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Is this the ultimate Sussex spot to eat, drink, work and stay?

How can one venue truly tick every box? Well, just ask The Dorset Arms, in Withyham! With private garden lodges, a sumptuous menu, beautiful rooms, outdoor dining options and a classic ambience it’s high time you paid a visit and found out.

As if the Ashdown Forest wasn’t already a treasure trove of East Sussex gems, allow Muddy to introduce you to one more: The Dorset Arms. This village pub dates back to the 16th century but while it retains all of its character, it’s had a modest modern makeover into the 21st century with dishes crying out to be posted on social media, secret garden lodges ideal for remote working or as options for when it’s time to celebrate. 

But don’t let that fool you, the pub and its rooms on offer come complete with all the charm you’d expect – think original fireplaces, hidden nooks and pops of personality. But it’s no one-trick pony, far from it in fact – the menu is delicious, the garden a sun trap and the accommodation effortlessly elegant.

And for a magical insight, speak to the pub’s owner, Earl De La Warr, who regularly pops by and if you’re lucky, he’ll share how his father used to play with Christopher Robin and his toy bear in the ‘100 Acre Wood’ which, just like the pub, sits on the Buckhurst Estate.

That’s not all either,  Muddy has streamlined the very best this venue has to offer… 

EAT

The menu was masterminded for carnivores with an emphasis on showcasing the finest local food from The Buckhurst Estate as well as prioritising local produce. This level of passion has seen keen foodie, Lord De La Warr specify the sausages on the menu – asking a local butcher to recreate the recipe from his childhood. They’re now so popular Waitrose stocks them.

Highlights include the Buckhurst Bar Steak, Magret de Canard and of course, the obligatory Sunday roast. But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of pleasing vegetarian and pescatarian options from sole to classic fish and chips as well as oysters. And no meal would be complete without a Sussex cheese plate. If you love pizza, (is there anyone who doesn’t?) the pub also has an outdoor pizza oven, for an extra slice of deliciousness.

While it’s relax dining, staff ensure it’s an exquisite experience from their waistcoated uniform and warm service. You have plentiful choices on where to eat, indoors, outdoors and even both- with a  half in half out option.

DRINK

The Dorset Arms has plenty of personality and each part of the pub has a different ambience, whether it’s a gin and tonic at the bar, a glass from their impressive choice of red wines with a Sunday roast, or an espresso martini in the garden.

Speaking of which, the garden room is a sure-fire way to keep everyone happy with a retractable roof with sun shades for that inside/outside vibe. It’s as if it was designed for sharing a bottle of rose!

On the topic of sharing, there are options to hire the garden lodges for your own private party – perfect to mark a special occasion. Especially as every detail is thought of, think flowers, bluetooth speakers (hidden in a gramophone) and wifi – when you know, you know. The vibe is also relaxed enough for children to feel welcomed. 

WORK

While we all wish life would be no work and all play, when you’ve got to be at the laptop, why not do so in style? The stunning secret garden lodges that are new for this summer act as remote working space and seat from 2 to 24.  These luxury pods can be booked individually or all together so you can look out onto the garden each screen break. 

There is a large lodge also available for private hire and seats up to 24 guests. Not exclusive to parties, the lodges are a unique and impressive setting to host work meetings, lunches and workshops in. Imagine brainstorming while you look out over the gorgeous garden. Dining options include tapas and set menus, also available is customised decor and additional extras including flowers, champagne walls, balloons and lights. And there are also packages that include accommodation options. 

STAY

You won’t want to leave The Dorset Arms, and you don’t actually have to! There are three beautiful rooms available above the pub and a little stroll across the garden takes you to a separate cottage with nine beautiful ensuite bedrooms available.

The picturesque cottage was a former school and having been lovingly refurbished, has subtle touches that make a big difference to your stay – think Nespresso machines, fluffy robes and one room has an adjoining lounge. And all boast stunning views.

The cottage can be rented as a whole, and there is a family room above the pub. If you have any space for more food (trust us, you’ll find it) breakfast is also included. But on your departure you’ll be lining up your return.

The Dorset Arms, Buckhurst Park, Withyham, Hartfield, TN7 4BD, 01892 770278, dorset-arms.co.uk

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