The Griffin Inn Pub with rooms in Fletching, East Sussex

Prices from:
£85 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Charming building with traditional bars
  • Sussex ales, local, seasonal produce
  • Classy cooking and inventive menus
  • Legendary summer Sunday barbecues
  • Gorgeous garden with stunning views
  • Stylish, individually decorated rooms
  • James Pullan – the perfect host

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitGreen FingersVisit a Stately Pile90 Minutes from London

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Overview

The Griffin Inn Fletching, East Sussex, TN22 3SS

The personal touch

In a world where what passes for ‘character’ and ‘individuality’ can be bought off the shelf, The Griffin Inn at Fletching, is the real deal. It’s been around since the 16th-century, and don’t you just know it: traditional spaces with wooden beams and oak panels, real log fires – four in total – and nary a straight line in sight. It’s a proper inn with Sussex ales at the pumps and local produce on the menu in the bar, plus a classically stylish restaurant and thirteen attractive bedrooms. The Pullan family and their team run the place with charm and dedication, where everything from the impressive wine list to the refined culinary output show commitment to quality. The accommodation has personality and country charm in abundance, too, with four-poster beds and cast iron baths, while the garden has space for a resting army and views over the verdant Sussex countryside that are worth dying for.

Sticky fingers

The Griffin Inn has a child-friendly attitude.

Muddy paws

Dogs are very welcome, and can be accommodated in the bedrooms if you bring a basket or rug.

Alfresco

The garden is the jewel in The Griffin’s crown. The grassy green space out back looks out over glorious Sussex countryside (part of Sheffield Park as it happens), and there are lots of tables on which to nurse a pint or tuck into something from the bar menu. And when the barbecue season arrives, the garden fills up with enthusiastic punters. Tucked away in a corner spot is The Sheffield – a rustic wooden bar – which opens up in fair weather and is available for private functions. There’s also a paved terrace leading from the restaurant, with lunch or a candlelit dinner a seasonal treat.

What’s on?

Live music brings a buzz to Friday evenings and Saturdays, and there’s a wine club with special dinners and trips to top European wine regions. The inn is also home to The Griffin Cricket Club, as various photos and pieces of memorabilia around the place attest.

What’s the Damage?
13 doubles – Sunday to Thursday £90-£130; Friday and Saturday £110-£160; Single occupancy £70-£80

What else?

All credit cards taken
Alfresco dining

Parking

Gongs

Good Hotel Guide, Waitrose Good Food Guide, Michelin

Sleep

The Griffin Inn Fletching, East Sussex, TN22 3SS

Do not disturb

There are thirteen bedrooms at The Griffin – four in the main part of the building, four in the coach house overlooking the garden, and five in Griffin House next door. And they have one thing in common – they’re all different. There’s no sense of physical separation wherever you stay, with the bar never more than a short a stroll away. Each room has an individual style with original pieces of furniture, quirky touches such as porthole mirrors, and colourful fabrics, while the en suite bathrooms have either showers or cast iron bathtubs. If you’re up for something a little funky, check out the in-room shower in the Sheffield Room, while romantics will be pleased to know there are four-poster beds in over half of the rooms.

Creature comforts

Egyptian cotton sheets; bathrobes; locally-made soaps and shampoos.

Gadgets

Wi-Fi; Flatscreen TV; DVD player; iPod docking.

What’s for Breakfast?

Locally-made jams; freshly-baked croissants; cooked Fletching breakfast featuring ‘the infamous Fletching sausage’; vegetarian Fletching breakfast; smoked salmon and scrambled free-range eggs; grilled Loch Fyne kippers.

What’s the Damage?
13 doubles – Sunday to Thursday £90-£130; Friday and Saturday £110-£160; Single occupancy £70-£80

What else?

All credit cards taken
Alfresco dining

Parking

Gongs

Good Hotel Guide, Waitrose Good Food Guide, Michelin

Eat & Drink

The Griffin Inn Fletching, East Sussex, TN22 3SS

Mastering the menu

Matt Sandells and his kitchen team have at their disposal a two-acre market garden down the road providing salads, vegetables and soft fruits, which means the ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ boxes are well-and-truly ticked. Bar and restaurant menus have some cross-over and there’s a refinement to the culinary output whichever you choose. It’s really down to whether you fancy hunkering down at a wooden table in one of the charmingly rustic bar areas, or opt for a little more refinement in the restaurant, where white linen and table service set the tone. There’s a marvellous terrace leading out from the restaurant, too, and that’s before we’ve even got to the splendid garden with its grassy lawn and dynamite view. There’s even a wood-fired oven out in the garden, and weekend summer barbecues.

