News Skoolie Stays Sustainable glamping

Sussex Vineyards and Wineries you can stay at

ruth wimpory skoolie stays

By Ruth

Both the Skoolie Stays bus (that bus above is our other one on a California Vineyard by the way) and our East Sussex Eco Cabin ‘The Vacationist’ are firmly in wine country! We provide accommodation close to some great Sussex vineyards and wineries. In this blog post we look at what makes Sussex wine special with a focus on some of the wine estates where you can stay on site, For each one we mention, we also note the closest accommodation we offer whether on the bus or the cabin. Whilst we are not in amongst the vines themselves, we are pretty close to many of them!

Our closest neighbours at the Skoolie, Kinsbrook Vineyard, get a special mention as it’s a lovely walk to their estate from the bus. They come top of the list for our West Sussex selection! Kinsbrook don’t have their own accommodation, but stay on board with us and you can drink like a local when you visit.

Sussex and Wine, a natural partnership

For wine lovers and nature lovers alike, no other English destinations offer what the vineyards of Sussex have. Sussex has emerged as a premier wine region, boasting a flourishing collection of world-class vineyards and wineries. From luxurious wine estate hotels to cosy winery cottages and unique vineyard accommodation experiences, the county offers a diverse array of Sussex winery accommodation options that allow you to immerse yourself in the art of winemaking while basking in the region’s beautiful landscapes. Join us as we embark on a journey through the finest vineyard stays, tours, tastings, and activities that Sussex has to offer, ensuring an unforgettable wine-filled getaway.

Sussex Vineyard Accommodation, East & West

sussex vineyard accommodation

For those seeking the ultimate in indulgence, Sussex is home to several prestigious wine estates. Many offer luxurious accommodations amidst their sprawling vineyards. 


Let’s look at the Sussex  wine menu…

Special focus: Kinsbrook Vineyard, our local wine stars

Kinsbrook Vineyard, which is a lovely walk from the Skoolie Stays bus, offers a rich and immersive experience for visitors, blending traditional winemaking with modern, sustainable practices. Owned and operated by Joe Beckett and Rebecca Dancer, Kinsbrook stands out for its commitment to sustainability and inclusiveness, making it a unique destination in the Sussex wine landscape.


The vineyard produces a complete range of both still and sparkling wines, crafted from grapes grown on its third-generation farmland. Visitors can explore a variety of wines, including the flagship Sparkling White and a new single-variety unoaked Chardonnay. The heart of the vineyard is the Kinsbrook Farmhouse, a traditional Sussex barn that houses a restaurant, grocery, deli, and butchery, all offering panoramic views of the vineyard. This setup not only provides a scenic backdrop for dining and shopping but also emphasizes the vineyard’s focus on local produce and artisanal products.


Beyond wine tasting, Kinsbrook Vineyard offers a range of activities and amenities designed to create a comprehensive vineyard experience. The cellar door welcomes visitors with coffee, cake, and antipasti, in addition to wine. The vineyard also hosts supper clubs, events, and live acoustic music every Sunday in the summer, fostering a laid-back atmosphere that complements the wine experience. This approach to creating an inclusive, sustainable lifestyle culture around wine is indicative of Kinsbrook’s broader mission. Though they don’t offer their own vineyard accommodation, they are really close to a certain luxury converted American School Bus  


1 hour walk from Skoolie Stays, or 5 minute drive

luxury glamping near lewes

Wiston Estate

Wiston Estate, a historic property dating back to the 16th century, is located in the picturesque village of Wiston, near Pulborough. In addition to producing award-winning sparkling wines, the estate offers vineyard accommodation in the newly renovated Pump House, a charming two-bedroom cottage overlooking the vineyards. Guests can indulge in private wine tastings, vineyard tours, and even participate in the annual grape harvest.


If the Wiston cottage is unavailable for your stay or not quite right for your group, the Skoolie is just 10 minutes drive or Taxi from Wiston and its lovely Chalk restaurant. 


10 minute drive or taxi from Skoolie Stays

luxury glamping near lewes

Our other local vineyards

accommodation at vineyards in Sussex

Staying local to our own glamping accommodation, thirsty glampers are spoilt for choice. Head to our Wine Tasting Breaks page and see all our other Local Vineyards  and Wine Estates close to the bus. 

Nutbourne Vineyards

Nutbourne Vineyards, located in Pulborough, West Sussex, is a family-run vineyard that offers a converted 19th-century barn as vineyard accommodation. With panoramic views of the vineyards and surrounding countryside, this charming cottage is the perfect base for exploring the region’s wineries and enjoying the tranquility of rural Sussex.

luxury glamping near lewes

Breaky Bottom Vineyard

Breaky Bottom Vineyard, situated in the village of Rodmell near Lewes, is a hidden gem run by legendary winemaker Peter Hall. While they don’t offer on-site vineyard  accommodation, there are several charming cottages available for rent in the nearby villages, allowing you to experience the serenity of this secluded vineyard during your stay.


30 Minute drive from The Vacationist Cabin

Bolney Wine Estate

For a more traditional yet immersive experience, consider staying at a bed and breakfast located on or near a Sussex vineyard. One such example, and a lovely one too, is in Bolney.


Bolney Wine Estate, located in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, is a renowned producer of award-winning still and sparkling wines. While they don’t have on-site accommodation, there are several charming bed and breakfasts in the surrounding villages, such as the Hickstead Hotel, which offer easy access to the estate’s tours, tastings, and events.


25 minute drive from Skoolie Stays

Ridgeview Wine Estate

Ridgeview Wine Estate, situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park, is a family-owned winery known for its exceptional sparkling wines. While they don’t offer on-site accommodation near the vineyards, there are several  bed and breakfasts in the nearby villages of Ditchling and Hurstpierpoint, providing the perfect base for exploring this renowned estate. It’s also a short drive from our own cabin glamping accommodation. 


A 28 minute drive from The Vacationist

Wine Estates with vineyard accommodation

For those seeking a more adventurous and unique experience, Sussex offers several vineyards that offer vineyard accommodation, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

Bluebell Vineyard Estates

Bluebell Vineyard Estates, located in Uckfield, East Sussex, is a family-run vineyard that offers a unique glamping experience in a vintage Airstream trailer. Surrounded by the vines and with access to the estate’s tasting room and events, this is a truly one-of-a-kind way to experience Sussex’s wine country.


A 20 minute drive from The Vacationist 

Vineyard Tours and Tastings

No vineyard getaway would be complete without indulging in the region’s exceptional wines through tours and tastings. Many of the accommodations mentioned above offer exclusive tours and tastings for guests, but there are also numerous standalone experiences to consider.


Here are some great options…

Albourne Estate Vineyard Tours

Albourne Estate, located in the heart of the Sussex Downs, is a family-run vineyard that offers a variety of tours and tastings. From guided vineyard walks to tutored tastings in their charming tasting room, Albourne provides a warm and welcoming introduction to the region’s wines.


A 25 minute drive from The Skoolie Stays Bus

Special focus: Tinwood Estate Vineyard, A Glamping Adventure in the Vines

For those seeking a more adventurous and unique vineyard accommodation experience, Tinwood Estate Vineyard in the heart of the Sussex Weald offers a truly one-of-a-kind glamping adventure amidst the vines. Nestled in the rolling hills of the Weald, Tinwood Estate Vineyard is a family-run operation that has been producing award-winning wines since 2007. While the vineyard itself is a sight to behold, with its meticulously tended vines and picturesque surroundings, it’s the estate’s glamping accommodations that truly set it apart. Tinwood offers a range of glamping options, each designed to provide a comfortable and luxurious experience while allowing guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the vineyard. 


From cosy shepherd’s huts to spacious bell tents, each accommodation is thoughtfully appointed with all the amenities you need for a memorable stay. The shepherd’s huts, in particular, are a true delight. These charming, compact dwellings are outfitted with comfortable beds, seating areas, and even small kitchenettes, ensuring that you have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Step outside, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the lush vineyards, with the gentle slopes and rolling hills providing a stunning backdrop. For those seeking a more spacious and luxurious glamping experience, Tinwood’s bell tents are sure to impress. These spacious canvas dwellings are outfitted with plush bedding, comfortable furnishings, and even private outdoor seating areas, perfect for enjoying a glass of Tinwood’s finest while taking in the vineyard views. But the true magic of a stay at Tinwood Estate Vineyard lies in the experiences and activities on offer. 


