Just because you’re a dandy urban sophisticate who knows their falafel from their flat-white doesn’t mean you’re immune to the charms of a sedate countryside boozer.
Indeed, one of Brighton’s countless charms is its relative proximity to the rolling hills and nodding wildflowers of sleepy rural Sussex.
So when the hustle and bustle downtown gets a bit too much, here’s a few low-key just-out-of-town hostelries where you can sink a few brown ales far from the madding crowd.
Part of the really rather excellent local Ginger group (Ginger Fox, Ginger Man and so on) this Hassocks hostelry takes the high metropolitan standards of its sister restaurants in the kitchen and transplants them into an arresting thatched outpost with a giant beer garden and its own signature ice cream.
Muddleswood Rd, Albourne, Hassocks BN6 9EA
Okay, it’s a wee bit of a trek out of town. But hear us out. This charming little Georgian boozer has for centuries owned the boating rights to a broad stretch of the adjacent River Ouse. Meaning for a small fee (6 quid an hour adults, 3 for kids) you can take a tipsy punt downstream to the picturesquely named Fish Ladder Falls. Oarsome.
Anchor Ln, Lewes BN8 5EA
Given its prime location at the foot of the South Downs, flanked by a burbling stream and set in a row of cottages that can trace their history back seven centuries, you’d expect the Shepherd and Dog to be busy. And sure enough, it really is. But the garden is glorious, there’s usually live music, and the merry chatter of happy tipsy hordes enjoying a nice pint is a good thing, remember?
The St, Fulking, Henfield BN5 9LU
If you’re being all active and keen by strolling along the South Downs then this colourful pub is a great pit stop for a pint, a giant roast or no-nonsense fish and chips. They’ve done out the garden too, recently, with a new BBQ area, plus there’s a safe and well-maintained play area for when you’re lumbered with sprogs.
Poynings Rd, Poynings, BN45 7AQ
This smart cottagey watering hole’s main selling point is that it’s right on the coast. So you can sink a few jars and nosh on a roast overlooking the sea. It’s not even that pricey, considering, and boasts a fascinating history; it was once called The Lifeboat Inn, and was the sole financial support for brave local coastguards.
S Coast Rd, Telscombe Cliffs, Peacehaven BN10 7BE
When you’re quite finished sniggering – the name actually refers to the ‘cock horse’ that used to be stabled here to assist passing strangers up a nearby hill with their heavy, um, loads – this friendly traditional tavern is a lovely spot to sup in. All giant flagstones, ancient fireplace and unpretentious booze on tap.
Old Uckfield Rd, Ringmer, Lewes BN8 5RX
An old coaching stop on the fringes of the Sussex Weald, with a giant garden that’s home to chickens and even two micro pigs (named Bramble and Primrose, since you ask). It’s just been done out in smart contemporary copper piping, and the beers are all local and cool without being try-hard. Plus you can stay in the rooms upstairs, which is just as well because you’ll never want to leave.
Lewes Rd, Laughton, Ringmer BN8 6BG