If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that the Ellie & Co team of two recently spent a weekend on assignment exploring the South Downs National Park in search of hidden and unique country pubs in Sussex with lovely gardens. Here are five favourites:
Hidden Country Pubs in Sussex with Amazing Gardens
1 The Cricketers Arms, Berwick
Hidden in the tiny village of Berwick, nine miles from Lewes, is this small pub, set in two 17th-century brick and flint cottages, with the prettiest front garden, inviting in spring when it’s in full bloom. There are South Downs views and benches in sunny and shady spots to choose. Foodwise, there’s a small menu of homemade pub dishes, like local ham, egg and chips and Ploughman’s lunches. I’ve stopped here on country walks a few times, took my Dad here for his birthday and friends from London love it.
Find The Cricketers at The Village, Polegate, East Sussex BN26 6SP
2 The Eight Bells, Jevington
It takes a lot for me to stop talking, but (lucky for Dan) I sat in stunned silence, pretty much the whole time it took me to drink this red wine, captivated by this view from a terraced garden, overlooking a valley and up to Folkington Hill. On the menu, alongside substantial dishes like beef bourguignon puff pie with creamed potatoes, Jevington wild garlic risotto and Sunday roasts, are bar snacks – like bacon, leek and cider Scotch eggs. Holy Cow ice-cream made locally in nearby Seaford is also available here.
Find The Eight Bells at Jevington Road, Jevington, Polegate, East Sussex BN26 5QB
3 The Royal Oak, Hooksway
This is a secret pub. It’s set at the bottom of a steep and narrow dead-end country lane, which means most won’t come across it. Unless you spot the sign for it up on the main road in time to make a quick turn, know about it or are here to walk the South Downs Way. It has a pastel-pink facade, a large sloping lawned front garden, dotted with plenty of benches, some with umbrellas. The homemade food is simple, unpretentious – think jacket potatoes heaped with cheese and light puff-pastry pies!
Find The Royal Oak at B2141, Hooksway, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 9JZ
4 The Three Horseshoes, Elsted, West Sussex
Views over the South Downs landscape don’t get much better than from the spectacular wide-open, sloping lawned garden of this 16th-century inn. It’s a memorable spot for a light-summer lunch – smoked salmon, prawn and avocado salad, perhaps, and a red wine, natch – while you gaze east across fields towards Midhurst and contemplate a hike up to Harting Down
Find The Three Horseshoes at Elsted, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0JY
5 The Three Moles, Selham
This tiny, down-to-earth red-brick pub has the prettiest setting hidden along a leafy lane. Apparently it’s a regular hang out for polo players, patrons and grooms – seeing as this is polo country. It has a magical landscaped three-tier beer garden, and you can play games like cards, Jenga and dominoes. In summer, the owners organise beer walks to pop-up bars set up along the route through the nearby woodland.
Find The Three Moles at Selham, Petworth GU28 0PN