On the menu

Crispy pork rillettes, pine nuts, apple & vanilla purée, apple crisps
Spicy sea bass ceviche, chilli, fennel, shallot, pickled cucumber, focaccia
Local pheasant breast, parsnip purée, confit leg & whole grain mustard croquet
Pan-fried wing of skate, crushed new potatoes, tomato, caper & crayfish butter
Chocolate tart, orange sorbet, amaretti biscuits

Sunday Roasts

Roast loin of Tamworth pork, roast potatoes, beetroot, carrots, apple & sage sauce
Whole local roast partridge, potato rösti, red cabbage & redcurrant jus

Foodie Extras

The Sunday summer barbecues are legendary (some Saturdays too): roll up and grab one of the copious tables in the garden and tuck into rip-roaring stuff such as beef and thyme burgers, Romney Marsh lamb chops and Newhaven mackerel in chilli and rosemary, with piles of salad. It all kicks off when the weather plays ball. A garden bar – The Sheffield – is another string to the Griffin’s bow, tucked away in a corner, with those sweeping views across the Sussex countryside.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10am (8.30am – 10am Saturday & Sunday)
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm (3pm Saturday & Sunday)
Dinner: 7pm – 9.30pm (9pm Sunday)

Local, local, local

Seafood – PH Fish, Rye
Beef and rose veal – Altherall’s Farm, Fletching (www.atherallsfarm.co.uk)
Lamb – Denniker Farm Shop, Fletching (www.denniker.co.uk)
Real ale – Harveys Brewery, Lewes (www.harveys.org.uk)

Behind the bar

‘We only stock beers from independent Sussex brewers’ declares a sign above the bar, reinforcing the owners’ commitment to the county. There are four to choose from at any given time, with Harveys Best a perennial option, joined by an ever-changing array including the likes of Long Man Copper Hop or something from the 360° Brewing Company just down the road. There’s equal dedication to the grape. The wine list heads out into the wider world – old and new – and offers a good selection by the glass and wines of the month. Italy is a particular favourite – check out the heavyweight Borolo on the Connoisseur’s section of the list – and James Pullan even heads up a wine club that sees dedicated oenophiles heading off on trips to Champagne, Sicily and the like.

Bar snacks

Marinated Italian olives

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
13 doubles – Sunday to Thursday £90-£130; Friday and Saturday £110-£160; Single occupancy £70-£80

What else?

All credit cards taken
Alfresco dining

Parking

Gongs

Good Hotel Guide, Waitrose Good Food Guide, Michelin

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 Griffin Inn

5

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.

7

The Crown, Horsted Keynes RH17 7AW

The kitchen at this revamped village pub is headed-up by Mark Raffan, formerly at Gravetye Manor, but don't go expecting rarefied fine dining - tuck into pan-fried calf's liver with a red wine jus, or a hefty rump steak burger, in a relaxed setting.

9

Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly RH19 4LJ

The magnificent one acre walled kitchen garden provides up to 95% of the fruit and vegetables used at the Manor in the summer.The restaurant is an elegant spot for lunch or dinner, or pop in for afternoon tea.

12

Bluebell Vineyard Estates, Sliders Lane, Furners Green TN22 3RU

If you want to know what the hullabaloo around English sparkling wine is all about, head on over to the Bluebell Vineyard Estate. It is currently only open for pre-booked group wine tastings and vineyard tours, but check out the website for regular events.

15

Jolly Sportsman, East Chiltington BN7 3BA

In a quiet rural spot reached via winding country lanes, the Jolly Sportsman is very much a dining pub, but there are beers from British micro-breweries on offer and ales are served directly from the cask. For sunny days there's a lovely garden with a children's wooden climbing frame.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Griffin Inn

Activities

2

Ballooning in Crowborough TN6 2XB

Opt for a local launch station and see the glorious Sussex landscape from the air. One of the highlights of a balloon trip here is a bird's eye view of AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh and Piglet's Hundred Acre Wood in the Ashdown Forest.

3

Piltdown Golf Club TN22 3XB

This renowned golf club was established in 1904 and is still welcoming members and visitors more than a century later. The 18-hole course lies in picturesque Sussex countryside near Uckfield and the historic clubhouse is a listed building dating from the close of the 18th century.

