The Bull Pub with rooms in Ditchling, East Sussex

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Cool boutique-style bedrooms
  • Real food & real fires
  • Tip-top craft beers; try the Bedlam
  • Close to the South Downs Way

PerkInn Places Perk

Free upgrade to the best room available on arrival

Sticky FingersGood for WalkingCandlelitGreen Fingers90 Minutes from LondonPrivate Dining

Email this inn

Call this inn 01273 634443

Overview

The Bull Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8TA

The Personal Touch

The Bull Ditchling has been at the heart of the village since the 1560s when it housed monks who tended a medicinal herb garden down the road, and if it looks a wee bit more up-to-date than that from the outside, well, that’s because the exterior beams were removed in the Victorian era when the place earned its crust as a coaching inn. The pub passed into private hands for the first time in 230 years when Dominic and Vanessa Worrall finally took over the freehold having run the place for several years, and there are exciting plans afoot to renovate the adjacent flint buildings to accommodate a shiny new kitchen, extend the dining area and add some more bedrooms. The Bull is very much a village pub with log fires, scrubbed wooden tables, well-kept ales and a seasonal British menu, plus four stylish bedrooms tucked away upstairs that reveal someone’s keen eye for design. And all the fun of Brighton is only a 15-minute drive away.

Sticky fingers

The Bull is a child-friendly place with a bespoke kids’ menu that avoids freezer-to-fryer stuff and instead offers freshly-prepared options – even the ice cream is made on the premises! Highchairs and colouring sets are also available. The two larger bedrooms can accommodate children up to 10 years old.

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcome in the bar area, but cannot be accommodated in the bedrooms.

Alfresco

Head past the raised beds, which provide veg for the kitchen, into the hedge-lined L-shaped garden where plenty of tables are available.

What’s On?

The kitchen opens up early on Friday afternoon for a supper club, which is aimed at keeping the kids happy and getting the weekend off to a flying start. The second Sunday of every month is quiz night (8pm)

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles from £100-£160

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 5 Star Inn & 1 Rosette

Sleep

The Bull Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8TA

Do not disturb

Even a regular visitor might not have noticed the staircase hidden away behind a door masquerading as a wall panel – keycard access reveals the way to the four bedrooms. Each of the rooms has its own individual style with a mix of old and new furniture, some quirky touches and colours that eschew bland neutrality in favour of a bit of warmth and character. There’s attention to detail all round, in fact, with cookies made in-house to go with your tea or filter coffee, and the two larger rooms even have mini-bars filled with all sorts of goodies including Champagne and beer. All the bathrooms have roomy showers and handmade products.

Creature comforts

Egyptian cotton linen; White goose down duvets; glossy magazines; mini-bar in the two larger rooms (Rooms 1 and 4); fresh milk, homemade biscuits and filter-style coffee from the Little Coffee Bag Co.

Gadgets

Flatscreen TVs; DVD library; free WiFi; docking stations.

What’s for Breakfast?

Porridge, with raspberries and honey; scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and chives; eggs Benedict; full English with a choice of fried, scrambled or poached eggs.

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles from £100-£160

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 5 Star Inn & 1 Rosette

Eat & Drink

The Bull Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8TA

Mastering the Menu

There’s an egalitarian approach to dining at the Bull with a no booking policy across the two charming bar areas, and there’s no separate dining room as such, so just sit wherever takes your fancy. The kitchen makes excellent use of produce from Sussex and Kent, plus the harvest of their own raised beds in the garden, and the seasons are given due respect. The menu offers comfort in the form of fish and chips (cooked in a batter made with Bedlam ale) and a burger (wild boar, maybe, or a classic beef version with bacon, Cheddar and spicy tomato jam), but there’s a broader European influence in the likes of a classy veggie option which sees lemon and basil arancini partnered with cumin-roasted cauliflower and a creamy white sauce. Light lunches and tapas-style sharing plates increase the options still further, and there’s a proper kids’ menu and traditional Sunday roasts.

On the Menu

Mini roasted Camembert, sweet tomato chutney & bread; Slow-cooked lamb, sautéed potatoes, kale, minted crème fraîche; Bedlam ale-battered cod fillet, hand-cut chips, peas, tartar; Sea bass, samphire, chorizo & chickpea casserole, mussel & cream sauce; Dark chocolate brownie & whisky jam, salted butterscotch sauce.

