Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sussex Country Pub Rant

One of my favourite things to do of a Sunday is a nice walk in the country and a pub lunch. Last Sunday it was pretty grim weather-wise, but we decided not to let that deter us, and headed out into rural Sussex. I feel so lucky living where we do - flanked by the sea on one side and the Downs on the other. It only took us 10 minutes in the car to get to Fulking, at the foot of Devil's Dyke, to one of our preferred hostelries, The Shepherd & Dog. We've always rated this place for its cosy atmosphere, straightforward food and stunning beer garden. I was sad to see that a recent refurbishment has removed some of the cosiness, and that the hugger-mugger random furniture, which I rather liked, has been replaced by uniform smart pine. This didn't seem to put off the regulars though, as the place was packed full of Sunday-lunchers. So we braved the blustery weather and sat in the beautiful beer garden, hoping the rain would hold off. My biggest complaint about the revamp is the evident price-hike - £6.95 for a sandwich???! Main courses were coming in at £10-14 - fair enough for a swish restaurant, but the food wasn't THAT great. The salad garnish with my ciabatta was limp and obvoiusly not freshly prepared, and there was nothing very imaginative about the sandwich itself - certainly not seven quid's worth of imagination anyway! How sad to see a charming, rustic local turning into yet another soul-less gastro pub. Thankfully Sussex has plenty of other great country pubs to offer...


The Cricketers, Berwick - Good, unfussy food and plenty for veggies. Lovely old-school interior and two beer gardens. Also a great starting place for walks over to Charleston.

The Eight Bells, Jevington - Friendly and traditional atmosphere, with nice beer garden and decent pub grub.

The Old Oak, Arlington - This place made the list out of nostalgia more than anything - tucked in next to Abbot's Wood, it was a family favourite growing up, but still serves good beer and OK food.

The Sussex Ox, Milton Street - Now has a gastro-pub style dining room, but the main pub is still cosy and atmospheric, and the food is good value for money.

The Tiger, East Dean - A lovely villagey atmosphere, especially in the summer when drinkers spill out onto the green.

For more inspiration on which pubs to visit in Sussex, try one of these most helpful guidebooks:


  1. matt mzholland@btopenworld.com9 September 2006 at 22:42:00 BST

    i went to the shepherd and dog today as it happens. i see what you mean! the least pub-like pub i've been into for a while, although they did have a nice pint of badger and the stream in the garden was quite soothing.
    i'd recommend the giant's rest in wilmington if you've not been there.

  2. Ahh yes the eight bells and the cricketers - both excellent pubs particularly as part of a downs walk taking in a number of other pubs including Rose Cottage (excellent Wilmington honey to be purchased there). I find the Sussex Ox too new. And the bar is so small and lacking in anything other than practicality it may as well not be there. A little better is the Giants Rest at wilmington. Always have the 2 pints at The Cricketers, particularly good in mid summer on a thursday late afternoon. The last circuit declared The Eight Bells the best Harveys to be had.

  3. I have linked to your review of the Shepherd and Dog from Sussex Pub Links. The link is on this page but it also appears on the homepage as a new link.

    If you intend to write more pub reviews, I'd be happy to link to them.


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