As a guest, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in private vineyard tours and tastings, guided by the estate’s knowledgeable staff. Learn about the winemaking process, from the careful tending of the vines to the intricate art of blending and aging the wines.During your stay, you can also immerse yourself in the annual grape harvest, a truly unique and hands-on experience. Work alongside the vineyard team as they carefully hand-pick the ripe grapes, learning about the nuances of each varietal and the importance of timing in the winemaking process. Beyond the vineyards, Tinwood Estate Vineyard offers a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll along the estate’s walking trails, or venture further afield and explore the stunning Sussex countryside. The nearby villages and towns offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region, with charming pubs, quaint shops, and historic landmarks to discover.


For those seeking a truly unique and unforgettable vineyard experience, Tinwood Estate Vineyard’s glamping adventure is a must. With its luxurious accommodation close to the vineyards themselves, exceptional wines, and immersive experiences, this hidden gem in the heart of the Sussex Weald promises to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or simply seeking a unique and adventurous getaway, a stay at Tinwood Estate Vineyard is sure to delight and inspire. So pack your bags, uncork a bottle of their finest, and prepare to embark on a glamping adventure like no other, surrounded by the beauty of the Sussex vineyards.


A 30 minute drive from The Skoolie 

where to stay vineyards in Sussex

Nyetimber Vineyard Tours

Nyetimber, widely regarded as one of England’s top sparkling wine producers, offers a range of tours and tastings at their West Chiltington estate. From open day tours to private tastings in their 15th-century Medieval Barn, Nyetimber provides a truly immersive experience into the world of English sparkling wine.

10 minutes from The Skoolie

Additional wine related Activities and Experiences

While wine tasting and vineyard tours are undoubtedly the main attractions, Sussex offers a wealth of additional activities and experiences to complement your vineyard getaway.

Vineyard Picnics and Dining Experiences

Many of the region’s vineyards offer picnic baskets or al fresco dining experiences, allowing you to savor local produce and wines while taking in the stunning vineyard views. Bolney Wine Estate’s Eighteen Acre Café, with its viewing balcony overlooking the vines, is a must-visit for a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea.

Countryside Walks and Cycling

The rolling hills and picturesque villages of Sussex provide the perfect backdrop for countryside walks and cycling adventures. Many vineyards offer self-guided walking trails or can recommend scenic routes through the surrounding areas.

Coastal Explorations

With its proximity to the English Channel, Sussex offers easy access to charming coastal towns and beaches. Spend a day exploring the iconic Seven Sisters cliffs, the vibrant city of Brighton, or the historic town of Rye, all within a short drive from many of the region’s vineyards. Whether you’re seeking a luxurious wine estate stay, a cozy vineyard cottage rental, or a unique glamping experience, Sussex’s wineries offer a diverse range of vineyard accommodations to suit every taste and budget. With exceptional wines, stunning landscapes, and a wealth of activities and experiences, a vineyard stay in Sussex promises to be a truly unforgettable adventure for wine lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Special focus: Rathfinny Wine Estate: A Luxurious Vineyard Retreat

Nestled in the heart of the South Downs National Park, Rathfinny Wine Estate is a breathtaking 600-acre property that offers a truly indulgent vineyard escape. With its award-winning wines, exceptional vineyard accommodation options, and stunning natural surroundings, Rathfinny is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a luxurious wine estate stay in Sussex.


The estate’s accommodation options are second to none, catering to both those seeking a traditional bed and breakfast experience and those desiring the privacy of a self-catered cottage. The Flint Barns B&B, housed in beautifully restored farm buildings, features 10 en-suite bedrooms with rustic charm and panoramic vineyard views. Each room is designed with its own unique character, ensuring a cosy and inviting atmosphere. For those seeking a more private and indulgent experience, the newly opened Rathfinny Cottage is a true gem. This self-catering haven can accommodate up to four guests and three dogs, making it perfect for a family or group of friends. Wake up to breathtaking vistas of the vines, enjoy a private courtyard for alfresco dining, and take advantage of the estate’s restaurants and vineyard tours during your stay.


Speaking of dining, Rathfinny offers a range of culinary experiences that are sure to delight even the most discerning palates. The estate’s restaurants showcase the best of local and seasonal produce, expertly paired with their award-winning Sussex sparkling wines. From casual al fresco dining to fine dining experiences, there is something to suit every occasion and taste. Of course, no visit to Rathfinny would be complete without indulging in their exceptional wines. The estate offers a range of tours and tastings, led by knowledgeable guides who will take you on a journey through the winemaking process. From the vineyards to the winery, you’ll gain a deep appreciation for the art and science behind each bottle of Rathfinny’s Sussex sparkling wine.


Beyond the vineyards and winery, Rathfinny offers a wealth of outdoor activities and experiences to enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll along the estate’s walking trails, or venture further afield and explore the stunning South Downs National Park. For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the nearby Cuckmere Haven and Seaford beach offer opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and even stand-up paddleboarding. With its luxurious accommodations, exceptional wines, world-class dining, and stunning natural surroundings, Rathfinny Wine Estate is the epitome of a Sussex vineyard escape. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family adventure, or simply a chance to indulge in the finer things in life, Rathfinny promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return time and time again.


A 25 minute drive from The Vacationist Cabin

where to stay sussex wine

East or West, Sussex wines are best!

In conclusion, Sussex’s vineyard accommodation offering is truly exceptional and there is a diverse range of options, catering to every taste and preference. From luxurious wine estate stays to cozy cottage rentals and unique glamping experiences, this picturesque region promises to delight and inspire wine lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. So why wait? Start planning your ultimate Sussex vineyard escape today and prepare to be swept away by the beauty, flavors, and unforgettable experiences that await.

News Skoolie Stays Sustainable glamping

Why Glamping Stays on Converted Buses and Vehicles Make the Best Outdoor Short Breaks

ruth wimpory skoolie stays

By Ruth

In this blog, we explore the glamping niche that Skoolie Stays inhabits. You’ll probably realise we are not the only converted bus or vehicle that you can while away few days in in the great British countryside! Look around and you will find double decker buses, old coaches, helicopters, and all sorts of wheeled trailers upon which glamourous cabins have been built. You may even stumble across a car with hot tub built into it. So cool.

We are pleased to be leading the way with the American School bus fleet that has popped up in the UK and offer short breaks and glamping stays in these iconic vehicles. Johnny Vegas’s Field of dreams glamping project and TV programme has opened eyes to some of the possibilities of boutique bus and vehicles getaways. Certainly that coverage has piqued interest in those who like their short breaks to be on the quirky side

Go glamping on a bus to find WOW moments!

But what makes staying in a bus so special? We know the ‘wow moment’ of seeing the inside of our beautifully converted ‘Skoolie’ is a clue to the joy that bus glamping brings. It looks like a bus from the outside, but step inside: WOW! Here the story begins and it is another genuinely important part of the experience for our guests. Every vehicle has this, I think. Be it a double decker, an American School Bus, or an old Leyland Coach, you know straight away that there’s a story.  This definitely adds some meaning to your choice of accommodation. As guests you become a part of the story, you are the latest chapter in the life of that bus or vehicle. And it’s an unusual one of course.


Our own School Bus started its life ferrying kids around Florida, then some adventurous Brits who had lived in a school bus for a year in the States bought it and shipped it across the Atlantic. They converted it and opened it for glamping experiences in the beautiful South Downs in Sussex. It first lived in Firle in East Sussex, then up on the cliffs of Beachy Head, and now its nestled amongst the oaks in lovely West Sussex.

In this blog we explore some of the best things about staying in a converted bus in a British field and look at what you might expect from the experience.  

The Quirky Appeal of staying on a Bus, Coach or another crazy vehicle

best buses glamping magazine

One of the most alluring aspects of glamping in converted buses and vehicles is the sheer quirkiness and novelty factor. In a world where cookie-cutter accommodations are a dime-a-dozen, (to use an appropriate Americanism!) these unique retreats offer a refreshing change of pace. From the moment you lay eyes on your quirky abode, whether it’s a bright red double-decker bus or a sleek, repurposed helicopter, you know you’re in for an experience like no other.


This sense of whimsy and playfulness is precisely what draws many travellers to bus glamping. It’s a chance to embrace your inner child, to let go of the mundane, and to immerse yourself in a world where imagination and creativity are firmly in charge. Whether you’re a free-spirited adventurer or simply someone seeking a break from the ordinary, these unconventional accommodations promise to ignite a sense of wonder and excitement that’s often lost in our fast-paced, modern lives. Indeed a desire to ‘getaway from the normal’ is something we hear from our guests a lot. They know that’s exactly what’s awaiting them. Perhaps a Shepherd’s Hut or Yurt just doesn’t deliver in the same way

Converting vehicles for glamping: The Art of Transformation

Behind every converted bus or vehicle lies a remarkable story of transformation. What was once a utilitarian mode of transportation has been lovingly reimagined and repurposed into a cozy, luxurious retreat. This transformation is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the designers and craftspeople who breathe new life into these vehicles. Ahem.


Step inside one of these converted gems, and you’ll be amazed by the attention to detail and the thoughtful design elements that have been incorporated. You’ll see this in the clever use of space and storage solutions to the carefully curated decor and furnishings. As on our bus, so often every aspect has been meticulously considered to ensure a comfortable and stylish living experience.


But the true magic lies in the juxtaposition of the old and the new. The exterior of the vehicle may retain its rugged, industrial charm, but the interior is a world unto itself – a cozy oasis of modern comforts and luxuries. This contrast between the past and the present adds an extra layer of intrigue and character to your stay, making it a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

stay in a converted bus

First Stop: Connecting with Nature on your glamping bus holiday

stay on bus in sussex countryside

One of the greatest joys of glamping on converted buses and vehicles is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the great outdoors while still enjoying the comforts of home. These unique vehicles are often situated in idyllic rural settings, surrounded by rolling hills, lush meadows, or tranquil woodlands.


Imagine waking up to a gentle breezie in the trees and gentle birdsong stepping outside your cosy bus or vehicle to breathe in the fresh, crisp air. Whether you choose to spend your days hiking on hills (like our own South Downs National Park) , picnicking, or simply lounging in the great outdoors with a good book, the natural beauty that surrounds you is sure to help you relax and achieve the ‘getting away from it’ you need.


Many of these glamping sites also offer additional outdoor amenities, such as fire pits, hot tubs, or even private lakes or ponds, allowing you to fully embrace the great outdoors while still indulging in a touch of luxury. Our very own firepit area and log burner are big hits for our guests on the Skoolie. 

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly bus conversions for glamping

In an age where environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly important, glamping on converted buses and vehicles offers a unique opportunity to embrace sustainable and eco-friendly travel practices. By repurposing and breathing new life into these vehicles, we’re not only reducing waste but also celebrating the principles of upcycling and creative reuse.


Many of the companies and individuals behind these converted accommodations prioritize sustainable practices, from using eco-friendly building materials and energy-efficient appliances to implementing water conservation measures and promoting responsible waste management. By choosing to stay in these unique retreats, you’re not only supporting a more sustainable tourism industry but also minimizing your environmental footprint while still enjoying the comforts of a luxurious getaway.

Converted vehicles as tiny homes make for unforgettable experiences

go glamping on converted bus with kids

Perhaps the most compelling reason to choose a glamping stay on a converted bus or vehicle is the promise of unforgettable experiences.


Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family adventure, or a solo escape, these unconventional holiday rentals offer a chance to create lasting memories and forge connections with loved ones or with yourself. Every moment, from the cozy evenings spent curled up by the fire to the awe-inspiring sunrises witnessed from your unique vantage point, will be etched into your memory, creating unforgettable experiences that will stay with you long after your journey ends.


If you’re looking for a distinctive and memorable outdoor getaway, glamping on a converted bus such as the Skoolie or any pf the other amazing options out there is an excellent choice. Embrace the quirky charm and cosy comforts these unique places  offer, allowing you to write your own part of their story, and find your own ‘wow moments’.

stay on an american school bus
Skoolie Stays Sustainable glamping

Digital Detox Breaks

Digital Detox Breaks in Sussex

“My brain has too many tabs open!”

Let our digital detox breaks help you take a nourishing short break from screens, apps and gadgets. Reconnect with nature, slower living, the people you love and yourself.

get off-grid with us

Swap absent-minded scrolling, online shopping and chores for a good book, a cosy spot in front of the fire, lie-ins and coffee in a comfy bed, stomps in the countryside and, most importantly, quality time talking and laughing with the person or people you care about.


Sound good? Then get yourself booked in to Skoolie Stays – the ultimate in luxurious, off-grid breaks. 


Here’s how we can help you unwind, and we make it extra easy with a great offer for working weekday breaks too:

3-day digital mindfulness breaks

Whether you choose to full-on detox and lock your phone up, or to simply practice using your devices more purposefully, this is your opportunity to spend three nights living in an off-grid cabin with a difference.


Everything is provided for you – linen, towels, a full kitchen, hot shower and a compost loo. There is wood for the log burner, a firepit outside should weather allow, a manual full of local hikes and some classic board games to wile away the hours. 


Reconnect with yourself, your interests, your family and friends and the natural world that surrounds you.

how to break away from your phone habits

the detox treats that await you -

picture window bed cabin glamping

The go-slow

Whilst it may take us a while to slow down, when we do we can appreciate how much we needed it. This is your chance to step away from your screen and put things back into perspective.

So, go slow.

Enjoy lying in bed listening to the birds; watch the sun go down or even come up out on the sun deck (if you can bear to drag yourself from your cosy sleep!); swing in the hammock and stare up at the trees or simply curl up on the sofa and read a book.

how to break away from your phone habits

get back to nature

Research shows that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life. Their mental health improves, they have improved concentration and sleep better.

So what better way to embrace nature than going off-grid for a three-night break?

One thing nature-lovers must fit in is a good old stomp through the countryside. We’ll leave you lots of details of hikes you can take so that all you need to do is breathe in deep and fill your lungs, enjoy the details of the trees, the leaves, the smells and the sounds.

shop local when on holiday

a hamper full of delicious local produce

We work with the Village Larder to provide delicious hampers for our guests. You can choose a breakfast hamper full of everything you need to create the perfect fry-up, or a welcome cheese and nibbles hamper that is full of local loveliness. 


Hampers are delivered to the bus before you get there and are even put in the fridge for you. The tough part is deciding which hamper you like the sound of best. Still not sure? You could always order both!


Order as an extra at when you choose your dates and checkout.

White Lion pub thakeham rooms

the very best local pub

We have a wonderful local – The White Lion Inn in Thakeham. You can even walk there through Little Thakeham Farm – a sometimes muddy stomp down the Old Drove Road. But hey – that’s what being in the countryside is all about! 


The pub itself is an original 16th Century coaching inn, so it ticks all the boxes of a quintessential English pub: fires, beams and merry folk at the bar. The owners are lovely and they have produced a great modern menu. Enjoy!

Wine tasting West Sussex

fine wine, fine food, fine company

Keen for a longer walk with a half-way break? Within walking distance of the Skoolie (we will leave you a map), or just a short drive in the car, Kinsbrook Vineyard offers 90 minute public tours and tastings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am from May to October.


They include a tasting of three wines and you get a guaranteed table at the end if you fancy staying for food. Or you could just lunch and a quick look around the farm shop – it’s all jolly lovely!

vineyards with rooms sussex

wine tasting breaks

If you tried Kinsbrook and rather liked the idea of turning your stay into a wine-tasting break, why stop there? We are lucky enough to have numerous award-winning vineyards on our doorstep. Many of them offer tours and tastings year-round and have restaurants with beautiful views of the vines. Perhaps start with Nutbourne Vineyard and Nyetimber – less than a mile apart.


Or you could read our blog on vineyards and fine-tune your wine-tasting experience – we have multiple vinyeards within 10 miles of the bus.

cooking over the fire

Relaxing in front of a crackling fire is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a cold winter evening. According to researchers, it’s actually good for us too – the multisensory experience of flickering flames, heat and taste of the food absorbs our attention and slows us down, reducing blood pressure and making us calm.


Our ancestors must have known a thing or two – after all, we’ve been sitting around fires gazing, chatting and eating since prehistoric times.


We are lucky to have a whole field at our disposal, complete with a big firepit and a kindling splitter. We can help you with menu cards and cooking pots so that you can create your own meal over the flames. There is simply nothing like eating outdoors – it tastes so much better!

face the music and dance

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.


You don’t have to lock up your phone completely – just practice some digital mindfulness. Download some playlists before you go and take the time to listen to complete albums. Play your favourite tunes from the decades and dance  like nobody is watching – they aren’t, you are in a field on your own!

digital detox book
An eye-opening book. Find it on our shelf during your Skoolie Stays digital detox stay!
Skoolie Stays

Wine Tasting Breaks in West Sussex

Wine tasting breaks in West Sussex

Tours and tastings at internationally acclaimed vineyards close to the Skoolie

Tours and tastings at internationally acclaimed vineyards​

Wine tasting and tour Sussex

Exploring the Sussex Wine Region

You may well have heard of Nyetimber and Bolney Wine, after all, they have put Sussex on the international wine map. But when it some to wine tasting in West Sussex but there are also several other vineyards in the area worth talking about. 



Skoolie Stays has several incredible vineyards within 5-10 miles of the site at Little Thakeham Farm. The majority are open year-round for visitors interested in tours and tastings, and there are often dining experiences too. 


Fine wine, fine food and fine company sounds like the perfect way to spend a day, so why not make your Skoolie Stay a full on Wine Tasting Break. 

West Sussex Wine Tasting success – the recipe

The secret behind their success of Sussex’s wine is the terroir and climate. it is incredibly similar to the Champagne region and the vines thrive on the diverse mix of clay, sand and limestone. They also benefit from the relatively mild weather and low rainfall – the proximity to the sea means temperatures are kept even. No extremes. Grapes ripen slowly and absorb all those minerals to develop the most exceptional flavours.


Just as in Champagne, many vintners opt to produce grape varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier as these make for fabulous sparkling wine. Some also create their own stills too and it’s been such a successful story that Sussex now has several vineyards of international acclaim with wine that rivals that of the French.


Sussex Modern writes in more detail about each vineyard and even lets you know who needs help with the picking, but if it’s just the sampling you are after, take a look at our list of favourite vineyards. Each one offers the opportunity to learn how the wine is created and aged, how to pair wines,  how to grow vines  – they offer a fascinating, informative (and delicious!) day out. 

Wine Tasting Map West Sussex - courtesy of Wine Cellar Door
Wine Tasting Map West Sussex - courtesy of Wine Cellar Door

Our favourite local vineyards​

stay near kinsbrook vineyard west sussex

Kinsbrook Vineyard - 2.5 miles

Within walking distance of the Skoolie, or just a short drive, Kinsbrook offers 90 minute public tours and tastings every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am from May to October They include a tasting of three wines and you get a guaranteed table at the end if you fancy staying for food. They can also arrange private tours and tastings outside of those times - just get in touch. Read more about Kinsbrook in our Sussex Vineyard Accommodation blog post.

Nutbourne Vinyard

Nutbourne Vineyards - 3.5 miles

Nutbourne welcomes visitors to the vineyard and cellar door all year round. In Winter you can wander through the vines along the vineyard trail, take in the views from the windmill balcony, enjoy a selection of their wines with a cheese platter and pick up a bottle or two to take away. From Easter to Harvest in September, they offer wine by the glass, picnics, guided tours and events.

Nyetimber Vinyard

Nyetimber Vineyards - 3.5 miles

Nyetimber is is regarded as England's finest sparkling wine. It's less than a mile from Nutbourne - proof of some good soil! You can sign up to an open day to sample the famed Nyetimber wines, or even enjoy one of their dining experiences.

wine tasting sussex

Ambriel Vineyard - 4.5 miles

Ambriel is a family-run boutique vineyard that sits on sunny south-facing slopes overlooking the South Downs National Park. They can arrange a bespoke private tour for you, which includes a wine tasting They even focus on areas that you are particularly interested in - just let them know. Alternatively you can sign up to their open days and join a larger group.

Wiston Estate

West Sussex Wine Tasting at Wiston Wine Estate! - 5 miles

Wiston Estate is a family-owned estate that produces exceptional sparkling wines - for which they have received critical acclaim and several awards. They offer a range of tours and tastings, as well as special events. They also have Chalk restaurant, which is an experience in itself.

Stopham Vineyard

Stopham Vineyards - 6 miles

Stopham vineyard is based in an spot of outstanding natural beauty in West Sussex and forms part of the South Downs National Park. They offer wine tasting tours with the winemaker on the majority of Saturdays at 11am or 2pm between April and September. You can also choose to add lunch by the river. They are closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

Upperton Vineyard

Upperton Vineyards - 11 miles

Upperton is a family-run vineyard set in the heart of the South Downs, with spectacular views. They offer private tours around the vineyard tour with the owner, which include a wine tasting. They also have a terrace bar, open from April until the end of the season.

Bolney Wine Estate

Bolney Wine Estate - 15 miles

We had to include Bolney's award-winning wines! The Vineyard Shop is open daily from 9am to 5pm and they offer a variety of tours and tasting experiences where you can learn about the methodology as well as how to pair wine with cheese etc. They also have a restaurant and cafe onsite, so there is plenty to keep you busy!

News Skoolie Stays Sustainable glamping Uncategorized

bus glamping press reviews

Skoolie Stays in the Press

From the UK to the USA – what the papers have to say

Typing in a skoolie

By Ruth

Skoolie Stays has featured in local and national press, she’s appeared on television and in a book…  So what do the media make of Skoolie Stays? 

cabin glamping and Skoolie The Times newspaper

Child of Skoolie Stays:
The Vacationist

This article in The Times was focussed on our Vacationist Cabin amongst other select cabins built by their owners. The Skoolie was referenced though with a nod to the venerable yellow glamping bus being the genesis to our glamping business. Check it out! If the paywall gets in the way, here’s some pics of us on the front cover no less! 


The Times – How to Build an Off-Grid Cabin

Love Property loves American School Buses

When Love Property magazine noticed the beauty of converted American School Buses whether for glamping or as tiny homes, they quickly bumped into us. 


See their article here about Amazing Converted School Buses with us smack bang in the middle!



american school bus glamping press reviews

Quirky Weddings Magazine: What's love without a little rebellion?

Quirky Weddings Magazine featured us on a 4-page spread in their magazine and online . It was part of a collaboration with Eastbourne based photographer @thornandfound and make up artist / concept planner @makeupbychelsey_. We had SO MUCH fun staging the rock ‘n’ roll photo shoot on the bus. It was the perfect setting and the team were fantastic. 

Wild Escapes: Incredible Places to Unwind and Explore (National Trust)

Wild Escapes

The National Trust contacted us a year about a possible stay for their author Sian Anna Lewis, who was documenting Wild Escapes in the UK. We were thrilled to be considered and hosted her in early 2022 at our site in Beachy Head.


Of course the eagle-eyed will spot that it talks about our site at Beachy Head. Sian’s Wild Escape took place before we had the news that Black Robin Farm, our site, was to undergo works as part of the Council’s Level Up Funding project. The South Downs National Park could no longer let us stay at our spot and so we moved to Little Thakeham Farm.


But although some of the suggestions about pubs and hikes may not be relevant, the bus is after all a bus – it has many stops. Little Thakeham is just as wild a destination (and it’s a lot less windy!) so we think our guests will find it just the place to unwind and explore. 


Order your copy here!

Call of the Wild: Guardian / Observer

Guardian observer article Skoolie Stays
"Surprisingly chic and spacious"

Sian Anne Lewis, an award-winning travel-writer and blogger visited the Skoolie Stays bus at our site in Beachy Head so that she could write about the best UK wild escapes for a National Trust book. 


In preparation for the book launch, 10 of the best of the 40 escapes mentioned in the book, appeared in the Guardian and Observer on 7th May 2023. There was the Skoolie, in at number 2. 


She declared the Skoolie as a “big yellow home-from-home” whilst the photographer, the fantastic Annapurna Mellor, told us privately that they had both “loved (their stay) and it’s a really unique addition to the book.


Across the Pond: Florida Patch, Manatee School District and ABC Action News

We got in touch with the school district that had originally been home for the Skoolie Stays bus. They were so excited to hear from us. 


We worked with Melissa, the Communications Specialist at Manatee District Schools, to provide our side of the Skoolie story and then her team created an incredible film showcasing the reactions to the story of bus #25’s English retirement.  It was shown at their School District meeting, which went out to six thousand of their employees. You can read more about that on our blog


The story also led to coverage in The Patch, which goes out across Florida, and the ABC Action News.


10 Wild New Stays in Britain: Telegraph

Times article - meet the owners
"Original stays with the wow factor"​

We were interviewed by Laura Fowler for the Telegraph Travel Section. She wanted to talk to ‘glamping entrepreneurs who gave up their day jobs to create original stays with the wow factor. 


Laura was really interested in our idea of sharing the off-grid lifestyle that we had enjoyed in America through Skoolie Stays. 

Fire pits and frosty walks’: readers’ top UK winter cabin and glamping stays: Guardian

The Guardian article Skoolie Stays
"A tiny quirky home"​

This was a reader’s tip that made it into the Guardian top tip pages!

Tiana Wilson's Converted School Bus Tiny House Tour (Off Grid)

Teen you-tube star Tiana Wilson decided to book a weekend in the bus to create some content for her numerous channels. She created a couple of different videos for her 5.29m subscribers – a “haunted bus” series and also a tour of the bus.  We had no idea Tiana was staying, so had quite the surprise when the bus popped up as her film set!

itravel: Autumn Glamping Adventures

The itravel article Skoolie Stays
"All American quirky comfort in an altogether more English setting"​

We didn’t even realise we had featured in this until a family friend sent us the itravel article!  Here we are though, second in the list of places to hunker down for a cosy UK break. 

The Argus: Couple's Skoolie Stays Glamping Business Comes to Eastbourne

Argus online
Everywhere you turn there is something creative and interesting "​

The Argus interviewed us to find out more about our trip and how it inspired us to ship over the Skoolie Stays bus. 

Eastbourne Herald: A Look Inside the American School Bus

Easbourne Herald
"This eco-friendly self-catering accommodation boasts solar panels and renewable energy "​

The Eastbourne Herald ran a series of features on us when we moved to Beachy Head. A yellow American school bus was not a common sight and locals were evidently curious as to exactly what was inside that bus!

The Great Sussex Way - flying the local flag

visit chichester bus accommodation skoolie
"Right from the bus there are walks through the woods to a lovely village pub, The White Lion, in Thakeham, as well as wineries such as Kinsbrook Vineyard."​

It’s not just press where we feature, and we like to give a nod to those all-important listing sites who champion us and send guests our way. Skoolie Stays has a new listing on The Great Sussex Way since May ’24. 


The Great Sussex Way informs visitors of the best of West Sussex in the Chichester region where we are also homed. Visit them to find out what else you can do when you stay on the bus, or just want to find the best pub gardens in West Sussex perhaps! 

News Skoolie Stays

When Skoolie Stays was a school bus

Back to School

Everything repurposed has a past life and our Skoolie is no exception

Typing in a skoolie

By Ruth

We began our Skoolie Stays journey at the start of 2021, but that wasn’t the beginning for our big yellow American school bus. As the layers of paint were scrubbed off the exterior, we discovered the key to her past. 


Little did we know that the reveal of three words – Manatee District Schools – would go on to unlock such a delightful story. 

The school bus that became Skoolie Stays

Unlocking the secrets of Skoolie Stays past

We knew the Skoolie Stays bus had come from somewhere in Florida but it wasn’t until we started converting her that we found out the clues that led us to her past: a ticket stub behind the panelling, a number 25 hidden on the roof and the word “Manatee” hidden under a black splodge of paint.


I tweeted Manatee District Schools to share my discovery. I didn’t know what to expect by way of reply. They have hundreds of buses, so would they really care about a former member of their fleet?


Yes they would! This wasn’t just any bus – it was bus #25! They were absolutely blown away by my story and straight away they wanted to do something fun to reveal the transformation to the transportation department who had worked on and in her for so many years. 


We worked with Melissa, the Communications Specialist, to provide our side of the story and then her team created an incredible film showcasing the reactions to the story of bus #25’s English retirement.  


Celebrating a "lovely retirement"

Connecting with a team who loved her as much as we do

Melissa, our contact at Manatee District Schools, confirmed that our bus went to auction in 2020, having driven children from Orange Ridge-Bullock Elementary School to their home and vice versa.  It used to travel along the roadways of U.S. 301 and 41 in Bradenton as part of the Manatee County School Bus fleet. 

Melissa’s team revealed the interior transformation of the bus to her transportation department, without telling them the story.  Perhaps they might like to take a holiday there? “Yes“, they all said. “It’s beautiful”, “It’s amazing“, “Is it a cabin?”.


“No. It’s bus no#25”.

The shock was clear on their faces. 

Linda Agresta, Transportation Liason, finds out the beautiful cabin she is looking at is actually one of her old fleet

Two of Manatee County’s longtime bus drivers who have driven buses there for more than 50 years combined,  are pictured above in the schools district garage, where bus #25 was serviced for maintenance.  They remember driving the bus, “I never thought that all of this could fit into a school bus…. How did they have more room than the children?!”



Mike Vickers, a mechanic for Manatee Schools, could clearly remember working on the bus. “I have worked on this bus, been in it…. oh my gosh, that is beautiful!”.  He was so impressed he’s even thinking of converting one for himself so he can travel with his wife!


Good news moment

Melissa shared the story at the Manatee Schools Board Meeting as a “Good News” feature. The meeting went out on live stream to 6000+ employees and it was amazing to watch it from our home alongside them all. They have also shared the story and video on their site.  

Skoolie Stays

Discover West Sussex

Discover West Sussex

Find out more about the fun activities and day trips close to Skoolie Stays at Little Thakeham Farm

Typing in a skoolie

By Ruth

There is a wealth of things to discover in West Sussex. Think fairy tale castles, glorious stately homes, wineries and vineyards and then, of course, the rolling downs. 


Nestled into a private meadow right in the heart of rural West Sussex, Skoolie Stays is perfectly placed for you to explore the best the county has to offer, all within 30 minutes of our site.

Discover : castles and stately homes

Arundel Castle
Image courtesy of Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle & Cathedral - 30 minutes

Just a 30-minutes from the Skoolie Stays site and you are in picturesque Arundel. It’s lovely to wander in its own right, but as we are in a section dedicated to heritage, let’s focus on the two major draws: the Castle and the Cathedral, both of which dominate the Arundel skyline.

Home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors, the Castle has been in occupation since 1067. It has stunning furniture, paintings, armour, tapestries and everything else you’d expect from a castle, as well as incredible views from the Keep. We love the gardens – they run regular re-enactments, which are always fun to watch, but  in April they are also full of glorious tulips. You can check their events page to see what they have going on. 

It is also worth visiting the gothic Cathedral. It is beautiful on the inside and out, but for a real wow factor it is worth coinciding your visit with their world famous Carpet of Flowers exhibition, which comes out just after Easter. Beautiful!


Both the Castle and the Cathedral are involved in Augusts’ Festival of the Arts. 

Parham House and Gardens - 10 minutes

A 10 minute drive away and you reach the beautiful Parham House and Gardens. This Elizabethan mansion was built in 1557 and is still lived in by the descendants of the original family.

The house has been sensitively restored so that guests can enjoy the beautiful furniture, paintings, books, textiles and clocks. The garden is also open to the public so that they can enjoy the deer park, mature trees, four-acre walled garden with herbaceous borders, and seven acres of landscaped pleasure grounds.  It really is a very beautiful spot. 

Petworth House - 27 minutes

Managed by the National Trust, this 17th century mansioninspired by the Baroque mansions of Europe, has one of the finest art collections in the care of the National Trust. It was also the setting for several scenes in Netflix’s Bridgerton.


While the house is very lovely, our favourite activity at Petworth is walking and picnicking in the grounds. The house is set in a 700-acre deer park, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and include the Ionic Rotunda erected in about 1765. 

Discover: archaeological sites and museums

Cissbury ring
Cissbury Ring - Image courtesy of National Trust

Amberley Museum - 15 minutes

Amberley Museum is dedicated to preserving the South East’s industrial heritage and it’s a fun day out, particularly for smaller kids.

There are 36 acres to explore and over 40 exhibits to visit, including a working print shop, traditional crafts people demonstrations, lime kilns and other ancient monuments that date back to when the site was a working chalk quarry. It also has a ‘connected Earth’ telecommunications hall (so that you can show the kids a life before mobile phones!) and an industrial narrow gauge railway.

Bignor Roman Villa - 25 minutes

A farmer discovered these famous Roman mosaics whilst he was ploughing the fields in 1811!  The family still farm the land but they leave this part for the visitors to enjoy. And it is quite a sight. 

The  mosaics themselves are some of the most complete and intricate in the country. Everything is explained and there are lots of interactive elements. Fascinating stuff! Of course if your children get bored, as children have a tendency to do at historic exhibits, they also have other things going on. At the time of writing, a stunning sunflower maze was open and a pumpkin patch was due to launch for October.   

Cissbury Ring - 14 minutes

Cissbury Ring is the largest hill fort in Sussex, and the second largest in the country. The 60 acre site is owned by the National Trust and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, its fortificatons built around the beginning of the Middle Iron-Age, possibly around 250 BC.

The site has some spectacular views and butterfly-lovers will enjoy spotting the chalkhill blues, marbled whites and Adonnis that live here. 

Chanctonbury Ring - 19 minutes

Chanctonbury Ring is another Iron Age hill fort, later used as a Roman religious site.  It is easily visible from various locations in Sussex due to its distinguishable crown of beech trees.



Again, the site has lovely views and is ideal for picnics as it’s a relatively short 30 minute walk up to the top.  We love the lower part of the walk as there are some fabulous trees with their roots exposed due to chalk erosion. It’s the perfect spot for a game of hide and seek!  

Discover: places to wander and watch wildlife

Pulborough Brooks
RSPB Pulborough Brooks: courtesy of the RSPB

Arundel Wetlands Centre - 30 minutes

A 30-minute drive away, this 65-acre nature reserve run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust provides a protected habitat for swans, geese, ducks, and other beautiful wetland birds. It has lovely walkways and play areas – it’s very kid-friendly.


There are always a host of activities taking place, from pond dipping to wood carving to boat safaris, and they also run seasonal events – check their calendar for details.  There’s also a rather lovely pub next door – The Black Rabbit…. just saying!

Knepp Castle Estate - 16 minutes

16 minutes drive away and you reach the 3,500 acre Knepp Estate,  owned by the Burrell family for over 220 years. In 2001 they embarked on a ‘rewilding’ project, using grazing animals and restoring natural water courses in order to increase wildlife in the area. It’s triggered a return of rare species, including nightingales, peregrine falcons, turtle doves and purple emperor butterflies.



There are lots of footpaths that weave through 16 miles of the Knepp Estate, allowing you to see the effects of the rewilding project up close. Kids (and adults!) will also enjoy the five tree-viewing platforms which give fabulous,  panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve - 12 minutes

Just four miles away, the RSPB site at Pulborough Brooks offers the chance to explore grasslands, pools, wildflower meadows and newly restored heathland.


The visitor centre is open year-round and there are some wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities – check out their seasonal calendar to find out what you might spot.


Warren Hill Park - 6 minutes

Warren Hill Park , 6 minutes drive away, is a recreational green space owned by the National Trust. A classic small forestry estate, you can still recognise small plantations of softwoods, hazel and sweet chestnut coppice, and beautiful straight oaks as well as semi-natural woodland. 


There are plenty of broad paths, grassy glades and a small pocket of heathland and kids will love hunting for wildlife while you picnic under the trees.

Discover: hiking and biking in the South Downs

South Downs Way - from 10 minutes

Biking South Downs
Biking South Downs

The 100 miles (160 Km) long South Downs Way is a National Trail that follows the old routes and droveways along the chalk escarpment and ridges of the South Downs. Every section of it offers something different and the 48 mile stretch through West Sussex, and the areas closest to Skoolie Stays, are no exception.



Upwaltham (27 minutes drive) to Amberley is a 6.5 mile hike, taking you over Burton Down, Westburton and Bury Hill before dropping down to the River Arun. This is one of the two places where the muddy waters of the Weald have cut their way through the chalky mass of the South Downs and are a haven for wildlife.



It’s a tough climb out of Amberley as you head on the 6 mile hike towards Washington. From there it’s a 7.5 mile hike towards Washington – a hike that gives you the chance to spot the hill fort at Chanctonbury (see above).

West Sussex biking - from 10 minutes

There are some great options for mountain biking in West Sussex: the wide chalky trails of the South Downs Way, the woodland areas of Houghton or the Steyning Downland Scheme, a number of trails with varying degrees of difficulty, carefully planned, built and maintained by local volunteers and riders.



For serious mountain bikers, there are plenty of longer rides. A favourite of ours is Mountain Biking magazine’s: South Downs (MBUK 315) which takes you past Cissbury Ring. Stunning views!  For other ideas you can check out Trailforks or Outdoor Active West Sussex suggestions.

Discover: vineyards, wineries, and breweries

Image courtesy of Wiston Estate

Wiston Estate - 11 minutes

Wiston Estate has been farmed by the Goring family since 1743. The ancient chalk downland produces exceptional fruit and their cuvées, both Vintage and Non-Vintage, are delicious.


They offer a variety of tours from the winery, where guests can learn about the wine production, taste the award-winning wines or enjoy the Landscape and Nature tours which take in the wider estate. There is also a lovely eatery: The Chalk Restaurant. It serves up seasonal and locally sourced dishes in a  refurbished barn.

Nutbourne Vineyards - 11 minutes

Nutbourne is a family run, boutique vineyard and winery with a range of award winning still and sparkling wines. They focus on biodiversity, carbon neutral in the vineyard and reduced footprint from production and distribution.


It is a lovely place to visit, with wildflower meadows, alpacas, lakes, places to picnic and stunning views along the vineyard trail. In the Summer they run guided tours and tastings


Kinsbrook Vineyard - 7 minutes

Kinsbrook Vineyard is a relatively new vineyard that was founded in 2014 by the Beckett family. It describes itself as young and progressive and they have worked hard to create an inclusive space to teach about minimal-interventionalist, regenerative practices.


They have a KIN Cafe Bar, where you can try a glass of their wine, or pick up a bottle (or more!) to take away. There is also supper clubs, Sunday afternoon events (summer only) and a farm shop and eatery.

Arundel Brewery - 30 minutes

Arundel Brewery creates award-winning beers and their Brewhouse Project is the perfect place to try beers from the brewery alongside delicious homemade food.

They also hold regular events here such as Jazz Thursdays, DJ Friday nights and regular invite street food pop ups to share the site.

Hepworth Brewery - 13 minutes


Hepworth brews a range of lagers, bitters, pale ales, and stouts. They offer tours to groups and also have a Tap Room selling their beers, as well as others, local wines, gin and ciders.

Skoolie Stays Uncategorized

Glamping reviews

Skoolie Stays Reviews

What do our guests really think… read on to find out what American School Bus glamping with us is actually like

Typing in a skoolie

By Ruth

Skoolie Stays has been running for 18 months now and we are on to our third location: Thakeham in West Sussex. 


We’ve told you our story – where we got the idea, how we built our Skoolie and how busy we have been, but we know that the one thing people actually want to know before they book is “what do other guests make of the bus?”!!


Well, read on and find out!

Beautiful or functional?

It looks pretty but is it well equipped for a holiday?

Skoolie Stays - equipped with everything
"An impeccably presented glamping property"

We’ve just got back from an absolutely amazing stay with Skoolie Stays. This is a memory that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. As short breaks go, this is the best we have ever done. The Skoolie is simply stunning. We wanted and needed for nothing. There is genius in every detail, from the murphy bunks to the kitchen design and sun deck. We felt at home immediately.” Sarah


“The bus is beautifully fitted out & has everything you need to experience “van life”Paul 


“We used the drop down balcony at the back of the bus constantly, lovely place for a brew” Emma


“Inside is immaculate with a toasty log burner, games and books to keep you entertained and the most comfortable bed I may have ever slept on.” Mo


“The bus has been finished immaculately with so many thoughtful details; this is small space living done well! Ingenious compost loo and lovely hot shower, perfectly formed little kitchen, beautiful parquet floor, comfy bed and nifty little Murphy bunks for the children”. Sophie


“The bus has been designed in an incredibly clever way which makes it feel cozy and homely, while still creating enough space for each individual. Beds are gloriously comfy, shower and toilet make perfect use of the space available and are user friendly without fault. Kitchen is practical and once again showcases careful thinking and planning so that it’s small enough not to be in the way yet also accessible and useable. There was absolutely nothing lacking in this bus for our short break. The wood burner was super toasty and heats the whole bus in no time. We used the drop down balcony at the back of the bus constantly, lovely place for a brew and to read, again it’s a brilliant size to relax in comfort.”  Emma


“Every detail on board had been thoroughly thought through, testament to the long US road trip that the owners undertook in one of these. Perfectly kitted out, the Skoolie is a labour of love!” Daniel


“A really exceptional and special place for a break, we feel really privileged to have been able to stay here. Thank you.” Emma


“We loved all the little touches; twinkly lights, cosy blankets and reading books. Our boys loved sleeping in the handcrafted bunk beds and we loved having a beautiful bathroom and shower to freshen up in. Everything had been thought of and we came away wanting to rebook as soon as possible.” Chantelle


“We especially enjoyed cosying around the log burner in the evening and cooking up a full English breakfast in the morning which we ate on the sun deck.” Sam

Family friendly?

It's great to see quirky but is it suitable for kids?

“It’s comfortable and stylish, with gorgeous quirky touches, and every single detail has been carefully considered. Plenty of space for a family of four”. Katy


“A special stay for our 10 year old son who is mad on ‘Miss Fritter’ the school bus from Disney Cars 3 demolition derby ! Absolutely stunning location and a fantastically kitted out cosy school bus. Highly recommend.” Oskar


“I really love the comfy bed it was cosy at night. Also I love the penny design on the worktop. We toasted marshmallows last night. They were delicious! My mum and dad also had a great time. Thank you for a really cool surprise holiday. We will miss it but will never forget it”  Daisy


“Definitely recommend to anyone and everyone from couples like us to a family with kids.” Ruby


We arrived late and collapsed on the deep slouchy leather sofa with a glass of wine whilst the kids gave us a break by playing at bus drivers and checking every knob and lever – luckily safety has been considered first, and they couldn’t cause any trouble!” Jenny


“From the grown ups to the little ones we were all amazed by the Skoolie’s charm and coolness. As a family we loved our time together playing American monopoly and reading books kindly provided”. Paul


“We had simply the best weekend in the skoolie, and our 3 year old absolutely loved it! The location is beautiful – better than the photos, the enclosed garden is great for kids to play in.” Nikita


“My family and I have just returned home from an amazing stay on the Skoolie bus. From start to finish it was an amazing experience. Each one of the family members enjoyed the experience and were sad to leave”. Jonathan


“Great fun for families with young children – sitting in the driver’s seat and pressing the many buttons was enjoyable for me as an adult!! ” Deborah

Does it work for winter breaks?

Will we be freezing if we glamp in the colder months?

“The bus was toasty warm and comfortable, even in chilly November, thanks to the wood-burning stove and sheep’s wool insulation”. Daniel


“We arrived in a huricane but as soon is the stove was lit were as cozy as anything.” Paul


“I was glad I ordered the fire wood – which I had hoped we would use outside but it was just too cold – but the log burner made it so toasty inside. The bed was the cosiest! Plenty of hot water in the shower”. Nikita

“We had the Skoolie experience with our grandsons and all four had a brilliant time!  The bus is the star of the stay, everything we could need including very comfortable beds and a welcome hot shower after a days walk! The log burner burned brightly both nights- cosy. We really hope to return in the summer but any season would be a pleasure!” Christine
 “With the log burner on, sitting in the bus with a glass of wine whilst the wind whipped outside was warm and cosy.” Chantelle
“For my 50th I had a desire to pitch a tent next to a river…,but… it is January…. So I found the Skoolie Bus instead! It was a wonderful experience and our kids loved it too.  The bus is very comfortable and with the log fire going we were never cold.” Claire
“The log burner and the diesel heating kept us lovely and warm despite the cold January weather.” Megan

Does off-grid mean basic?

And come says smell-free but is the compost toilet really ok?

“I was slightly apprehensive about the compost toilet, but as promised, it really doesn’t smell, and is not weird at all!” Jen


“This is a mini boutique bolt hole . Being off grid didn’t feel like a compromise at all with solar lights & hot showers! “ Shehani


“This eco-sustainable accommodation seriously needs to be seen to be believed and we are already considering another stay next year. If I could give more than 5* I would!”  Mo


“The perfect place to reconnect with nature and each other. I highly recommend it!” Catherine


And what are the owners like?

What happens if we need to speak to Ruth and Guy?

Ruth and Guy Skoolie Stays
"Ruth and Guy were such wonderful hosts who made sure we had a lovely stay which we are very grateful for, thank you!"

Cannot fault the communication from the owners, professional yet also personal. Easy to contact, and gave clear and informative instructions.” Emma


“The owners are truly wonderful… friendly, funny and very helpful with providing all the info you need in advance and during your stay”. Moira


“Absolutely blown away. The attention to detail is amazing and the little touches make all the difference. Pretty clear that heart and soul has gone into creating this luxury bus stay and we loved every minute!” Daniel


“The bus was easy to find as directions were clear, everything on the bus was easy to use with the detailed user guide to hand, the bus itself was truly amazing and so much fun! I loved it so much that it has inspired me to buy and convert my own Skoolie bus one day so I can take it out on the road! Ruth was an amazing host going above and beyond to accommodate us! Thank you!” Ruby


“I had some minor issues with the gas hob but Guy arrived quickly to resolve them.” Elaine


“My daughter I had recently experienced the joy of staying on the Skoolie Bus! Amazing! The love & thought that has gone into the Skoolie Bus & your stay is evident throughout”Tracy

Should I book?

I would - it's not just the guests that love it. So do the press!

National / local press features: TelegraphTimes; Guardian; iNewsThe ArgusThe Eastbourne Herald

News Skoolie Stays Sustainable glamping

Reduce, re-use and recycle

Reduce, reuse and recycle

How we turned trash into treasure, taking a bus off the roads and turning it into a sustainable glamping destination.

Typing in a skoolie

By Ruth

The Skoolie Stays bus is regularly recognised as a unique place to stay, but the initial focus is usually on its iconic exterior. Dig a little deeper and you will find that there is more to take away from a weekend in the Skoolie Stays bus than a photograph of your other half in the driver’s seat!



As an off-grid tiny home, we do our best to educate our guests about a lifestyle with the three R’s at its core: reduce, re-use, recycle. When they leave, they take home an understanding that going green is not a compromise, it’s a positive lifestyle choice.

Waste not, want not

A very different retirement

Chicken buses central america
Blinged out with a new paint job, lights and stereos, ‘chicken buses’, as travellers and locals call them, speed down the streets packing in as many people as possible on their routes

When you think about environmentally-friendly glamping units, you probably have in mind a wooden ‘eco’ pod or a simple yurt, but the battle to save the planet does not stop with the use of less impactful materials. We need to look at how we can re-use our waste, taking something no longer deemed useful and bringing it back to life. We need to work with the old instead of buying new.  


