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:
1 The Cricketers Arms, Berwick
Sitting in the front garden of this chocolate-box pretty cottage-style pub, sipping red wine and snacking on piping hot chips, I couldn’t help feeling that I was at an old friends’ house, the setting and atmosphere is just so homely and laid back. The minuscule village of Berwick its located in is also lovely, home to church decorated by the Bloomsbury artists, who lived at nearby Charleston. Foodwise, there’s a small menu of hearty good-quality pub favourites, like local ham, egg and chips and Ploughman’s lunches, ale from the barrel and a decent selection of wines. The Sunday roasts are pretty good, too.
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 the terraced garden of this 350-odd-year-old pub, cocooned either side byn woodland. What’s also incredible about it is its setting, hidden along an otherworldly stretch of country road not far from the Seven Sisters Country Park, which is beautiful but gets rammed in summer. If we’d arrived an hour or two later, we’d have also caught a beautiful sunset. Highly recommend!
Find The Eight Bells at Jevington Road, Jevington, Polegate, East Sussex BN26 5QB
3 The Royal Oak, Hooksway
If pubs were in fairytales, which they aren’t because that would be weird, but if they were this is the exact kind of place I’d want to see. It’s also the kind of pub you’d love to stumble on accidentally on a hike around the South Downs. The fact it’s set the bottom of a steep and narrow dead-end country lane, though, means you’re only likely to find it if you notice the sign for it up on the main road in time to make a quick turn, you know it exists, or you’ve planned a walk around it. Thank goodness then, I hear you say, for the Ellie & Co investigative team! With its pastel-pink paint job and large sloping lawned front garden, it couldn’t be more chocolate-box pretty. There are plenty of benches, some with umbrellas out front (which I forgot to get a picture of).
Find The Royal Oak at B2141, Hooksway, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 9JZ
4 The Three Horseshoes, Elsted, West Sussex
Yep, another pub garden in Sussex in which I sat in stunned silence the whole time taking in the view. I mean, look at it! If there was an award for the best pub garden view, surely this would win? If this sight for the eyes isn’t enough, there’s also another section of garden closer to the pub (and toilets), offering landscaped seclusion and shade. Inside it’s a proper old pub, with flagstone floor and a big log fire.
Find The Three Horseshoes at Elsted, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0JY
5 The Three Moles, Selham, West Sussex
What I love about this place is that in summer, the owners sometimes organise beer walks to pop-up bars set up in the nearby woodland. How cool! You’ll find this tiny, special pub hidden in the tiny village of Selham, near the famous Goodwood Estate and race track. It’s one of the few proper local drinkers’ establishments left in the area. Although they serve food, it’s not the main event. Customers are welcome to come just for drinks without the pressure to eat or need to book a table. The garden is tiered and gets lots of sun, although there is some shade, too.
Find The Three Moles at Selham, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 0PN