You probably know by now I’m partial to hunting out unique and unusual places – and have written two guidebooks on the overlooked (have a little peek here). So for today’s post, I’m sharing four unique cafes in Sussex to discover on your next day trip or weekend away that I highly recommend including in your plans. It goes without saying all of them have been tried and tested by me several times over…
1. Delicious lunch in a hobbit house
Yes, it might look like a Hobbit house, but this architectural curiosity is actually a cafe designed to look like a giant piece of driftwood. Cool, eh? Inside it’s just as curvy and dreamy, and has the best view over Littlehampton’s sweeping East Beach. On the menu are upmarket versions of classic seaside dishes, like fish and chips with pea puree and salt and pepper squid with chilli, as well as delicious local wines and beers. It’s open for lunch and early evening dinner.
Find East Beach Cafe on The Promenade, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 5GB
2. Lunch in a giant greenhouse in the countryside
Welcome to the Architectural Plants Cafe. It’s set inside a giant greenhouse within a nursery that specialises in unusual, big and exotic plants. Everything on the menu is made from ingredients sourced from small, indy businesses around Sussex, including wines and beers. The fish finger sandwich with tartare sauce and crusty bread is especially tasty.
Find Architectural Plants Cafe at Stane Street, North Heath, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1DJ
3. Time-capsule seaside cafe-diner
I have a thing for old diner-style cafes, like this one I was so excited to discover in Eastbourne. It has the most beautiful old shopfront, and has been run by the same Italian family since it opened in 1928. Inside, the walls are hung with their old menus, travel posters, and photographs of the cafe through the years, which you can look at while you wait for your food. It serves all the British classics like bacon sarnies and fried breakfasts, mugs of tea and coffee, and generous helpings of its homemade Italian ice cream.
Find Notarianni’s Milk Bar and Restaurant at 201-203 Terminus Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3DH
4. French-style cafe hidden inside an antiques emporium
Cafe du Jardin is a cute French-style cafe-bar set inside the courtyard of Pastorale Antiques, in Lewes, which in turn is located in an old coaching inn steeped in history. Feel free to spend some time taking in your surroundings. It’s open during the day for tasty French-style breakfasts – think coffee, croissants and pastries, omelettes and eggs – and tasty lunches, like baked camembert, crepes, croque monsieur and steak frites.
Find out more here.