Sunday Roasts

Roast sirloin of beef, Yorkshire pudding; Slow-cooked lamb shoulder, mint sauce; Nut roast with raisins & cranberries.

Foodie Extras

Rock up between 8.30am-10.30am on a Saturday and Sunday morning and start the day with a hearty English breakfast served in the main bar area, and if the full monty doesn’t tickle your fancy, go for pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup, or eggs Florentine. Residents hunker down in the other bar area.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7.30am-10.30.30am (Non-residents Saturday and Sunday only 8.30am-10.30am)

Lunch: 12pm-2.30pm

Dinner: 6pm-9.30pm (Friday from 5pm; Saturday 12pm-9.30pm; Sunday 12pm-9pm)

Local, Local, Local

Game – Balcombe Estate (www.balcombeestate.co.uk)
English sparkling wine – Ridgeview (www.ridgeview.co.uk)
Beer – Bedlam Brewery (www.bedlambrewery.co.uk)
Asparagus – Little Horsted FarmLamb – Foxhole Farm

Behind the Bar

Take a seat on a rather natty bar stool and peruse the array of thirteen real ales, craft beers and ciders that come from near and far. There are five cask ales on the go at any one time such as something from Burning Sky in Firle, Timothy Taylor Landlord, or the owners’ very own Bedlam Brewery in nearby Albourne, but if you want to spread your wings, check out the international options on tap including Longboard Island Lager from the Kona Brewing Co in Kailua on Hawaii. Cider lovers aren’t neglected either, not when Somerset’s Orchard Pig Reveller is up for grabs. The wine list kicks off with a good choice by the glass (in three measures), including the local Bacchus from the Albourne Estate and a couple of sparklers from near neighbour Ridgeview.

Bar Snacks

Honey mustard sausages; Fish goujons, dill mayo; Fried halloumi, beetroot salsa

Time at the Bar

Monday to Friday 11am-11pm,
Saturday 8.30am-11pm,
Sunday 8.30am-10.30pm

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles from £100-£160

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 5 Star Inn & 1 Rosette

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Bull

2

Bonne Bouche Chocolates, St Martins Lane, Lewes BN7 1UD

It may be slightly off the main shopping street, tucked away down an alleyway, but chocolate lovers will find a visit here a must - for hand-made, high quality chocolates.

9

The Coal Shed, 8 Boyces Street, Brighton BN1 1AN

35-day aged steaks and fresh seafood cooked over charcoal. When it comes to the prime protein, choose your cut, pick a weight and select a sauce, or go for the catch of the day cooked on the bone.

12

Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common BN6 8TP

Explore the vineyard where Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes grow in the Sussex sun, tour the state-of-the-art winery and, most importantly of all, sample their latest wines in the tasting room.

13

Middle Farm, Firle BN8 6LJ

A hive of activity, Middle Farm is a genuine working farm where you can watch the cows being milked, but there are also children's play areas, an impressive farm shop and a cider centre stocking over 100 draught and bottled ciders and perries.

14

The Ginger Fox, Muddleswood Road, Albourne BN6 9EA

Part of a group based in Brighton, this thatched country pub is more of a dining destination than a boozer, so expect some posh modern stuff. There's a garden with views of the South Downs and it is possible to pop in for a pint and a (classy) ploughman's lunch.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Bull

Activities

2

Horse Riding, Ditchling Common Stud RH15 0SE

The South Downs Way is not restricted to walkers, horse riders can trot or canter along the trail. You can plan a ride here to fit your schedule, enjoying a half-or full-day's hack.

3

Opera at Glyndebourne BN8 5UU

Opera at Glyndebourne remains one of the great cultural traditions of the English social calendar. Situated in magnificent Sussex countryside, it is a sublime setting in which to enjoy the music.

4

The Bluebell Railway TN22 3QL

Here you can experience the great era of steam travel and enjoy the sights that greet you along the line between Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, where you'll find a beautiful 120-acre garden close to the station. Created by 'Capability' Brown, the garden is famed for its spring flowering rhododendrons and dazzling autumnal colours.

5

Paragliding BN8 6JZ

Float effortlessly above the glorious Sussex coast and countryside courtesy of the Sussex Hang Gliding and Paragliding School. Courses last a day, or longer, and there are qualified experts at exclusive training sites in the area.

