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The Bull, Ditchling, East Sussex
Tucked away in a crease of the South Downs, Ditchling has drawn artists and creatives for nearly 100 years. The Bull has always been the beating heart of village life, first as a meeting place for locals and now as a charming country bolthole. Built in 1560, it's the oldest pub in village and has stacks of character - with blackened beams, wonky ceilings and oversized brick fireplaces. Downstairs has a proper country pub vibe with a wood-smoke scent, fine ales from The Bull's own Bedlam Brewery, and a decent gastropub menu, which features local steaks, homemade pies and some excellent puddings. And squirrelled away behind a hidden door, there are six plush rooms upstairs to really hunker down in.
We love walking along the South Downs Way between Ditchling Beacon and Devil's Dyke. It certainly works up a thirst.
The Bull is in the South Downs National Park, a 20-minute drive from the seaside at Brighton and close to Ditchling Beacon hill, with panoramic views of the Downs. Ditchling is a small historic village with a handful of shops, as well as a local museum of arts and crafts.
By car: Ditchling is 1 hour and 45 minutes' drive from London. There is free parking at the hotel but it is limited.
By train: The closest train station is Hassocks, a 5-minute taxi ride away, with direct trains from London that that take just under an hour.
Style & Character
The pub attracts a mix of arty locals and couples looking for a country escape within easy reach of Brighton. Sitting by a roaring open fire with a pint of Bedlam ale and the Sunday papers is a highlight of a stay here.
Service & Facilities
The fast, friendly and genuinely nice service is just knock-out. It really elevates the cosy country pub experience.
- Outdoor dining
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
We love Room Four, with its grey, half-timbered walls, slouchy
silver velour sofa and cowhide
rug, it's a great place to hangout with a film. The minibar is packed with posh treats, like Brighton Gin, Bedlam beers and fancy chocolate.
Small Ensuite Double Room, Medium Ensuite Twin Room, Medium Ensuite Double Room
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with shower, Cowshed products, hairdryer, bathrobes, towels, Smart TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, fan
Food & Drink
We love the breakfast. It's not included in the rate, but it's well worth staying around for dishes like sourdough with avocado, chilli and poached eggs or buttermilk pancakes with banana and maple syrup. We're also a fan of the Bedlam-ale battered fish of the day - served with fat chips, peas and homemade tartare sauce.
The Bull: classy pub dishes, small plates, kids' menus. Vegetables and herbs from the kitchen garden. Local wines and beer from the pub's own brewery. Wood-fired pizza oven in the garden. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mains from £13.