Uckfield is located in the Heart of the Weald. It is a jolly town with all the amenities that local people and tourists could want. The town has the curious talent of being repeatedly flooded by the small River Uck. The last event was in October 2000, but with global warming kicking in, more frequent and powerful floods are inevitable.
For a little local history, the first Iron cast cannon was cast in Buxted, a nearby village by Ralf Hogge (or Huggett) perfected gun production in 1543 and became a weapon maker by royal appointment.
The Town also has the oldest working cinema in Sussex which shows big name films to this day.
Uckfield is also the last place Lord Lucan was seen and were Emma Le French was born, neither have any real significance to the town.
- If you want to visit; the A22, A26 and B2102; from Heathfield run by or through Uckfield (it is well signposted). Alternatively Uckfield acts as a terminus for many bus routes (31 from Hawards Heath to Uckfield) and as a passing stop for route 29/28 (from Brighton and Lewes to Tunbridge Wells) and route 54 (from Eastbourne and Hailsham to Uckfield and East Grinstead).
- From London or Surrey trains to Uckfield from London Bridge take about an hour and a half, stopping at East Croydon and Oxted among others. £12 return, £7 single. Fare and timetable information is available from Southern Trains, tel. 08457 484950. The line does not continue on to Lewes.
Walking is the only way to really see the town, since it is fairly small, but for travelling further afield, cars, buses and trains could be necessary. There is a town bus, but since it mainly tours the housing estates around the town it will be of little use to visitors.
The town has little to distract for more than a morning. Bridge cottage is worth a look, but other than that the town is fairly bland. It is cloaked by housing developments, of which more seem to be inevitable. However the surrounding villages of Blackboys, Framfield, and Ashdown Forest are popular with walkers. Parking is free throughout the town.
It’s quite difficult to dress a fairly unexciting town as something that it isn’t. Lewes is probably a better attraction if you wish to visit this delightful area. You are probably better off having a look at the local area including Ashdown Forest or the Cuckoo Trail from Heathfield to Eastbourne. Still, the local area does contain some hidden gems.
- A short drive away is the county-wide famous Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum featuring a whole host of classic cars, wildfowl, craft shops, an area of forest and laid out gardens and even a small narrow gauge railway (weekends in summer). It is signposted off the A26 towards Lewes
- The Lavender Line. Is a small (1 mile long) preservation railway a short distance from Uckfield in Isfield. It runs various specials throughout the year, such as Santa specials during the winter. The railway follows the A26 road and is on bus route 29 not 29A. Isfield itself is a small and attractive village.
- 1 Sheffield Park Gardens, Sheffield Park, TN22 3QX, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A short drive from Uckfield - head towards Hawards Heath and follow the signs. There is a bus, number 246, but it is so infrequent that it's not worth the bother. The park features
- magnificent 'Capability' Brown landscaped garden
- waterfalls, cascades and four large lakes
- a profusion of color all year, including bluebells, rhododendrons and trees with spectacular autumnal colors
- the National Collection of Ghent azaleas
- the site of the first England v. Australia cricket match
- With the Bluebell Railway nearby (literally across the road) , with the most steam railway locomotives outside York. It has been used for various films. It is open year round and popular with tourists and locals alike.
- The Picture House is a small cinema in the High Street. It has three screens and is cheaper and less soul-destroying than the big multiplexes.
The outlying villages generally have better food stuffs and more character than the town pubs.
- The Station opposite the train station, owned by Green King, can get pretty rowdy on Friday and Saturday nights, but serves cheap, good quality food and local (as well as national) beers.
- The Brickmakers Arms Pub; aka 'the brickies' Arguably the best pub on this side of the Uck, local beers aplenty, but they don't have a lot of time for imported stuff (don't expect any lime in your Corona). Sausage and chips £3. You may also stumble across the old war hero (otherwise known as jolley) who's always there enjoying a drink or 5 and will be sure to entertain with amazing stories of his youth. it is not in the center, but if you get lost in 'Ridgewood' and need a pint, it's not too bad.
- The Highlands; slightly pricier, but a nice atmosphere. If ordering food, stick to the menu and don't go for the specials.
Starting at the top of the town (north) and moving down:
- Maximum Diner has had a book written on it (by the former owner) and serves burgers, pizzas, kebabs, and drinks in a sit down diner-like atmosphere, also serves drinks. Friendly and the food is of good quality.
- Pepper Dining - Indian cuisine with a twist. Not cheap, but the food is of good quality.
- Luna - Popular pizza restaurant. You may need to book on Friday and Saturday nights. Boasts a full selection of Italian foods and wines.
- Pizza Express - Pizza restaurant, same as every other Pizza Express restaurant.
- Star of Bengal - Indian.
- Blue Asia - Indian. Also has a take away menu.
The town has the normal smattering of bars, pubs and a club for evening entertainment. During the day the town is well stocked with cafes. Among the best are The Hop Barn (opposite WHSmiths) and Corbins on the high street.
- Hop Barn open 7 days a week, has breakfast menu and serves food during the day. More character than Costa and is situated just behind it; popular almost all the time.
- Corbins also acts as a deli, with a wide selection of meats, cheeses and chocolates and an adorable smell. Few tables. Also serves sandwiches, take away or eat in.
- The Broadway - the towns local club, open Friday and Saturday nights. Not a nice place.
- Maiden's Head - Popular bar at the top of the town.
Pubs such as The Station stay open well into the night, catering for anyone's thirst.
The town has pretty much anything you could need as a tourist, with facilities including:
- Leisure Centre (Inc café)
- Supermarkets (Tesco and Waitrose)
There is a camping/ caravaning shop out of the town to the north. Ask locals for drections to 'Chichester Caravans'. Only one establishment is open 24 hours - Esso on Bell lane, which also provides petrol.
There is nowhere to stay in Uckfield (the last Hotel became a nunnery). However some of the local villages have camping sites or hotels:
- East Sussex National, +44 1825 880088. A golf course and new hotel; set in the Sussex countryside with views over the Downs, its adjoining golf course is up to worldwide level. The hotel is about 10 minutes drive (car is the only method to get in). It also features a spa; expect high prices coupled with high luxury.
- Horsted Place Hotel, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. An old countryhouse set in the Sussex countryside near to Little Horsted - and is in the top 200 hotels in UK and Ireland; it is on the A26; south of Uckfield; it is not cheap, but service is good and the restaurant too has won awards. Queen Elizabeth II used to stay there in her youth and visit the church over the road
- Buxted Park Hotel, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. To the north of uckfield, near to Buxted this acts as a spa and is set in beautiful countryside (it also was an old house), deer can often be seen. During summer months the hotel is popular location for weddings, thus it can be difficult to find accommodation on those nights
- Green Farm to the South of Uckfield in Halland (about 3–4 miles out a car is recommended, although there is an infrequent bus route buses up to every hour timetable, opens in PDF ) The campsite also has a fishing lake
- Heaven Farm. The farm where time stood still. - hopefully they've cleaned the toilets since then
this camping site incorporates 170 years of farming life in the heart of the Sussex Weald Heaven Farm, its at Furners Green nr Uckfield Tel: +44 1825 790226
Please note that often Sheffield Park is described as 'Uckfield' it is in fact around 10 miles away.