Skoolie Stays

UK England South East England East Sussex Lewes

  • Contactless check in
  • Deep clean between glamping guests
  • Individual toilets for glamping accommodation
  • Individual toilets per camping pitch
  • Walking
A converted, characterful and cool all-American yellow school bus within the South Downs National Park

Most of us like to take a souvenir home from our holidays and the Wimpory family from Sussex are no exception. The only thing is they don’t like to do things by halves, so a holiday to them was travelling 14,000 miles through 20 states in a classic American school bus for a year. And that souvenir, well — you’ve probably guessed it. It was a big, yellow, dog-nosed bus that’s now parked up on the Firle Estate in the shadow of the South Downs.

The Skoolie Stays bus is, in actual fact, not the same bus that carried the Wimporys on their travels. Getting a bus back to Blighty is a bit more complicated than stuffing it in your suitcase, but a year after their return they’ve managed quite a feat. They harnessed the energy and enthusiasm of their epic holiday so you can have your own; they managed to buy, ship, and transform a former Florida school bus into a cosy and cool place to stay.

The bus is kitted out for a family of four with a king-sized bed and two bunks. There’s a log burner for chilly nights on board and comfy seating, too, as well as a kitchenette and bathroom. It’s self-contained and stylish with plenty of playful touches from the penny-studded epoxy-resin counter to the self-built folding bunks and original American reg plate on the wall. Perhaps the best thing is it’s still a working bus and while guests can’t drive off in it, the buttons, dials, and levers are fascinating to see. Outside, fold-out stop signs are another reminder of its past but now there’s a deck as well on its view-facing side.

Parked up on the Firle Estate near Lewes, the Skoolie Stays bus is 60 miles south of London and less than 15 from Brighton. It’s a proven glamping hotspot and there are plenty of camping and glamping sites around here — but none are quite like this. You can walk straight up the hill and onto the South Downs Way and, within 10 miles of the site, you can visit Drusilla’s Zoo Park, the charming town of Lewes, and art-filled Charleston House. The closest place to visit, of course, is Firle Place itself, the grand house at the heart of the estate you’re parked on. It was recently the setting for a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma and its tearoom is highly recommended: a very English day out from an all-American base in the Sussex countryside.

Details

Facilities

The Skoolie offers self-contained accommodation with a master bedroom featuring a king-sized bed and plenty of storage as well as fold-away 6ft bunk-beds. There's a full kitchen with a gas stove top, fridge, large sink and plenty of storage and surface space, and an 'American diner'-style eating area, made from the original recycled bus seats and a proper school table. The bathroom has a fully-tiled shower and a top-of-the-range composting toilet and there's a cosy lounge with a clean-burning log stove. Six solar panels on the roof provide power to the appliances and USB electrical points. There's also a side deck, accessible from the bedroom, with two outdoor chairs so you can get make the most of the views.

Suitable For

Glampers – yes. Campers, campervans, motorhomes, caravans, unaccompanied under-21s, dogs – no.

Nearby

Hikers and bikers will love the location in the South Downs National Park. It's close to the Vanguard Way and the South Downs Way, and a short drive from the coast. A short hike or bike ride will offer you fine views of the rolling hills and the white cliffs at Beachy Head and Seven Sisters Country Park (nine miles away), with far-reaching views of the sea in one direction and the Sussex Weald in the other. For those who prefer a cultural trip, there's nearby Charleston House (01323 811626), once home to artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant of the Bloomsbury Group, and the country estate at Firle Place (01273 858307) where you can enjoy house tours and a changing programme of exhibitions. For those keen to relax, there are plenty of tea-rooms and antique stores in the local villages or Lewes (five miles away) where you can also visit Lewes Castle (01273 486290) and the historic open-air Pells Pool. If you prefer something a little more adventurous, adventure lovers will get a kick from nearby paragliding experts Fly Sussex (01273 858170) who can take you into the Downs to catch a thermal. There are also plenty of kayaking and SUP opportunities at the coast or the local rivers. Younger families will enjoy meeting the animals at Middle Farm (01323 811411), which is just two miles from the site, and Drusillas Zoo (01323 874100), three miles further, while older kids might enjoy a day at Knockhatch Adventure Park (01323 442051), 11 miles away. Brighton is 12 miles from the site.

