Embers Bentley

Our stunning location on the doorstep of the south downs national park

You really are spoilt for choice when you stay at Embers Bentley – you can do as much or little as you want!  If you’re like us and love camping, you’ll know that the fun shouldn’t be over when the sun goes down. That’s why when night-time falls at Embers Bentley, your own personal campfire lights up! To cook on, to tell spooky stories around, or just to warm your toes with a nice bottle of red.
 
We’ve just started making Pizza's from our Wood Fired Oven on site - a fantastic way to start your holiday off.  Please order in advance to avoid disappointment as we can get very busy.  Also, we hope you'll be mighty impressed with our new wooden facility building at the campsite and with all the home comforts on site such as piping hot showers.  Mostly Powered by solar and with water saving devices, so you can enjoy our campsite again and again, and nature will never know you were there.

 

 

Location

Our campsite is located at the Bentley Estate in East Sussex, giving you the perfect rural retreat for your holiday.  Apart from exploring the picturesque grounds in the estate or playing games in the camping field or wooden adventure playground, you can take a family trip on the miniature Bentley railway, visit the unique collection of cars and motorcycles at the Bentley motor museum, view the amazing collection of wildfowl birds to finally indulging yourself at the tearooms with afternoon tea and cake – all conveniently located on the doorstep of the campsite.  Entry to the Estate's Motor Museum and Wildfowl Park costs £8 per adult and £6 per child.
 
From the campsite, you can wander to the local pubs with outside gardens or, for the more adventurous, you can take a hike on the South Downs National Park located just a few miles away and visit the seaside.  The local area comprises many fantastic places to visit from hilltops overlooking the sea on the South Downs Way only a few miles away, the iconic Seven Sisters Country Park with majestic chalk cliff to a quintessentially English village named Firle with a super pub and Firle Place.
 
The history of the Estate dates back over 700 years, with the first records indicating the land originally belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury.  More recently, the Askews purchased the Estate in 1937 and during which, they added two Palladian rooms to the original farmhouse and artfully redecorating the interiors.  Bentley House’s drawing room contains mid 18th century Chinese wallpaper and gilt furniture and the Bird Room, at the opposite end of the Estate house, contains a collection of Wildfowl paintings by Philip Rickman.  To the rear are formal gardens with rare trees and plants.
 

Address: Embers Camping, Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum, Lewes, Sussex, BN8 5AF

For detailed directions click here

SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK

A few miles south of the campsite, you come across the iconic South Downs National Park offering a landscape as diverse as it is breathtaking.  Views over the countryside, ancient woodland, valleys and seaside offer all you could want in an area of outstanding natural beauty.  You can hike along the seaside on the South Downs Way for many miles, take your mountain bike on a trail in the valleys or swim in the seaside.

 

The Seven Sisters Country Park lies within the national park reaching an area of 280 hectares, boasting chalk cliffs and beaches for a swimming in the sea, making it one of Britain's finest unspoilt coastlines.  It's very popular with sporting enthusiasts offering trails and tracks for bike riding, walking or taking your canoe down one of the rivers.  

MINIATURE RAILWAY, WILDFOWL AND MOTOR MUSEUM, BENTLEY HOUSE AND GARDENS

There are plenty of activities to keep your family busy on the doorstep of the campsite.  Get on-board at “Bentley Station” for a classic miniature railway experience on the estate, or view classic cars and with around 2,500 birds and 130 species from around the world, the wildfowl collection boasts the most diverse private collection in Europe.  

 

 The house was improved and redecorated substantially by the Askew family from the 1960’s to what it is today – a fantastic display of Palladium architecture and 18th century decoration with formal gardens to the rear.

PUB TRAIL - 2 MILES

From the campsite, you can walk to a local pub the Halfway House pub, about 2 miles away though the estate, where you can enjoy the local ale from the 19th-century brewer Harvey’s with an outside pub garden with an adventure playground for the children.

