They once pulled pints at Summer’s Lodge in Birdham. But it’s now the perfect place to pull together your clan, burn some wood and make some memories. Just shy of West Wittering, where the sand piles like soft snow, this is palatial living for 14 with a homely feel just a splash from the sand dunes and the surfers of the Sussex shore.
Inside, there’s a designer’s signature writ large across every room. It’s there in the cosy Blue Room with its blazing fire, in the pastel-painted brickwork of the cinema room, and in the sumptuous bedrooms where the traditional and modern make fine bedfellows. Enjoy nocturnal bliss between crisp, hotel-laundered sheets.
Stay at Summer’s Lodge in spring and summer to dine al-fresco in the salty air beneath big skies. Stay in autumn and winter to cosy up with the Nespresso machine and the milk-frother. Stay here because it is beautiful and because it was recently the recipient of 5 star AA award for Self Catering Accommodation.
The designer touches don’t stop at the interior. These days, we flow from indoors to out like the summer breeze. So you get to drink and dine on the soft-grey bench table beneath giant blue skies, or take tea and cakes around the walled patio, around the painted brick and the wall mirrors.
Among the three-quarters of an acre, the trampoline invites kids to work up an appetite before dinner, while a spot of al-fresco table-tennis is the perfect antipasto to pulled pork or buttery-baked corn-on-the-cob from the barbie. After dinner climb into the hot tub for a little shared well-being beneath the stars. This is outdoor living seasoned with the tang of salty sea air.
Groaning with designer touches, Summer’s Lodge comes artfully presented. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be uncomfortable here. The living spaces are beautiful, but they’re designed to feel like home. So put your feet up, pop some Prosecco and revel in the warmth of family time.
Arty lamps and knick-knacks dot the ‘Blue Room’, with its hardwood flooring, and cosy rugs, throws and cushions. Fix up a Nespresso by day, get busy with the milk-frother, then chill with a book by the blazing fire. By night, pour yourself a Prosecco or cheeky G&T as you bring out the board games.
Making it a movie night? The cinema room is equally tasteful, with its exposed-brick walls and floating media unit. Toss the beanbags on the floor and chill as you load up the superfast broadband and tap into Netflix on the smart TV.
Get together, be apart. The choice is yours. If the party spills over, the garden looks like a living room, too, with easy chairs, wall mirrors and soft-grey brick creating smart spaces for making memories.
Unless you live in a stately home, it’s rare you can get everyone together to butter their bread and quaff their wine at the same table. You’ll get 14 round this one and have the chance to cater for them on four ovens and one electric ceramic hob. Better still, down tools and let our chefs do dinner and stack the dishwasher, too.
If you’re stocking up, make sure it’s Turner’s for pies, Hoares for meat and Horrocks for veg. For fresh fish, try Something Fishy in East Wittering or Fisherman Bob’s Hut on East Wittering beach. Be sure to check out Chichester Farmers’ Market on first and third Fridays. Wash it all down with red, white or pink from Majestic Wine in Chichester.
Eating outside? Plenty of space around the bench table for al-fresco dining beneath big blue skies or under the glittering stars. Eating out? Kid-friendly pubs abound, including The Lamb Inn and The Old House at Home in West Wittering, The Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay, the Ship Inn at Itchenor or The Blacksmith’s Arms in Donnington.
Book yourself a little bistro at The Boat House Café on Chichester Marina, enjoy locally sourced food just a skimming stone from the beach at Drifter’s in East Wittering, or try Selsey crab or guinea fowl at The Crab and Lobster at Sidlesham. Or enjoy a beachcomber vibe at the laid-back Drift-In Surf Café.
There are no right and wrong choices when it comes to bedrooms at Summer’s Lodge. So just anticipate and enjoy bedtime. Wrap yourself up in bed linen and towels sourced and laundered through a hotel-laundry company for premium quality, and sleep like a hunk of driftwood on a deserted beach.
Pick from eight bedrooms, with flexible accommodation in most rooms, thanks to the wonders of zip-and-link. There’s even a wheelchair-friendly room downstairs with wheel-in wetroom.
The master en-suite bedroom and bedrooms two to four come with a kingsize bed or two singles, while bedroom five offers the disabled-friendly accommodation with direct outside access. Bedroom six sleeps one in a sofa bed on the ground floor, while bedroom seven is a single bed. Bedroom 8 is a double room in the loft with its own bathroom on the same floor.