5

Shooting Northall Farm, Fletching TN22 3SA

Northall Clay Pigeon Club is the perfect venue for clay shooting whether you are a beginner or simply want to improve your shooting skills. Northall offers a friendly, welcoming atmosphere to enhance the occasion.

Shopping

11

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.

13

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.

14

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.

16

The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5DZ

The colonnaded Pantiles, one of the town's best-known features, is well worth a visit for a range of stylish galleries, boutiques, lifestyle and cooking shops, and quality coffee shops. Arrive early for an alfresco table outside the Tunbridge Wells Hotel on warm days.

17

Chadder & Co, Forest Row RH18 5EZ

This is the home of classic baths and fittings, where these superb pieces are lovingly restored and improved. Chadder & Co at Forest Row is acknowledged as one of Britain's finest traditional luxury bathroom product designers.

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.

20

The Rural Vintner

Located at Sheffield Green, near Haywards Heath, the Rural Vintner is a wine merchant offering personal service and expert advice. There are also plenty of in-store tastings.

Places to visit

6

Borde Hill Gardens, Haywards Heath RH16 1XP

Located in 200 acres of parkland and woodland, Borde Hill Garden is where you'll find a dazzling patchwork of exotic plants, rare shrubs and champion trees. Country Life has described Borde Hill as one of the country's truly great gardens.

7

Groombridge Place Gardens, Groombridge TN3 9QG

Regarded as one of the finest 17th-century classical mansions in the country, Groombridge Place was built to a design partly drawn up by Sir Christopher Wren. Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived locally and once admitted that the house inspired Birlstone Manor in his mystery The Valley of Fear (1915). Over the years, different owners have left their mark on the glorious gardens.

8

Battle Abbey TN33 0AD

William the Conqueror vowed that if God gave him victory, he would build an abbey on the site of the battle at Senlac Field. This he did, with the high altar set up on the spot where Harold died. Today Battle Abbey is in the care of English Heritage and is a hugely popular visitor attraction.

9

Anne of Cleves House, Southover High Street, Lewes BN7 1JA

Explore the world of the Tudors and discover the role played by this 15th-century, timber-framed Wealden hall house in the story of Henry VIII, who gave the house to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves (divorced). On display is a wide range of furniture and artefacts.

10

Wakehurst Place, Ardingly RH17 6TN

This beautiful garden in the heart of Sussex is the National Trust's most visited property. Open throughout the year, Wakehurst's garden, together with areas of wetland and woodland, include plants from different parts of the world. A wide range of events and activities take place here. Wakehurst is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

21

The Priest House, West Hoathly RH19 4PP

In the centre of West Hoathly is this timber-framed hall house built in the 15th century and seized by Henry VIII in 1538. Established as a museum in 1908, the Priest House features a varied assortment of 17th and 18th-century country furniture.

Walking

www.westsussex.gov.uk
www.westsussex.info
Over 6,000 acres of Ashdown Forest are freely accessible to the public, making it a much sought-after walking destination for both locals and visitors. Only a short drive to the south of Fletching are the northern slopes of the South Downs, now a National Park, and one of the most popular areas for walking in the south of England.

Cycling

www.westsussex.gov.uk
The South Downs Way is a long-term favourite with cyclists, but the Worth Way, which links Crawley and East Grinstead is worth considering, and the Forest Way, which runs between East Grinstead and Groombridge, a village on the Kent/Sussex border. Both these routes were originally railway tracks. Deers Leap, south of East Grinstead, has over 200 acres of mountain bike tracks and family friendly trails.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road:
Fletching is signposted off the A272 west of Uckfield near Piltdown, or from A275 between Danehill and North Chailey.

By Rail:
The nearest mainline stations are Uckfield (5 miles) and Haywards Heath (10 miles). Trains from London Bridge or London Victoria take around an hour.

Address:

Fletching,, Fletching, East Sussex, TN22 3SS

Rooms rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

Sussex Life, January 2015,
This is a cosy log-fired community-led inn with fabulous views of the South Downs. You get cosy open fires, 400-year-old beams, oak panelling, settles, red carpets and prints on the walls. Smart menus based on the finest seasonal produce include fresh fish from Rye and Fletching lamb; both food and beers are as local as can be. There’s a wood oven on the terrace and, on summer Sundays, a spit-roast barbecue – all accompanied by ten-mile views stretching across Sheffield Park to the South Downs.

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