HORSE RIDING, BOATING AND BIKE RIDING

There are numerous bike tracks you can access in the South Downs National Park, which is just a few miles of the campsite.  Another popular route is the Cuckoo Trail, just east of the campsite, encompassing a 14-mile track for walkers, cyclists and horse riders from Heathfield all the way to Hampden Park. 

 

At the Anchor Inn (3.5 miles walk from the campsite), you can hire boats have a pub lunch and enjoy the surround area.  In addition, there are nearby stables that cater for beginners or advanced riders.

BLACKCAP AND CUCKMERE VALLEY

Blackcap occupies 623 acres of classic downland experience with secret woodland glades along the ridge of the South Downs.  Known locally as Bracky Bottom, because of the bracken growing in the coomble, located only 7 miles from the campsite, you’ll be rewarded with scented walks in the summer time from the wild flowering marjoram, which grows in abundance over the hillside.  Access is via a lay-by on the B2116.ff

 

Further eastwards along the South Downs, the Cuckmere Valley, which overlooks the Seven Sisters, is a haven for wildlife, from over-wintering wildfowl to colourful wild flowers with the river meandering through to the sea.

FIRLE VILLAGE & PLACE

Firle Village is a quintessentially English village in the heart of the South Downs, with a variety of cottages, many covered in flint, the Ram Inn, a traditional open-fire inn with great locally sourced produce, one of the oldest cricket clubs in the world dating back to 1758 and its own blacksmith.  From the village, you can access the hilltops and onto the South Downs Way only a short distance away.

 

Firle Place, open from May to September, showcases traditional English heritage and tradition dating back over 500 years with private gardens spanning over 100 acres.

Pizza Time at Embers Bentley

Enjoy freshly made Pizza's at Embers Bentley from Margaritas to Pepperoni, you'll not be disappointed with our new Wood Fired Oven.  We use fresh ingredients and everything is made on site.  A great start to your camping weekend - from £7 for an 11 inch Pizza, order in advance of your arrival is preferable so you don't miss out! 

Apr 1 2017 - Apr 16 2017

Bentley will be running a number of Easter themed activities over the Easter holiday weeks - 1st - 16th April 2017. There will be a arts and crafts, an easter egg trail and a chance to meet our new rabbits and guinea pigs. The miniature shetland ponies will be offering rides and we may even have some new arivals in the bird reserve if the weather starts to warm up........... Come and join the fun!!
Jul 6 2017 - Jul 8 2017
Hastings Beer and Music Festival is a three-day event organised by Hastings Round Table. It is the biggest social event in the area, with stunning sea views from it’s elevated venue, The Oval. The event is entirely staffed by volunteers, and as such every single penny (over £1m to date) raised goes to local good causes.
With a massive selection available in the Real Ale tent, as well as lager, local ciders and wines, high quality local food, and the best local musicians, we’ve grown a reputation as the best beer and music festival in the South East!
The Battle of Hastings Proms kicks the festival off on the Thursday evening. Conducted by Roger Wilcock, Medway Towns Band supported by the Hastings BIG Choir will be playing some of your “last night of the proms” favorites. Flags, bunting, and Pimms will be abound. Get there early if you’re bringing dining table and buffet!
Next, comes the start of the local band fest, the Friday night. Historically a quieter night than the Saturday, the bands can sometimes be easier to enjoy without the queues at the bar. That said, keep your eyes peeled as we do plan on making both nights an equal musical feast.
Then there’s Family Day- the Saturday daytime (from 12:00 to 16:00). This is only £X to get in and has lots to keep the whole family entertained. Attractions over the years have included bouncy castles, stage shows by local schools, stalls by local Scout groups, St John ambulance, and even the chance for your little ones to have a (safe) go at boxing!!
Sep 15 2017 - Sep 17 2017

Woodfair is a celebration of woodlands, forestry, timber, trees woodcrafts and much more...
The whole site holds two fields of stands, exhibits and displays and an amazing woodland full of demonstrations and activities.
Bentley Woodfair started in 1996 and continues to support local rural businesses and crafts while educating and entertaining families.
With demonstrations of machinery, tree climbing, childrens activities, lots of local food,  a beer tent, and a really great atmosphere. 