Shopping

10

The Fifteenth Century Bookshop, Lewes, BN7 1XH

Specialising in children's and illustrated books, this Lewes bookshop also has shelves of books on a whole range of subjects - including historical fiction, gardening, architecture and theatre.

12

Leadbetter & Good, Cliffe High Street, Lewes BN7 2AN

Offering a wide range of books, ceramics, prints, textiles and occasional items of furniture, this unusual store can be found in Cliffe High Street. In fact, all across the town there are scores of independent retailers, quaint streets and hidden alleyways to seek out.

14

The Chalk Gallery, North Street, Lewes BN7 2PA

Situated in Lewes, the Chalk Gallery is run by artists and devoted to promoting artists and their individual styles and subjects. The work of a featured artist is showcased every three weeks.

15

Lewes Forge, Fisher Street BN7 2DG

A traditional blacksmith's forge in the heart of Lewes where Ben Autie accepts commissions for sculptures and decorative items, architectural ironwork, gates and fences.

17

Lewes BN7 2DE

Why not browse the antique shops of the Cliffe or take a rewarding stroll in search of this historic old town's many independent retailers and quaint buildings. The atmosphere here is bustling and friendly and there are plenty of opportunities for a welcome coffee break.

18

Brighton Lanes BN1 4A

This corner of Brighton represents a tightly packed network of narrow lanes and twisting alleyways where you’ll find countless independent shops, boutiques and jewellers. The accent here is on the quirky and eclectic.

19

W.F. Bruce's Antique Clocks, North Street, Lewes BN7 2PA

Expect an impressive stock of good quality antique clocks from the early 17th century to the 19th century at this Lewes business. However, these are clocks with a difference – stylish and often rare and unusual. In addition, you’ll often find various long case clocks made by Sussex clockmakers.

Places to visit

6

Brighton BN1 1EE

Originally a small fishing village, Brighton has become one of the south's premier resorts over the years, renowned as much for its history and culture as its sea air. The exotic 18th-century Royal Pavilion is one of the city's best-known landmarks.

7

Charleston Farmhouse, Firle BN8 6LL

Virginia Woolf spotted this remote settlement on the South Downs while out walking one day in 1916 and Charleston became the home and country meeting place for the writers and artists of the Bloomsbury group. The Bloomsbury artists painted furniture, ceramics, and murals, which can be seen at the house from March to November, along with a collection of paintings by Picasso, Derain, Sickert and Delacroix.

8

Firle Place, Firle BN8 6LP

Surrounded by parkland, this 500-year-old house includes a significant collection of Old Masters, with works by Reynolds, Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Rubens. Items of English and French furniture are also on display.

9

Ditchling Museum BN6 8TB

Located in a former school, Ditchling Museum tells the story of country life through the ages. Country crafts, tools and costumes are among the many items and features on display. The work and achievements of many celebrated artists are also on show.

Walking

www.eastsussex.gov.uk
The 90-mile chain of the South Downs represents some of the finest walking in southern England and is protected by National Park status. Across this down land runs the South Downs Way, one of Britain’s most popular long-distance trails and radiating off the route are scores of footpaths and bridleways. Elsewhere in the region are the Sussex Border Path, the High Weald Landscape Trail and the Monarch’s Way.

Cycling

www.eastsussex.gov.uk
To complement the region’s numerous walking trails, there are many excellent cycle routes within easy reach of Ditchling. An easy and popular route is the 14-mile Cuckoo Trail, which explores a delightful swathe of Sussex countryside between Heathfield and Eastbourne.

Events

www.lovesussex.com
The Eastbourne Festival in April and May presents music, visual arts and dance, in June and July there is a chance to catch a movie at Brighton’s Big Screen on the Beach, and in June, Shoreham’s Summer Food & Drink festival is a celebration of drink and culinary delights from around the world.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road
Turn off A23 for Pyecombe, then branch left onto A272 signposted Hassocks. Continue uphill past Pyecombe Golf Club and take second right onto New Road (B2112) signed to Ditchling.
By Rail
Hassocks station is 2 miles away. Trains from London Victoria and London Bridge take around an hour, and Brighton is 10 minutes away.

Address:

2 High Street,, Ditchling, East Sussex, BN6 8TA

Rooms rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

Voted one of the Top 10 pubs in the UK , Sunday Times 2015

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