The Bell in Ticehurst Hotel

Sussex, United Kingdom

Step through the wooden door to enter a culinary wonderland at The Bell in Ticehurst. This 16th-century coaching inn in East Sussex has retained all its village appeal, with wanderers and locals mingling in the nooks of its fire-lit bar. Quirky interiors attract the curious traveller: from neon Oscar Wilde quotes and four-poster beds fashioned from tree trunks to art by Tracey Emin, Francis Bacon, Banksy, Graham Sutherland and Picasso, there’s plenty to discover across seven dog-friendly rooms; or pick one of four lodges hidden within the flower-lined garden for private patios and wood burners.

On the food front, ‘local’ means breakfast eggs courtesy of farmer Jeremy’s hens (delivered on horseback) and season-led, British dishes with French influence, courtesy of head chef Mark Charker. The everyday menu delivers elevated pub food, and from the curried cod brandade fritters to rich duck gratin and butterscotch-spiked sticky toffee pudding, each course is exceptional. On Sundays, you’ll find sizeable roasts with Trenchmore Farm beef and Hedgerow venison; and those seeking a step up can book The Stables on Wednesdays for Mark’s fine-dining experience. The five-course tasting menu highlights superlative Sussex produce from land and sea, complete with wine pairings. Think smoked prawn tartlet with artichoke, yuzu and foraged herbs, halibut in an oyster and champagne sauce, and lamb with watercress purée. From the collectables to the ever-changing menu, no two stays will be the same.

Doubles from £135. 01580 200300,

Words by Megan Dickson

This review was taken from the October 2023 issue of Food and Travel. To subscribe today, click here.

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