For my birthday this year we headed to the Ashdown Forest for a weekend away in Winnie the Pooh country. It is no secret here on my website how much I like the books, films and characters, so when I found out about the Pooh-themed ‘The Anchor Inn’ in Hartfield village, I absolutely had to make a reservation. The Milne family owned a country home in Hartfield and it is here where the idea for Winnie the Pooh was born. In 2019 we stayed in a Pooh-themed studio in the heart of the forest and after having such a wonderful couple of days, we knew a return visit was on the cards at some point. Fast forward a few years to 2022 and there was no place I’d rather spend my birthday than a cosy pub in the real-life Hundred Acre Wood.
The Anchor Inn is a pub with rooms located footsteps from Pooh Corner and the Winnie the Pooh museum. It is both walking and driving distance from the famous ‘Pooh Bridge’ and you can easily reach Gill’s Lap or ‘Galleon’s Lap’ (as it is known in the books) by car. The pub is approximately twenty minutes drive from Tunbridge Wells and sits just inside the county of East Sussex.
Winnie the Pooh influences
It is not available on all hotel booking sites, so I booked directly with the hotel and in doing so I was able to request a specific character room. There are four rooms above the pub and they are named after some of the key characters: Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Kanga. Browsing the website before our visit, I noticed that the Pooh room had wallpaper featuring E.H. Shepherd’s famous illustrations. There was no doubt in my mind which room I would put in a special request for and thankfully we were allocated the Pooh room on arrival.
Weekend accommodation at The Anchor Inn is quite expensive, with a double room on a Saturday night costing £150.00 (including breakfast). The Ashdown Forest is only a stones throw from the spa town of Tunbridge Wells and it gets lots of international tourism thanks to A.A. Milne’s much adored stories. It is also a very popular region for cyclists, following the windy roads of the forests and taking in the beautiful landscapes. Given that we travel quite regularly, we would not normally pay anywhere near this much for a hotel stay but as it was a birthday celebration, we ignored our usual budgeting for the night.
From the minute we saw the Winnie the Pooh books in the upstairs corridor at the pub, I knew we were going to enjoy this accommodation. Each of the rooms had character signs on their doors and the Pooh & Piglet rooms were next door to each other: a sweet touch considering the characters’ close friendship.
The Pooh room was extremely cosy, accentuating the old architecture of the pub. There was an inviting double bed backed against Pooh wallpaper and a huge bay window overlooking Hartfield village. Other walls were decorated with framed copies of E.H. Shepherd’s famous illustrations, making the overall room wonderfully themed. In terms of comfort, there was also a table and armchair for you to enjoy a rest in the morning sun. It was a cold April night when we visited and the hospitality team at The Anchor Inn kindly provided us with a radiator. We were very grateful as the large, old room was chilly. Thank goodness for the thick duvet!
Onsite there were lots of Pooh books: a caring touch for guests that are fans of the stories. A cooked breakfast was served downstairs in the pub and evening meals were easily accessible from 6-10pm. It was great being able to have dinner at the hotel after a long day of exploring. There was also plenty of complementary parking outside the entrance, meaning you didn’t have to travel far with luggage.
Would I stay there again?
For the theming absolutely yes, but I did think the accommodation was expensive. £150.00 for a night’s stay was quite a lot of money, even with breakfast included. From a quick look at Booking.com I have learned that their Sunday-Thursday rate is a more reasonable £120.00. I would be much more inclined to visit again at this price. The pub is somewhere we would visit in the future for special occasions, but not for a regular hotel stay.
However, The Anchor Inn offers a unique hotel experience, with its delightful bear-themed decor and fantastic location on Hartfield High Street. The proximity of the pub to Pooh Corner Ltd, the bridge and Gill’s Lap makes it a great base for a visit to Winnie the Pooh country. You could not be better located for a spot of Pooh sightseeing (and honey!).
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx