The best pubs in Sussex to visit this winter
PUBLISHED: 10:18 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:02 11 May 2018
What could be nicer than a sleepy Sunday afternoon in one of our beautiful Sussex pubs? Here are some of our favourites...
Click above for our guide to Sussex’s summer pubs (although they’re still well worthy of a visit in the colder months) and restaurants
The Corner House, Worthing
With their second business in their hometown following the seafront Beach House, brothers Matt and Tim Taylor have brought a North London-style pub to Worthing. The Celebration of Sussex Life Best Newcomer 2016 has varnished wooden floors, a tiled bar, and a large open terrace at the rear. There is an impressive offering at the pumps with a range of craft beers and local ales. The menu is made up of pub classics all crafted from scratch.
The Corner House, High Street, Worthing, BN11 1DJ; www.cornerhouseworthing.co.uk
Sussex Yeoman, Brighton
It would be easy to miss the Sussex Yeoman, tucked slightly away from the glamour and bright lights of Brighton’s seafront. But those in the know turn right and walk up the hill to Guildford Road as soon as they leave Brighton Station to find some of the best Sunday roasts in the city. Although the pub looks pretty unassuming from the outside, the chefs’ skill is there to see and taste on the plate. All the ingredients are seasonal, free range and locally sourced where possible. There are plenty of creative vegetarian and vegan options too and special events such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and National Burger Day are marked with their own menus. Families and dogs are welcome.
Sussex Yeoman, Guildford Road, Brighton, BN1 3LU; www.thesussexyeoman.com
The Earl of March, Lavant
The ambience, mouth-watering cuisine and wide range of beer and wine make The Earl of March Country Pub and Restaurant a must-visit this winter with family and friends. Not only that, the whole scene is helped by the fact that the pub looks out over Goodwood and all that the beautiful estate entails.
Lavant Road, Chichester, PO18 0BQ; theearlofmarch.com
The Woodman Arms, Hammerpot
This pub just off the A27 by Hammerpot is the perfect spot to refuel after your brisk winter walk. The kitchen at The Woodman Arms works hard to produce a menu with something for everyone including all the pub classics. With a great selection of beer on tap, this West Sussex public house makes a wonderful venue for the winter.
Hammerpot, BN16 4EU; www.woodmanarmsangmering.co.uk
The Bolney Stage, Bolney
The centuries-old Bolney Stage oozes character, with huge inglenook fireplaces, ancient flagstones and crooked beams aplenty, as well as lovely, comfortable old furniture. You’ll find a warm welcome, good honest food, and an unpretentious, chatty atmosphere.
London Road, Bolney Village, RH17 5RL; www.bolneystage.co.uk
The Shepherd and Dog, Fulking
Just outside Brighton at the foot of Devil’s Dyke – a popular spot with walkers and cyclists – is this lovely sprawling pub. There are a good selection of real ales on offer, including local and craft breweries. Wine comes from around the world, including the Ridgeview Estate just down the road. Diners’ options run from hearty pub fare right through to fine cuisine for special occasions.
Shepherd & Dog, The Street, Fulking, BN5 9LU; shepherdanddogpub.co.uk
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly
This is a 16th century freehouse and they pride themselves on the quality of their real ales, concentrating on local breweries such as Harveys of Lewes and Hepworths of Horsham. In the warm and friendly bar areas you can enjoy a traditional bar meal at a sensible price. Nearby attractions that are worth casting an eye over include The Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park, Lingfield Race Course, Standen, Pooh Bridge and the Priest House and Museum just down the road.
Queen’s Square, West Hoathly; www.catinn.co.uk
The Bell, Ticehust
The winner of the Best Community Pub category at the Celebration of Sussex Life Awards in 2014, The Bell, in the rural East Sussex setting of Ticehurst, is a really unique pub with rooms and lodges. The beautiful old building apparently conceals a secret tunnel leading to the church, once used by smugglers.
High Street, Ticehurst, TN5 7AS; thebellinticehurst.com
The Mermaid Inn, Rye
Mermaid Street is a highlight of picturesque Rye, with its steep cobbled curve. The Mermaid Inn is an ancient hostelry with some parts dating back to the Norman Conquest, and the main pub was built in the 15th century. The lounge bar has a vast and wonderful log fireplace, with a priest’s hole hidden in the chimney breast. Food is good, with two AA rosettes for the restaurant and lighter meals served in the bar.
Mermaid Street, Rye, TN31 7EY; www.mermaidinn.com
The Snowdrop Inn, Lewes
Built on the site of Britain’s worst avalanche (1836), this is a cheerful hostelry with a wide range of local beers on tap. There’s Harvey’s, as you would expect, but also a selection of lesser-known beers and ales. Food is superlative – we actually opted for a selection of starters, tapas-style, because they all sounded so tasty – and so they proved to be. There’s a nice, convivial atmosphere, with the inside tables fairly close together. Staff are friendly and jolly and the service is efficient.
119 South St, Lewes, BN7 2BU; thesnowdropinn.pub
The Royal Oak, West Lavington
This beautiful 17th century pub boasts a strong historical heritage with large gardens and stunning views of the South Downs. The perfect spot for a splendid escape to enjoy British cuisine, cask ales, delicious wines and a log burner for those cosier nights.