 

 

Home Comforts

We want you to enjoy your stay at Embers just as nature intended. But that doesn’t mean going without clean facilities. A new oak-framed washroom at our Embers Bentley campsite in Sussex will provide all the home comforts you will need whilst camping. All of our bathrooms are clean and spacious, with underfloor heating and all of our showers are piping hot! A real comfort when you are camping, leaving you refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead!

We are a tent only site. If you don't have a tent you can hire one from us, so you need not worry if you don't have all the equipment. Choose from our new 5m Bell/Safari tents (sleeps upto 6 persons) for a "real" camping under canvas experience from £65/night! You can include a deluxe option by adding lights, rugs and fairy lights too!

We also are offering high quality cookware that will make you have a superb BBQ at our campsite - add the BBQ option on the main booking page.  If you want to keep your food cold for the weekend, hire one of our high quality ice boxes that comes with ice.  

Pizzas are also a highlight at our campsites, made fresh on site and cooked in our very own wood fired ovens, from £7 each.  Once you have made a booking, we'll email you with pizza choices closer to your arrival date.

When making a booking, add the tent and other options under the heading "Add Your Camping Options", once you have selected your campsite here.

The House

The house dates back to early 18th century times and was built on land granted to James Gage by the Archbishop of Canterbury, with the permission of Henry VIII. The family of Lord Gage was linked with Bentley from that time until 1904.

 

Gerald Askew, who was determined to take up farming, discovered the Bentley Estate in 1937.  Having completed the purchase of the property, the Askews set about adding to the original farm until the landholding was considerable.  Once the war was finally over, they set about improving the estate. 

 

The house had lost a great deal of its original character through unattractive improvements over the years before the Askew’s purchased the estate in 1937.  They cleverly engaged the services of Raymond Erith to completely revamp and extend the house.  His work consisted of adding two large Palladian rooms, namely the Chinese Drawing-Room at the east end of the house and the Bird Room featuring the Askew’s collection of wildfowl paintings to the west end.

 

Equally important as the restoration work, was the furnishing of the rooms.  The Chinese Drawing Room was decorated with 18-th century wallpaper bought by London antique dealer, Jack Wilson.  There was not quite enough wallpaper for the room, so smoke mirrors were made for between the windows and Jean Hornak artfully completed the room with paint.  The luxuriant colour required similar stately furniture – French Louis XVI chairs, English Rococo wallscones and swags and an early 18-th century gilt sidetable. 

 

The Formal Gardens

 

After starting the house renovations, the Askew’s set about improving the garden.  They inherited two species of trees, Ginkgo Biloba and Swamp Cypress, which stand in front of the house. A series of rooms with yew hedges were created as a reflection of the house.  The imaginative gardener Jim Russell, suggested the use of rare trees and plants, especially old roses including Bourbons, the Gallicas and the Damasks to complete and enhance the magnitude of the house.

 

The Waterfowl Collection

 

The Waterfowl collection was started by the Askew’s in the 1960's, becoming the largest private collection in the United Kingdom.  It all began when they met Philip Rickman, the Sussex born artist who had been studying and painting wildfowl his entire life.  Having purchased 20 pairs of wildfowl, the Askews excavated a pond in one of the poorer fields, fortunately uncovering a spring.  With its water supply assured, the Duckery was established. 

Some of the first birds to arrive were the Mandarins and Carolinas, Emperor Geese and pair of Black-necked Swans.  There are 147 species of wildfowl in the world and almost 125 species can be seen at Bentley.  There are over 1000 swans, geese and ducks from all over the world which roam freely in the beautiful 23-acre parkland setting.

 

Conservation and breeding of endangered species are why the birds are kept in captivity; Bentley has 11 of the 17 species that are currently under threat of extinction.

 

The Motor Museum

 

The vehicles in the classic collection at Bentley span over 100 years, lent by many individual owners who wish them to be more widely seen and enjoyed.

This means the collection is liable to change and there are often new, exciting or unusual cars to be seen. Most of the vehicles are in running order and used on the roads.

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