The sun is shining, you have a pint of craft beer in your hand and the scent of delicious home-style cooking hangs in the air. A lazy hour or two in a pub garden is a treat many of us enjoy after a walk in the countryside. And we know just where to go to find the best beer, the tastiest food and the prettiest beer gardens in West Sussex.
Our favourite beer gardens in West Sussex
Here’s our selection of the best beer gardens in West Sussex. If you have a favourite that isn’t on the list do let us know in the comments below.
The Duke of Cumberland Arms, Henley, Haslemere
Hidden away in the hamlet of Henley, just south of Fernhurst, The Duke of Cumberland is a fabulous country pub and restaurant with an extensive garden as well as a pretty garden room for less clement days.
With many interesting and thoughtful features, it is an idyllic find described by the Michelin guide as “A hidden gem, nestled in pretty tiered gardens with trickling streams, trout ponds and splendid South Downs views.” When we visited we found the food, beer and service to be excellent and worth the rather heavty price tag.
Visit their website for more information DukeofCumberland.com or call 01428 652280 to book a table.
Image courtesy of the Duke of Cumberland.
The Fox Goes Free, Charlton, Chichester
With the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park just the other side of a low flint wall, the views from the spacious pub garden at The Fox Goes Free in the little village of Charlton near Chichester are hard to beat. Overlooking Levin Down, a National Trust site, spring is a particularly enchanting time as you may see sheep with their young lambs in the neighbouring field.
This picturesque flint pub is four hundred years old, with open fireplaces, oak beams and bags of character. It is renowned for good food and beer, fine wines and great service.
Visit their website for more information TheFoxGoesFree.com or call 01243 811461 to book a table.
The White Horse, Chilgrove, Chichester
Don’t be fooled by its address on the village high street, when you arrive at the Whtie Horse, you’ll not see a single shop, restaurant, post office or even another building in sight. This white-washed, wisteria-clad inn was built in 1768 and is set amongst vast green lawns with two beer gardens. The grounds are so big that it’s not unknown for guests to arrive by helicopter!
The food and service are excellent with ample outdoor seating and plenty of parking with charging points for electric cars. Inside the pub is a charming mix of contemporary rustic chic blended with the traditional character you’d expect to find in a historic country pub. Gin lovers must try a glass of locally distilled Chilgrove Gin, bursting with Sussex-grown botanicals.
Visit their website for more information TheWhiteHorse.co.uk or call 01243 519 444 to book a table.
Stay at The White Horse
With several sumptuously furnished rooms (two with private hot tubs) The White Horse in Chilgrove also makes the perfect overnight getaway. Historic towns and villages including Chichester, Arundel and Amberley are all within easy reach. And the myriad of walking and cycling trails of the South Downs National Park are on your doorstep. Check availability and book, The White Horse.
George and Dragon, Houghton, Arundel
One of the oldest pubs in Sussex, the George and Dragon in Houghton near Arundel, dates back to 1276. Inside you’ll find inglenook fireplaces, oak beams and bags of character. Outside, the sweeping views from the beer garden across the South Downs National Park make the perfect setting on a sunny day. The food is superb, made from locally sourced, freshly prepared seasonal ingredients.
The long-distance walking route the ‘The South Downs Way‘ passes nearby and it’s also just a short walk to the River Arun and the footpath that follows the river bank, although you’ll have to walk as far as South Stoke before you see much of the river as the path is set back in the trees along this stretch. From there you can continue walking south to The Black Rabbit (see below) and Arundel or cross the river and walk to Amberley. If you fancy just a short walk (less than a mile there and back), take the path west of the car park uphill you’ll find some spectacular views across the hills.
Visit their website for more information TheGeorgeAndDragonHoughton.co.uk or call 01798 831 559 to book a table.
Images courtesy of the George and Dragon.
The Gribble Inn, Oving, Chichester
A lovely thatched cottage that was once the home of the village schoolmistress, Miss Gribble, this pub and brewery is a hidden gem in the Sussex countryside. The patio garden is a pretty setting, the food is great and the beer, brewed in the onsite microbrewery, is second to none.
