Best Sussex Restaurants & Country Pubs
Brighton, and the surrounding Sussex countryside offer endless restaurant and pub food options. For this list we have taken a look at the Sussex countryside and the Sussex seaside. There are Sussex restaurants and proper country pubs. The choice, as they say, is yours.
The Sussex Ox, Country Pub, Polegate
Book a table at The Sussex Ox
The New Inn, Hurstpierpoint
Enjoy a fine selection of locally sourced foods, wines and ales in this Grade II listed gastro pub situated on the edge of the South Downs national park. With a beautiful 1/3 acre beer garden, a generously proportioned restaurant, and three bar areas ranging from the social front bar to the intimate ‘snug’ The New Inn offers a traditional pub feel with contemporary dining. Their drinks menu includes many local craft ales and an award-winning wine list with a strong commitment to local English wines.
The Tasting Room, Alfriston
Celebrated chef Chris Bailey heads up the kitchen at the beautifully stylish restaurant at Rathfinny Wine Estate, The Tasting Room. Spend the day walking the scenic Cradle Valley footpath then head to their Tasting Room Restaurant where local and seasonal cuisine awaits. The exceptional produce of Sussex shines in the menu which is finessed with Asian and Iberian influences. It isn’t just the first class food that will wow you here. Exceptional scenery offers views over the valley and the South Downs which are breath taking as the sun sets over Sussex.
The Shepherd and Dog, Fulking
An idyllic country boozer with the character and charm from a bygone era. Whether you’re combing your visit with a picturesque walk from The Devils Dyke, you’re making a countryside getaway from Brighton or you’re attending one of their regular events, The Shepherd & Dog has a lot to offer considering its nestled in quite a sleepy village at the bottom of the foothills of the South Downs National Park. Review.
Book a table at The Shepherd & Dog
Ghyll Manor restaurant and hotel is a 17th Century oak beamed manor house set in acres of breathtaking West Sussex countryside. The Ghyll Manor restaurant is a comfortable, light and relaxed space, marrying modern simplicity with a respect for original features, such as the decorated beams, and a sparingly applied Jacobean brocade. Dining is modern European with a focus on quality ingredients matched classically but with a little creative flare keeping it fresh. Dishes change seasonally and draw from the cornucopia of local produce and a changing wine list is selected to match the seasonality of the menu. The simple menu of four to five dishes for each course, has at least one well considered vegetarian option.
Mid Sussex Golf Club, Ditchling
In the heart of Sussex, Mid Sussex Golf Club describes itself as ‘more than just a golf course’. Its newly refurbished bar and lounge and restaurant boasts some of the best facilities in the area for members and guests. The dining area of the clubhouse offers an a la carte menu seven days a week with breakfast served daily and carvery available on Sundays. Different dining areas include The Lounge and The Conservatory, with options for private parties and big groups.
The Sportsman, Goddards Green
Formerly, two pubs, the Magpie and the Sportsman, the Grade II listed buildings were knocked through into one over recent years and this traditional ‘beer house’ has been part of the villages heritage for some years. Situated north of Hurstpierpoint at Goddards Green, the Sportsman public house has been serving great food and real ales for some time. A lovely spot for a country walk in the nearby surrounding area.
The Glass House Restaurant, Albourne
Try The Glass House Restaurant at Wickwoods, located just 15 minutes outside of Brighton. Set in the South Downs National Park, sample the fantastic Modern European menu and take in the views of landscaped gardens and woodland. Offering include mid-week dining, afternoon teas as well as Sunday lunch. See the Review.
In the historic village of Alfriston you will find Wingrove House. This gorgeous 19th Century hotel and restaurant offers a relaxed sense of luxury, with its informal restaurant and stylish terrace and veranda. The spacious restaurant is bright and airy giving views over the terrace and village church on the Tye. Head chef Mathew Comben serves modern British fare with a focus on seasonality and sources from local Sussex producers wherever possible. Offering Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner there are plenty of ways to enjoy Wingrove House. It is the perfect spot for a delicious refuel whist enjoying the beautiful village of Alfriston and the surrounding Sussex countryside.
Book a table at The Crabtree in Sussex. The Crabtree is a family run public house, located in the beautiful Sussex countryside south of Horsham. They pride themselves in serving great local, seasonal food, organic wines and fabulous real ales in warm and welcoming surroundings. Highly recommended if you’re after a drive into the Sussex countryside for top notch gastro pub dining. About 25 minutes drive from the outskirts of Brighton.