Food & Drink

The Ram Inn (01273 858222) is a short walk away in Firle. It's a beautiful, sixteenth-century coaching inn, with a delicious menu full of local produce. The Cricketers Arms (01323 870469) in Berwick is a picture-perfect flint-and-red-tile Sussex cottage pub, that's five miles from the site and  The Barley Mow (01323 811033) in Selmeston, one of the oldest coaching inns in Sussex, is a lovely family-run pub three miles away. For those that like to cook, nearby Middle Farm (two miles) has a great farm shop to stock up on the best local vegetables, meat, cheeses, and all manner of other perfect Sussex produce. Firle’s Burning Sky Brewery offers great beers and wine lovers can find local award-winning wines from locals vintners such as Breaky Bottom (nine miles from the site; 01273 476427) and Ridgeview (16 miles; 01444 242040), which both offer tours. Your host's favourite teashops are the cute Beanstalk Cafe (07736 351149) and Firle Place tearooms (07739 705260).

Open

All year.

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The Owner Says

Skoolie Stays is an icon of the American road, lovingly converted into luxurious accommodation in Sussex. It offers up to 4 guests a chance to stay in fantastically unusual accommodation in a beautiful part of Sussex and the South Downs National Park.
The bus was inspired by the owners' 14,000 mile, year-long family road trip across America in a similar Skoolie. They fell in love with bus life and, when it came time to return to the UK, the whole family agreed - they had to ship one back to the UK.
The Skoolie Stays bus is a product of the knowledge and skills they developed over their year away, full of clever ideas and hand-built, design-led decor. Every element has been thought out in detail to maximise space, comfort, freedom, and fun. You will find lots of original features, repurposed and reimagined furniture, and top-of-the-range fixtures and fittings that help to make off-grid living comfortable, practical, and environmentally friendly.
Skoolie Stays comfortably sleeps up to 4 people in a king-size bed (2 guests) and 6ft murphy-style bunks (2 guests) that fold away when not in use. The kitchen provides plenty of space to cook and the American-style diner area, complete with the original bus seats and incorporates an old teak table from a local secondary school, is the perfect place for a meal. Oak herringbone floors, leather sofa, and a clean-burning log stove make the lounge area feel cosy and luxurious and the fully-tiled bathroom offers lovely hot showers.
The Skoolie is based on Firle Estate in the heart of the South Downs National Park, 20 minutes from Brighton and only 60 miles from central London. We are also just a short distance from Newhaven Port, making this the perfect rural idyll for a staycation or a cross-channel holiday.
The site has easy access to the South Downs Way, the coast, and the villages of Firle, Alfriston, and Alciston, where you can find lovely pubs, tea-rooms, shops and restaurants. There is also the opportunity to visit Firle Place, the private home used as the backdrop for the recent blockbuster, Emma; or Charleston House, the meeting place of the famous Bloomsbury Group.

Accommodation

One all-American school bus, sleeping four.

Skoolie Stays American school bus

Quirky Sleeps 4
Sleeps 4 (king size bed + bunk beds for two at 6ft height max), full kitchen and bathroom, log burning stove, dining area, stunning countryside location, original features and design-led decor

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Extras

Location

Contact Skoolie Stays, Skoolie Stays, West Firle, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6NP

Show Map

Getting There

You'll find the Skoolie Stays site by turning off the A27 where it's signposted for Charleston Farmhouse. This is a visitor attraction and has a large sign. If you're travelling from the Brighton direction it's on your right, just after Middle Farm. From the Eastbourne direction, it's to your left, about four minutes after the Barley Mow pub and the village of Selmeston. Pass the entrance to the Charleston Farmyard attraction and continue along the lane. You will reach a fork in the road. Stick to the right, passing the sign to Tilton House. You will see a large open-sided hay barn on the right. Directly opposite this, after a smaller open-ended barn, is the gated Tilton stabling yard (you should see a painted sign that says 'HGC parking') - this is where you will park your car.  The Skoolie Stays site is a five-minute walk from Tilton Yard at Tilton Turn. Continue down the lane in the direction of the South Downs. It won't be long before you reach the Old Coach Road (which runs all the way to Firle Village) and the Skoolie Stays bus, which is parked up in the field opposite.
The closest station is Lewes, five miles away. Buses between Lewes and Eastbourne stop on Firle Road, a short walk away and there's also a taxi rank at the station.

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Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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