If you’ve never drunk at the Gribble before, why not try a taster tray with three third-of-a-pint samples from their own excellent beers. We’d also recommend selecting a small portion for your main course to leave room for one of their delectable homemade desserts, for all but the largest of appetites.
There are no great walks nearby without hopping in the car but while here, it’s worth exploring the little village to find the old schoolhouse and church.
Visit their website for more information Gribbleinn.co.uk or call 01243 786893 to book a table.
Read our review of The Gribble Inn.
Black Horse, Amberley, Arundel
In the charming village of Amberley which is overflowing with picture-postcard-perfect thatched cottages, this historic inn has a spacious terrace and garden with views across the rooftops to the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park. The food is superb and the price does reflect this but we think it is worth it, particularly for a special occasion.
The long-distance walking route ‘The South Downs Way‘ passes by about half a mile away. Alternatively, for a more easygoing walk, head down from the inn to Amberley Castle and follow the public footpath to the river from here you have various options including a lovely circular route following the river bank towards Amberley Station. Please note that parts of this walk are usually flooded in the winter so take your wellies!
Amberley railway station is a one-mile walk away from the village. This is a viable day out from London with the train journey taking just over an hour from Victoria station.
Visit their website for more information AmberleyBlackHorse.co.uk or call 01798 831183 to book a table.
Stay at The Black Horse, Amberley
While we’ve not stayed here ourselves we can definitely recommend the location. As well as the lovely village and the South Downs Way being on your doorstep, Amberley Castle is just a short stroll away and we can also highly recommend their afternoon teas.
Many more picturesque towns and villages, and hilltop walks are within easy reach plus the wonderful, largely outdoor Amberley Museum is a little over a mile away. Check availability and book, Black Horse.
The Black Rabbit, Arundel
In an idyllic setting by the River Arun, The Black Rabbit is just over a mile from the centre of Arundel. Part of the Hall and Woodhouse family of pubs.
The Black Rabbit has a reputation for great food and drinks and it does get booked up well in advance. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a table right by the river and some even have a view of Arundel Castle.
Visit their website for more information TheBlackRabbitArundel.co.uk or call 01903 882638 to book a table
The George, Eartham, Chichester
Hidden away in a tiny historic village in the South Downs National Park, there are some fabulous walks starting and ending on the pub’s doorstep, including Nore Wood, an ancient woodland renowned for its bluebells. Further lovely walks can be found by heading uphill on the public footpath opposite the church.
While the garden here is smaller than the others featured, The George is nevertheless a worthy inclusion in this round-up as the food, beer, service and local walks are all superb. I also need to mention here that The George serves my favourite Sunday roasts in the county.
Visit their website for more information TheGeorgeEartham.com or call 01243 814340.
Blakes Bar, Felpham, Bognor Regis
While not strictly speaking a pub, Blakes Bar is the wonderful terrace bar from the Beachcroft Hotel, right on the seafront in Felpham. It’s so picturesque, overlooking the sea, how could we not include it in this roundup? I can also highly recommend a stay at their stunning Beach Hut Suites.
From here, you can walk west towards Bognor Regis with the promenade going all the way to Aldwick. Head west for a quieter walk. The promenade gives way to a grass track but at Middelton you’ll have to walk along the pebbles to Elmer and beyond. At low tide, you can walk for miles in either direction along the sand, a popular choice for dog walkers.
Visit their website for more information, Blakes Bar.
Images courtesy of The Beachcroft Hotel
More great West Sussex pubs with beer gardens
The Shepherd & Dog, Fulking near Brighton
Visit their website for more information ShepherdandDogPub.co.uk or call 01273 857382.
The Inglenook, Pagham, Bognor Regis
Visit their website for more information TheInglenook.com or call 01243 262495.
Hello, I’m the writer, photographer, and walking guide, behind Sussex Walks. I was born in West sussex and have lived here all my life (apart from a few years in Bristol while at university studying Zoology, Botany and Psychology).