After approximately 10-12 years, the majority of American school buses are retired from service. This is partly because they do not meet the tight standards set by the EPA on emissions. Rather than scrap them, they are auctioned off or sold by dealers, which seems like great news until you realise that the vast majority reappear in Central or South America as public transport.  With less stringent rules on pollutants,  the diesel flows. the engines are pushed hard and the emissions statistics get higher and higher. Possibly 850,000 miles or more are squeezed out of these million mile engines if they head over that southern US border. 



It’s a different story for our Skoolie. Instead of glitz in Guatemala, honking in Honduras, chaos in Costa Rica or pollution in Panama, we sit sedately in Sussex. We don’t drive it on the roads, apart from the occasional garage trip, so there’s no speeding from A to B. Quite the opposite – we encourage people to slow down their busy lives to a stop. Crucially, we don’t damage the environment we exist in. Instead, we encourage people to enjoy the beautiful South Downs National Park, with its protected ecology and landscape, and educate them about off-grid living. We are also working hard to offset the emissions created by its journey to the UK, supporting rewilding projects and beach / cliff clean-ups. 

Off-grid living​

Addressing the impact of water, waste and power​

Solar powered glamping bus
Being off grid is a great way to reduce carbon emissions.

From the start of our build, we knew we wanted the Skoolie to be off grid. using renewable energy and minimising the amount of water required, not only helps the planet, it saves money and allows us the freedom to quietly exist in rural locations with no access to infrastructure. 



Solar power is an energy efficient option for off-grid homes, with little waste. We installed six panels, each on a hinge so they can be angled to make the most of the low winter sun. An onboard inverter manages the solar energy, ensuring the batteries stay full, so we have plenty of power for lights, the fridge  and several USB charge points on the bus for phones, laptops etc. 


To reduce our water intake, we focused on where most water is wasted: the bathroom. Along with a lo-flow eco shower, we invested in a top-of-the-range compost loo. Years of horrible festival long-drop toilets have given compost toilets a bad reputation for being smelly and dirty, but having lived with a modern one in America for a year,  we know that this is not the case anymore. Waterless toilets massively reduce water consumption and reduce waste and our Simploo toilet is sleek and stylish, with an inbuilt fan that ensures no bad smells.

Infographic about compost toilets

Environmental inspiration

Looking toward nature to find design solutions

Wooden design
Repurposing old doors and furniture allowed us to create stunning wooden design details

Wherever we could, we chose eco products to help extend the bus’ life and keep her warm and cosy inside. This wasn’t a compromise – many of the alternatives are better than their chemical and manmade rivals. Nature does, after all, know best.


Lanoguard, a sheep’s wool derived rust protector, was sprayed on the underbelly to prevent rust and we used Cumbrian sheep’s wool insulation to insulate the walls and ceiling. For a few days it did indeed smell like a farmyard!


FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) wood was used throughout, with pine cladding on the ceiling and sustainable ply planks on the walls. Hardwood pallets were planed back so they could be used as framing for the roof hatches and old American oak doors, donated from a period renovation, were dismantled and planed down to make a feature wall. We found a home for a water-damaged teak futon, which was taken apart and brought back to life as a sliding barn door for the bathroom.



At the end of the project, we even took the OSB board we had used as a cutting table and chopped it into shelves, held up by a chunky bit of driftwood we found on the beach.

Out with the old…. repurpose it as new

Not fit for purpose is different to not fit for use

penny kitchen countertop
An old jar of pennies added copper tones to our epoxy kitchen counter

We wanted to reuse as much as we could, both from the original bus but also repurpose items that others had deemed to be at the end of their life.


With plenty of bus seats at our disposal, it made sense to repurpose a couple and use them to create a dining area. Each seat was cut down to 2/3 its original size, then welded together to form that classic curve. We reupholstered them in vinyl to create our own American-diner. The look was finished off with a recycled school desk from Hove Park School from the Wood Recycling Store, held up by a hydraulic strut that started life as part of the disabled chair leg.

converted bus accommodation sussex
A genuine old-school desk propped up with the hydraulic ram from the original chair lift

The rear-view mirror became part of a feature wall and an old filing cabinet and kitchen splashback were spruced up to add a metallic dimension to our entrance steps. The wood, mentioned above, and copper tones of the epoxy penny countertop, give it a warm and natural feel.


Scouring through other people’s trash produced bus treasure which came with fascinating stories. Our perfectly-sized Scandi leather sofa belonged to a local man who would chill out and relax on it as the tunes played from his fabulous Wurlitzer. Our retro leather pouffe came from a lady who was thrilled to find out that her beloved footstool (which didn’t fit her house) was going to move to a Skoolie. She was so inspired by our Skoolie that she went on to become one of our first bookings!


If you would like to book a stay on our Skoolie Stays bus to find out  more about our off-grid initiatives and eco-credentials, get in touch!

News Skoolie Stays Sustainable glamping

Top 5 unique glamping stays

Top 5 unique glamping stays

Glamping is booming and the UK has some of the best opportunities for a rural escape in the quirkiest of accommodation

Typing in a skoolie

By Ruth

Glamping continues to be a booming industry. And it’s not just the effect of the pandemic. More and more people are discovering the joys of exploring the great outdoors without needing to compromise on accommodation. People no longer need to carry bag-loads of equipment and sleep in a damp tent on a roll mat to experience nature and outdoor adventure. You can escape to the middle of nowhere, sleep under the stars and wake up cosy in your bed. At the same time, you can toast marshmallows, stomp about in wellies and spot deer wandering at dusk. Glamping is the best of both worlds and it is here to stay.  


As the industry becomes more popular, the number of glamping opportunities continues to increase. But while some listings showcase creativity and incredible engineering, others simply show a budget makeover of a garden shed. So where do you start if you want to book a special weekend away? How do you find the best of the boltholes? The most iconic?


Let us give you some help….


Iconic and unusual accommodation: our top 5 glamping breaks

Skoolie Stays

Summer days at the Skoolie

Well yes, we know Skoolie Stays is ours but given our customer feedback we feel wholly justified in saying that our converted American school bus ticks all the boxes for a unique break. 


Based on the cliffs at Beachy Head in the South Downs National Park, we have both a beautiful and private location.  The bus itself has been beautifully converted – a labour of love – with eye-catching design, original features and sustainable materials. It sleeps 4 in a king-size bed and two bunks and has a full kitchen and bathroom.  Guests have been blown away by the attention to detail and the clever use of space – and all this in an American school bus. That’s a pretty iconic base for your holiday!


Up in the trees

Living room treehouse

Our next favourite place to stay after American school buses, is treehouses. These homes in the canopy remain the most popular of glamping units across the UK. Many of them are just built on low stilts in woodland, but the Living Room Treehouses really do take you into the trees. 


Just like the Skoolie Stays bus, each treehouse sleeps 2-4 and is completely off-grid with a lovely log burner in the living area and an outdoor terrace. It’s location is amazing too, with incredible walks nearby. And, just like the bus, it is great fun for kids but blissful for two!

Swinging in the breeze

Tree pod

Sticking with life in the trees, the Lost Meadow tree pod doesn’t just offer you the canopy, it appears to suspend you from it! It’s a little bit more basic than the treehouse, but that iconic shape makes it pretty special. 


It sleeps 2, so perfect for romantic breaks, and is the ideal place to watch wildlife on the woodland floor. 

Back to nature


The tree-pod embraced the sphere and so does our next glamping choice –  the Earth Conker.  Again, it is off-grid and expertly engineered for comfort. Many of you will recongise it as it was featured on George Clarke’s ‘Amazing Spaces’. 


As with the Skoolie, stays here are geared towards shutting off from technology and enjoying the surrounding nature. If you can’t quite relax without keeping your phone on charge, or you want to listen to some tunes, there are electric points, a Bluetooth soundbar and lighting to set the perfect mood.  

Back to the future

UFO camping

Our last choice takes you away from nature and into the future. If you thought the tree pod was other-worldly, try the spaceship at Apple camping. Inspired by the Futuro houses of the 1960’s, the owners have styled the glamping pod to feel like something from the future. 


Unlike the Skoolie, it is on a campsite, so you are not completely on your own.  That may not worry you though. After all, when you switch on the smoke machine so that you can recreate the full lunar landing experience, you want an awe-struck audience!