a lake, down a hill, somewhere in the middle of South Downs National Park (roughly 25 minutes from Brighton), Ditchling is the blueprint for #cabinporn. It’s serene, simple living at its very best, and we were lucky enough to spend two ultra-cosy nights there earlier this year, thanks to Canopy and Stars: the go-to for finding wonderful, whimsical outdoorsy stays.
Now, as much as I love the convenience of being able to live two minutes from a Nisa Local where I can pick up milk and crumpets whatever time I want, I get so much joy from also not being able to do that. Staying in a cabin means forward planning, thinking about what you might want to eat and drink, and then packing it all with you. What you forget, you go without or else you figure it out and make do, and there’s something about that mentality that really brings me a whole lot of joy. Cabin life is simpler living (though a whole lot comfier than camping). And even if it’s just for a weekend, it gives you a real hit-the-reset-button feeling.
Ditchling Cabin dishes up not only escapism, but interior-inspo to take home too. So cosy, you’ll struggle to ever leave, the open living space has a log burner and a bucket of kindling for crackling fires round the clock, colourful feature furniture, wooden fishing rods on the wall, and there’s a stack of boardgames on shelves that’ll keep you entertained through even the wettest of weekends. Upstairs (yep, it’s a two-storey cabin!) a supremely comfortable XXL bed overlooks the whimsically-blue lake and a roll-top bath calls out for a compulsory mid-morning soak. After an invigorating dip in the lake (you’ve gotta do it, whatever the weather!), warm up under the heated outdoor shower — now that’s proper cabin living!
The proud owners of Ditchling have really thought of everything: there’s a stash of wetsuits for cold days in the lake, matches and torches for camp-fires outside, a first-aid kit for little accidents, and my favourite amenity: a vat of Cadbury’s cocoa and a big ol’ jar of marshmallows for family-friendly nightcaps. If there’s more than two of you travelling, there are even some nifty bunk beds that tuck away into a secret cubby-hole in the lounge.
I’m sure Ditchling is super special in summer with long, late nights and BBQs by the lake, but our January stay served up serious ‘hygge’ vibes and made for a much-craved winter pick-me-up. A roaring fire and a blanket, a big bowl of one-pan pasta, a bubble bath with a glass of wine at 4pm, and in bed with a book at 9:30pm. You’d be hard pushed to beat that.
DITCHLING CABIN, sleeps four, from £320/night