Book a table at The Crabtree
The Wheatsheaf, Henfield
Co owners Nilton and Matt have created a cosy and friendly venue offering a home cooked, home grown, unpretentious menu. The beautifully kept gardens are great for summer days and warm evenings, whilst the roaring fires and comfy furnishings makes for braving inclement conditions worthwhile. The Wheatsheaf is a welcoming pub to families and dog owners, and caters well for vegetarians, vegans, and those with dairy and or gluten free diets.
The Talbot, Cuckfield
The Talbot sits in the heart of Cuckfield Village and serves a wonderful range of lunch, bar and dinner menus as well as the traditional Sunday lunch. It has an extensive wine list, regional ales, and a relaxed atmosphere. The Talbot is child and dog friendly and hosts the Cuckfield Food Market. Great for pub and restaurant dining. Good for large parties. Serves good pub classics along with restaurant quality dishes. Review.
The Fountain Inn, Ashurst
The Fountain Inn in Ashurst is a traditional homely Sussex pub, full of charm and character and is a must visit destination with an idyllic Sussex countryside setting. Located just off the Steyning By-Pass (A283), off the old Horsham Road, the Fountain Inn is well worth a visit if you want to escape to the country. Review. This venue has had a whole host of famous and prestigious guests in the past.
The Plough, Rottingdean
The Plough serves homecooked food, Sunday roasts and serves food every night of the week. It is also available for private bookings (they have a first-floor function room) and events and it is advisable to book in advance just in case it is a busy day (particularly Sundays). Offering a classic pub menu along with an innovative Gastro Menu this venue caters for everybody, from kids to couples, from walkers to your everyday regular. Review.
The Rose & Crown, Cuckfield
The Rose & Crown is situated in the picturesque village of Cuckfield, around 35 minutes from Brighton. It is a family business run by Simon & Mark Dennis, who also runs the popular sister venue The Crown Inn at Horsted Keynes. Serving modern British food and a great selection of drinks there’s a fabulous beer garden, a lounge or the main restaurant you can enjoy your food in.
The Royal Oak, Poynings
The Royal Oak is a popular Sussex country pub nestled in the beautiful hamlet of Poynings, at the foot of the famous Devils Dyke within the South Downs National Park. Think wood-burning stoves, timber panelled bar, oak beams adorned with hop bines – with a great selection of Sunday roasts to choose from. Country pubs don’t get much better than this. Review.
Half Moon, Warninglid
In the heart of the pretty village of Warninglid, the Half Moon is a traditional, cosy pub with a lot of character and warmth. Dating back to the early 19th century, it’s still got a historic charm about it with a few modern nuances. The glass covered well in the restaurant, for example, is an unusual but interesting feature. Offering hearty, home-cooked food made with local ingredients, they do not do things by halves.
Wheatsheaf, Plummers Plain
This is one of those pubs where there are so many interesting things to look at, you never want to go home. Quirky and full of character, this beautiful country pub in Plummers Plain, near Handcross is a great place to come with family or friends for good food, and good fun. A fantastic play garden for kids, they will literally be entertained all day long. Traditional pub classics.
The Ginger Fox, Albourne.
Ben McKellar, chef-owner of the Gingerman group of restaurants and pubs, doesn’t know it, but he’s responsible for our frequent outings to the Sussex countryside and he provides great reasons to do so. This pub is a twist on the Gingerman restaurant and the food feels a lot more assured. Can get a little busy on popular days so please book in advance. Perhaps combine it with a trip to Devils Dyke. Review
The Anchor Inn, Barcombe
Near Barcombe, is a picture postcard Sussex country pub and restaurant set on the west bank of the River Ouse. It is one of the most unspoilt parts of rural Sussex, four miles or so away from Lewes. Built back in 1790, the Inn has a long history, and today offers two cosy bars and two restaurant rooms, serving real ale, bottled lagers, fine wines and freshly prepared food from our menu. Boats can be hired to explore the surrounding river and countryside. A delightful little spot to visit in our opinion with good quality food and it makes you feel like you’ve been out for the day!
