Cosiest Sussex pubs for lunch
It's the season to hunker down in a good pub for comfort food and a bottle of wine, so here's Muddy's pick of the best in Sussex. You're welcome.
The Crown Inn, Dial Post
It doesn’t get more rural idyll than this lovely destination pub, with a relaxed and classy vibe, gastropub fare and an enviable West Sussex location. The beating heart of the village sitting directly opposite the green, the pub itself is traditional, all oak beams, leather chairs, cosy fireplace and scrubbed-wood furniture. Its very dog friendly so bring along your four-legged friends.
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly
Cosy and characterful, this friendly 16th century Muddy Award-winning pub is situated in the village of West Hoathly near the Ashdown Forest. It’s perfectly placed for walks and the Bluebell Railway. Pull up a chair near the inglenook fireplace where, despite the pub’s name, you’re likely to be surrounded by dogs lounging under the oak beams.
Sussex Pass, Wadhurst
An upmarket restaurant from an established Sussex foodie team, housed within a cosy village pub with a menu that celebrates the best of local food and drink. Nestled in pretty Wadhurst one of our Best Places to Live, within the heart of the Weald, its got immaculate interiors and comfy velvety grey furniture begging to be sunk into (perhaps check your muddy boots beforehand).
The White Hart at Stopham
Without a doubt, one of the prettiest pubs in Sussex perfect for a lazy lunch on an indulgent afternoon. It’s the ultimate destination for all lovers of good food, wine, and the historic Sussex countryside. Hidden away next to the stunning ancient monument of Stopham Bridge, the pub serves upmarket gastropub fare, with fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, paired with carefully selected wines and beers.
Halfway Bridge, Lodsworth
The building started out as a 17th century coaching inn, based as it is between the market towns of Midhurst and Petworth, but has been recently renovated into a modern pub with a good mix of old charm and contemporary flair. For dining, the interior is simple and cosy with parquet flooring and open fires. The menu is fine dining but unpretentious with a good balance of safe pub classics to please all.
Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham
Sitting pretty on the banks of the picturesque Pagham Harbour in Sidlesham, this 350-year-old pub is fine dining at its cosiest. With a menu obviously big on fresh fish and ingredients where possible sourced from local producers, presented in a mix of Mediterranean and British dishes. It’s a traditional looking, fairly low ceilinged pub with comfy banquette seating and a cosy snug area you can book.
White Hart, South Harting
Right on the Sussex/Hants border, near Petersfield is the tiny village of South Harting at the foot of the imposing Harting Down. This historic pub is full of wooden beams and roaring fires with a good dash of sleek modernity thrown in for good measure. The food here is eclectic without being too ‘out there’, with country pub faves such as roast rump of lamb featuring alongside Thai style mussels.
Dorset Arms, Withyam
This gorgeous and historic village pub is part of the Buckhurst Estate, owned by the same family since the 16th Century. Organically-reared meat and game from the Estate appears on the menu, including a Buckhurst Bar Steak and popular sausages made to Lord De La Warr’s recipe. Roasts are offered on Sundays and the wider menu includes fish, oysters and Sussex cheeses.
Royal Oak, Midhurst
Lovely large destination country pub with exceptional food, real ales and open log fire. Under new ownership since last year when they diversified through lock-down with gourmet take-aways. The pub itself is welcoming with extra seating in the marquee and gardens with views of the South Downs (if the weather is kind.) It’s comfort cooking with style, just leave room for dessert.
Coach & Horses, Danehill
Weave this lovely pub into a day trip, riding the vintage trains at nearby Bluebell Railway or visiting the National Trust’s Sheffield Park. The listed building has an unspoilt interior with central bar and a large barn-like annex. The menu celebrates locally sourced food and champions Sussex breweries, there’s also a large garden and play area if weather permits. .
Snowdrop Inn, Lindfield
The Snowdrop sits in pretty Lindfield, one of our Best Places to Live with its idyllic duck pond, smart boutiques and a village green. It matches its names being a good bet for the winter season, with its wood-burner nook and cosy atmosphere. Recently refurbished but still retaining character, with old beams and low ceilings. The menu is much sourced from local suppliers and big on classics, so expect hearty warm meals with no fuss, but also some clever specials.
Just over the border in Kent but still worth the trip if you’re that way for great grub and a cosy pint;
Milk House, Sissinghurst
Situated in one of the most picturesque corners of Kent, this village pub is at the heart of the community. A former 16th century hall house, with timber beams and a Tudor fireplace, its popular with loyal locals, along with visitors from further afield. It offers cask ales from Kentish breweries and a wide selection of wines from the area’s renowned vineyards.