Oaklands Lane, West Lavington, Midhurst, GU29 0EP; www.royaloakmidhurst.co.uk
The Crown Inn, Dial Post
This Pub of the Year winner, conveniently situated opposite the village green, The Crown is easily accessible from the A24 in both directions, some six miles south of Horsham. The pub offers superb food and wines in a traditional setting. And if you’re keen on quizzes theirs, on the last Monday of every month, is particularly good. Penny, fourth generation of a local farming family, has an historic involvement in the business as her grandparents owned the pub in the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Worthing Road, Dial Post, Nr Horsham, RH13 8NH; www.crown-inn-dialpost.co.uk
The Fountain, Ashurst
Cited by the Guardian newspaper as one of the top 10 cosiest pubs in the UK, the Fountain Inn is a shining example of the great traditional English pub, complete with wonky floorboards, inglenook fireplaces and the heart-warming smell of home cooking wafting in from the kitchen. Pull up a chair by the fire, find a comfy spot for two or bring the family together around a big solid farmhouse table by the fire. Dogs are welcome in the bar area, and there might even be a tasty treat waiting for them there if they’re lucky.
Ashurst, BN44 3AP; www.fountainashurst.com
The Duke of York, Sayers Common
Home-cooked pub classics with a modern twist, using fresh and local ingredients. Drinks-wise the wide range of local real ales is always changing, and there is an extensive wine list to choose from. The letting accommodation is well priced and perfect for those visiting friends and family. Sayers Common is named after a local hero, one Tom Sayer, a well renowned bare knuckle fighter!
London Road, Sayers Common, Hassocks, BN6 9HY; www.thedukesayerscommon.co.uk
The George, Alfriston
First licensed in the 14th century and slap-bang on the South Downs Way, The George boasts a huge inglenook fireplace and heated outdoor terrace. There are many exposed beams and the walls are decorated with dried hops, giving the inn a delightfully old-fashioned feel. Food is delicious and there is a good selection of real ales, including a guest ale that changes every month. There are also bedrooms if you fancy exploring the area – we do recommend it, as Alfriston boasts lovely shops, a newly-reopened art gallery and stunning surrounding countryside.
High Street, Alfriston, BN26 5SY; www.thegeorge-alfriston.com
The Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham
Nestling on the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, this 350-year-old pub is a stunning hideaway. With a comfortable blend of old and new, the atmosphere is relaxed, informal, individual and just a short drive from Chichester and all that the city has to offer. If you want to make a night of it then why not stay in neighbouring Crab Cottage, which is as cosy as it is convenient?
Mill Lane, Sidlesham, Chichester, PO20 7NB; www.crab-lobster.co.uk
The George, Burpham
A unique 17th century gem at the heart of a traditional Saxon village in the glorious South Downs National Park. Voted “No.1 Pub to Walk to” by the Sunday Telegraph and awarded AA Rosettes for its outstanding food year after year, a warm welcome, stunning food and traditional hospitality await you. They serve up rustic British food with an international twist – always home cooked with the freshest seasonal ingredients, locally sourced where possible.
Main Street, Burpham, Arundel, BN18 9RR; georgeatburpham.co.uk
The Bull, Ditchling
This charming and well-presented pub offers a good range of local beverages, including sparkling wine from Nyetimber and beer from Bedlam Brewery. It does get busy on weekends, so arrive early to get a spot on one of the snuggly sofas or by the fire. The food is very good and the pub serves an excellent roast. Walking opportunities abound: Ditchling is within the South Downs National Park and the nearby Ditchling Beacon is popular with walkers and cyclists alike.
High Street, Ditchling, East Sussex BN6 8TA; thebullditchling.com
The Griffin Inn, Fletching
While the exquisite views from its enormous garden provide a large part of this popular pub’s appeal, low beams, crackling fires and fantastic food make it the place to be in winter. If you’re eating, try the fish and chips – you won’t regret it. There are plenty of walking opportunities in nearby Ashdown Forest, and the village itself has a beautiful church. If you fancy making an evening of it (and we recommend that you do), there are several comfortable rooms both in the main house and a garden annexe. Dogs are welcome in the pub and as overnight guests.
Fletching, TN22 3SS; thegriffininn.co.uk
The Lion and Lobster, Hove
This huge, higgledy-piggledy rabbit’s warren is perennially popular. Downstairs fires are lit for most of the year and a huge bar dominates, while upstairs is the restaurant and a roof terrace. Food is good, particularly the Sunday roasts; book or arrive early as they are very popular. Dogs are welcome but be advised that the pub gets extremely busy on weekend evenings, so it may be a little overwhelming. The same goes for children: while there it is cosy and family-friendly in the daytime, evenings can be lively and crowded.
24 Sillwood Street, Brighton, BN1 2PS; thelionandlobster.co.uk
The Fox Inn, Rudgwick
A warm, atmospheric country pub, serving a wide variety of delicious meals and award-winning traditional ales. The Fox Inn is a beautiful 16th century country inn situated midway between Guildford and Horsham. Renowned for its wide variety of tasty dishes and stunning garden, it is a popular spot for any occasion.
Guildford Rd, Rudgwick, Horsham, RH12 3JP; www.foxinn.co.uk
The Fox Goes Free, Charlton
A beautifully kept 400-year-old country pub and inn with a well-known reputation for real home cooked food, real ales, handpicked fine wines and genuine hospitality. So if you’re looking for a great pub atmosphere with original features, beautiful countryside, a friendly welcome and effortless charm, look no further.
Charlton, Nr Goodwood, PO18 0HU; www.thefoxgoesfree.com
The Chequer Inn, Steyning
An attractive and historic inn that offers a warm welcome, delicious home-made food, fine wines and an award-winning cellar. They offer the finest ales and support local breweries, a fact that brings enthusiasts from miles around. The inn retains many historical features including open fires, oak beams and many interesting features that reflect its colourful history.
41 High St, Steyning, BN44 3RE; www.chequerinnsteyning.co.uk