Limes of Linfield, Linden
Book a table at Limes of Lindfield. Situated on the Linden tree lined high street and nestled amongst an eclectic mix of independent shops and stores, this restaurant is in the heart of the charming village of Lindfield. Just 2.2 miles from Haywards Heath, 2.7 miles from Borde Hill Garden and a 35 minute drive from Brighton, Lindfield is a quaint and scenic village with local buildings dating back to the 14th Century and plenty of country walks available in the surrounding area.
The Green Man, Partridge Green
A bit of a drive outside of Brighton, but only 25 minutes or so and worth it. The Green Man isn’t your typical village pub with sports on the TV and gaming machines in the corner, but simply a stylish and relaxed establishment which serves good food and a well-stocked bar with a wide choice of drinks. Owners Becky and Nick say their mission is simple: To give you outstanding food, served with passion.
Two hundred years old, the Half Moon is a truly traditional country pub situated at the foot of the stunning South Downs National park. Only 10 minutes both from the town of Lewes and the charming little village of Ditchling. Award-winning chef, Richard Willis has been honing his skills in Sussex for many years. He uses the freshest local ingredients and changes the menu constantly to reflect the seasons. Menu includes game from local shoots.
The Bull, Ditchling
The Bull is a stylishly converted pub in the charming village of Ditchling, about 10 minutes north of Brighton. Think low timber beams, open fires and plush leather sofas. There’s also a terrace and a large garden with views of the South Downs for the summer months. The menu is affordable and changes daily including modern British classics, inventive fusion dishes and some lighter vegetarian fare. Great Sunday lunch menu and kids menu also.
The Bell at Ticehurst
The Bell in Ticehurst, East Sussex blend three ingredients: people, produce and place and they make all three ingredients sing and shine. One of the most recommended country pubs in Sussex to eat, drink and to stay, The Bell serves uncomplicated, unrushed British food sourced from local Sussex farmers and suppliers. Full of character and quirk, the Bell is a must visit in the North East of our beautiful county.
The Royal Oak, East Lavant
At heart, a restaurant with rooms rather than a traditional drinking pub the Royal Oak promises a gateway for those wanting to get away from it all. The owners of the Royal Oak are dedicated to good honest food made with fine local ingredients, country warmth and personal service. At the foot of the South Downs, it is the perfect place to refuel after a long walk across the hills. Near Chichester.
The Corner House, Worthing
Brothers Matt and Tim Taylor have brought this North Londonesque, stylish yet relaxed pub to Worthing. Hearty home cooked with a focus of cooking from scratch you’ll find your pub classics such as homemade burgers, fish and chips and for a finer option there are dishes like gnocchi and pork fillet. Freshly baked bread is made daily in their kitchen along with delicious handmade ice cream all made on site too! The homely surroundings are perfect for a Sunday roast with the family all accompanied with some local ale. Photograph credit: The Corner House
The Earl of March, Lavant
Historical pub, The Earl of March dates back to the 18th Century and is situated in the heart of picturesque village, Lavant, Chichester. A must visit pub for it’s exceptional ‘county plush’ ambience, fabulous cuisine and drinks, but not forgetting the superb backdrop of Goodwood and the South Downs! With food made by former executive head chef of The Ritz Hotel, London, you’re sure to have some exceptional food. The seasonal set menu is one to try, ideal for a pre-theatre meal! Photograph credit: The Earl of March
The Woodman Arms, Angmering
This traditional thatched roof pub dates back to 1541 where it started life as two estate workers’ cottages, later becoming an alehouse 100 years later. It’s the perfect stop off to refuel after your countryside walk, with gorgeous surroundings that can be viewed from the Woodman Arms’ garden area (which has won awards!). There’s traditional pub favourites such as Steak & Ale pie, and a selection of beer on tap. Photograph credit: The Woodman Arms
The Ram Inn, Firle
The Ram Inn is in the quintessentially beautiful English village, Firle. It’s just off the A27, and with easy access to over 100 miles of walking and cycling along the South Downs, the Ram Inn is a perfect stop off point! Having built a reputation for excellent local food as well as locally produced cask ales, The Ram Inn isn’t one to miss if you’re over that way. You can read up on exactly where their ingredients are sourced from over on their website. Photograph credit: The Ram In
The Mermaid Inn, Rye
The Mermaid Inn is in picturesque Rye and is a venue that has a lot of history. Built in the 15th century with some parts dating back to the Norman Conquest, and there’s even a priest’s hole hidden in the chimney breast to look out for! You can opt for either some fine dining at the restaurant that’s been awarded two AA Rosettes, or for something more casual, there’s the lounge bar that serves food and has a log fireplace. Photograph credit: The Mermaid Inn
Crab & Lobster, Sidlesham
Nestling on the banks of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, this 350-year-old pub is a stunning hideaway. With a comfortable blend of old and new, the atmosphere is relaxed. The restaurant combines excellent service with stylish décor and a friendly ambience with food of the highest quality. With an emphasis on fresh fish, crab and lobster, there’s also traditional English and Mediterranean dishes to tempt the taste buds. Photograph credit: Crab & Lobster
The Griffin Inn, Fletching
The Griffin Inn has a restaurant seating 60 people, their menu is ever-changing based on what’s available locally and seasonally. Modern European best describes the menu, with strong influences from London’s River Cafe. There’s an excellent wine list with a selection of Italian and English wines, perfect for some alfresco dining in their spectacular garden. And with Ashdown Forest a short distance away there’s a great walking opportunity to be had! Photograph credit: The Griffin Inn
The Fox Goes Free, Charlton
400-year-old country pub overlooking the Southdowns of West Sussex, The Fox Goes Free is charming and full of character. Oak beams, brick walls and blackboards brimming with home cooked temptations, real ales and handpicked fine wines. Regularly visited by newcomers and regulars for it’s excellent service and attention to comfort. Don’t miss their roast if you’re about on a Sunday!
The Star Inn, Alfriston
The Star Inn resides in the South Downs National Park not far from Eastbourne. The head chef and his team at The Star Inn pride themselves on creating excellent Modern-British style food. Expect to find crackling log fires in the Winter and alfresco dining in the Summer, a great place to visit all year around for lunch, dinner or just a drink from their extensive drinks list. Photograph credit: The Star Inn
Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly
Gravetye Manor is celebrating its first Michelin star. Head Chef George Blogg’s menu takes homegrown and seasonality to a whole new level. You can choose to have an unhurried classical dining experience in the restaurant or a leisurely lunch in the garden. Don’t be surprised if you’re surrounded by diners in their Sunday best as there’s a sense of occasion when dining at Gravetye. Photograph credit: Gravetye Manor
The Dorset Arms, Withyham
The Dorset Arms Public House in Withyham is an 18th century alehouse situated in the outstandingly beautiful Sussex Weald. It has a traditional village pub feel, whilst offering high quality food all of a seasonal nature. Buckhurst Estate produce is included on the menu to create a greater connection with the local community. Sunday roasts are served weekly and on their main menu you can find pub classics, grills and salads all made with quality ingredients and much care. Photograph credit: The Dorset Arms
The Horse Guards, Tillington
Located in the sleepy village of Tillington, the Horse Guards is a 350 year old pub in the South Downs National Park. Serving a small but seasonal menu which changes daily according to what’s sourced from local suppliers, what’s dug out of their own vegetable patch and foraged from the wild hedgerows or shores nearby. Roast locally foraged chestnuts on the open fire in winter or relax outside on straw bale seats in summer. Rooms available. Near Petworth.
The Duke of Cumberland, Midhurst
A 16th Century pub situated on the side of a hill with fantastic views. Still retaining most of its original charm the Duke has flagstone, wooden scrubbed tables and local ales served straight from the barrel. There are even fresh trout swimming around in one of the many garden ponds. The emphasis on the menu is simple and delicious. Award-winning head chef and owner Simon Goodman is a big believer of local produce.
The Snowdrop Inn, Lewes
Taking full advantage of the plentiful local ingredients in the area, the Snowdrop is a gorgeous pub and restaurant in the heart of Lewes. The menu features some fantastic local produce including game from South Brockwell Farm, Brookland White chicken, Holmansbridge Farm sausage, Plantations Pigs pork and South Downs lamb. Not forgetting local ales Harveys and Dark Star as well as guest appearances from Thornbridge and others.
The George, Alfriston
Listed in Sussex Life magazine as one of the ‘Top 20 Cozy Winter Pubs’, the George is a perfect place to get away from it all. A stunning 14th Century Inn, it oozes character and charm. Oak beams, open log fires and a warm and friendly welcome, the George caters for all people and all occasions. A refreshing local pint after a walk on the surrounding South Downs or a romantic candlelit dinner with your loved one.