15 gorgeous pub gardens in Sussex
It's been a while - more than 100 days, actually - but the pubs are open again. Here's where to enjoy an al-fresco tipple in Sussex.
Is there anything more British than a beer garden in the sunshine? Whether you want your green space near the Downs, a river, meadow, fields, village or city, we’ve scoured Sussex for the best in show.
Bear in mind that many of these pubs will have booking systems in place to limit their capacity, so don’t just rock up expecting to nab a seat – make sure you check the websites or phone first!
The Horseguards Inn, Tillington
This 350-year old pub, tucked away in the sleepy village of Tillington, near Petworth, is one of the best-kept secrets in Sussex. And if the stunning hidden garden weren’t enough to tempt you, it also plays host to The King and I, an independent interiors and design shop hosted in a character cabin. Browse while you eat (seasonal, locally-grown and foraged, of course), drink and be merry – you can even stay over at one of the chic en-suite country bedrooms if you want to explore the local area which includes pretty and historic Midhurst and the rolling South Downs National Park.
Coach and Horses, Danehill
Boasting large gardens with views of the South Downs, the Coach and Horses at Danehill is perfect for a summer afternoon. A play area will keep children happy and there’s an adults-only terrace for peaceful relaxation in the shade of a huge maple tree. The menu will also encourage you to linger, with locally sourced food to the fore. Drinks-wise the free house champions Sussex breweries. The pub also has three suggested circular walks on its website to help you work up an appetite.
The Sussex Ox, near Polegate
In summer months this pub has the bonus of a raised decking surrounded by a wide garden with picnic tables and parasols, overlooked on all sides by the South Downs. There are heat lamps on the terrace for cooler evenings. The Wilmington Giant is nearby and there are plenty of walking opportunities.
The Dorset Arms, Withyham
The 18th century Dorset Arms is part of the historic Buckhurst Estate on which the ‘100 Acre Wood’ from the Winnie the Pooh stories sits. Ashdown Forest, AA Milne’s home village of Hartfield and Groombridge Place can be explored nearby. Organically-reared meat and game from the Estate appears on the pub menu, including steaks and popular sausages made to owner Lord De La Warr’s favourite recipe. Not only is there a large garden with plentiful seating with parasols, the pub itself has a garden room with retractable roof!
The Bull, Ditchling
Let’s do this indeed! The Bull is a Muddy Awards runner-up and it’s South Downs views take some beating. The wood-fired pizza oven and ice-cream shack are worth a look too. The garden itself is bordered by fruit trees and the herbs and veg you’l be enjoying with your meal. Stay over in the rooms – or take a pizza away to enjoy after a ‘refreshing’ afternoon.
The White Horse, Chilgrove, near Chichester
There isn’t a great deal to Chilgrove other than the White Horse and perhaps for that reason this is a one-stop shop of an inn. Visit for ‘field to fork’ locally-sourced food and views of the glorious Chichester countryside. In fact there’s so much space you’re welcome to arrive by helicopter if you like.
The Duke of Cumberland Arms, Henley, near Midhurst
This 16th century pub near Midhurst is perched on top of a hill, so unsurprisingly it’s another with great views, this time looking towards Leith Hill in Surrey. The garden itself has a stream and ponds (one with trout). Tables are arranged on a deck, patio and lawn, there’s even an outdoor fireplace and snug. The rotating menu, from an award-winning chef includes high end ingredients like oysters, venison and scallops.
The Griffin Inn, Fletching, near Uckfield
A former Muddy Awards finalist, The Griffin Inn has a garden so big it’s nicknamed the Serengeti. They may not promise roaming wildebeest but the two acres are backed by a fabulous view of the South Downs and National Trust property Sheffield Park. The outdoor bar ‘The Sheffield’ is open Fri afternoons and evenings over the summer. Alfresco dining is catered for with a built in barbecue and wood oven and more formal fare is available inside.
Hove Place, Brighton & Hove
A city garden this one, just off Church Road in Hove. The Italian-style patio area is a total suntrap, complete with a couple of covered snugs and numerous heaters for those iffy summer/autumn nights. Spot the decorated Snowdog bought for charity after the art trail through Brighton and Hove and now occupying a lofty perch over proceedings. Inside it’s dark and panelled, serving bistro pub fare.
Shepherd & Dog, Fulking, near Devil’s Dyke
At the foot of Devil’s Dyke, just north of Brighton, this is a great stop after a bracing walk, a bike ride, or a spot of kite flying at the top. The lower part of the garden is approached over a stream, there’s an outdoor bar too and enough space for a marquee for 100.
The Sussex Oak, Warnham, near Horsham
Muddy wellies, muddy dogs and muddy children are all welcome here at this lovely country pub just outside Horsham, in the pretty village of Warnham. Enjoy seasonal pub grub and try the ice cream, it’s divine. And how’s this for a point of interest, it’s got it’s own boules court. Combine a visit with a walk at nearby Warnham Nature Reserve.
The Ram Inn, Firle
The newly refurbished garden at The Ram Inn has a lovely outdoor fire to keep you toasty warm, plus a play area in the orchard for the little ones. There’s also a wood-fired oven on the terrace. Food-wise, everything is locally sourced, from beef and lamb from next-door Place Farm to fish from Shoreham, and tiny wild strawberries and mushrooms from the Downs.
The Anchor Inn, Barcombe
It’s not so much the garden itself here that’s the star, it’s what it backs onto. The Ouse runs alongside the pub and you can step from the garden into a boat for a row along the river. If you’re lucky you may also see a kingfisher. The pub also has riverside chalet accommodation.
The Snowdrop Inn, Lindfield
A fave of Muddy Sussex’s commercial director Sally, the Snowdrop is a classic country pub bursting with character. The halloumi fries with harissa mayo come highly recommended, as do the chef’s secret recipe pork scratchings. This is one to earmark for the winter months too as the inside is particularly cosy.
The Bat & Ball, Newpound, near Billingshurst
A really beautifully-kept garden, with so much to it, from the Apple Garden at the back of the pub where children can climb aforementioned apple trees and swing, to the courtyard garden out front, to the cottage garden where fresh produce is grown and taken straight to the kitchen.