The Ram Inn Pub with rooms in Firle, East Sussex

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Proper village pub – heart of Firle
  • Sussex ales – one brewed in the village
  • Daily menus brim with local produce
  • Gorgeous walled garden
  • Simple, contemporary accommodation
  • South Downs on doorstep
  • Big welcome for walkers and dogs

Muddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitVisit a Stately Pile90 Minutes from LondonPrivate Dining

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Call this inn 01273 634444


The Ram Inn Firle, East Sussex, BN8 6NS

The personal touch

A pub for a good 500 years or so, the Ram Inn Firle is very much a vital part of this small community. The bricks and mortar (and flint and hanging tiles) are owned by the posh folk up at Firle Place (Viscount Gage number eight being the current incumbent), but licensee Hayley Bayes has embraced village life. The pub is free of tie, and Hayley only has eyes for Sussex brews and regional produce, with the estate providing beef and game prepared by a family butcher in nearby Eastbourne, and residents chipping in with fresh veg from their allotments. The building’s long history includes the role of court room, with the cellar acting as the holding cells, and today the Court Room is one of the three main areas of the pub along with the main bar and snug (the oldest part of the building). Real log fires warm the whole place – three in total – and there’s plenty of character in its wooden floors, fashionably moody colour scheme and old photos of local life (not to mention images of rams in various forms). It’s the kind of place where you can eat what you want, where you want, with no standing on ceremony, but table service is an option to relieve any pressure on the diminutive bar. The outside space affords views of Firle Beacon, especially if you’re out front, where, when open, the Farmers’ Bar in the stable/coach house block creates even more of a buzz. The area has close links to the Bloomsbury Group, with Charleston farmhouse just down the road and Virginia Woolf a former resident of the village.

Sticky fingers

The bespoke children’s menu can cater for most appetites with its choice including local sausages, organic salmon and Cheddar and coleslaw sandwich, and there’s even a hummus board with toast (from Flint Owl Bakery bread – no skimping here) and crudités.

Muddy paws

Dogs are very welcome throughout the pub, including the bedrooms.


The flint-walled garden has mature trees and loads of bench tables which fill up with families in the alfresco season (there’s a children’s play area in one corner, complete with a slide and swings). The area out front of the pub is called ‘The Beach’, for a reason lost in time, and it is a summer hot spot popular with drinkers from the Farmers’ Bar (part of the coach house and stable, which also contains a private dining room).

What’s on?

The pub doesn’t organise any events as such, but they do fully participate in village life. The village fete in August has its very own sheep race. The Firle bonfire doesn’t quite match nearby Lewes, but it impressive all the same, and over several weekends in August and September the village is part of Lewes’s Artwave Festival, where local art is displayed in private homes. The pub has a toad in the hole team (an old pub game which seemingly only exists in East Sussex these days).

What’s the Damage?
5 doubles £100-£200

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (not Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

The Ram Inn Firle, East Sussex, BN8 6NS

Do not disturb

The four bedrooms are named with locality in mind: Beacon View is self-explanatory, Bloomsbury is an obvious choice, while Beanstalk and Bo Peep require further explanation (the former is a corner on the coast road, the latter a farm on top of the hill). They are decorated in fashionably muted contemporary shades and possess individual character and charm. Bloomsbury is the pick of the bunch, situated in the Georgian part of the building, with a roll-top bath in the room and a separate en suite loo, while Beacon view is up in the eaves and possess a big bathroom with another roll-top bath. Beanstalk and Bo Peep have private bathrooms, but they’re close to hand, and robes are provided!

Creature comforts

Egyptian cotton sheets; duck down duvets; Pecksniff toiletries; hot water bottles.


Free Wi-Fi.

What’s for Breakfast?

Toasted Flint Owl Bakery bread with preserves; Dorset Cereals muesli, natural yoghurt, fruit compôte, honey; grilled kippers on toast with poached Firle egg; full English breakfast (and vegetarian alternative); smoked bacon sandwich on Flint Owl Bakery bread

What’s the Damage?
5 doubles £100-£200

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (not Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking
Eat & Drink

The Ram Inn Firle, East Sussex, BN8 6NS

Mastering the menu

The Ram’s kitchen team doesn’t have to look too far to find first-class produce, with Place Farm and the Firle Place Estate on the pub’s doorstep. Andrew Barr farms the land around the estate and provides beef and lamb, which arrives at the pub via a family butchers in Eastbourne. There’s a genuine local flavour to the menu, with classic pub-style options and some influences from further afield, but most of the output fits neatly under the British banner. The kitchen has access to some quirky local supply lines – the vicar forages for wild strawberries and mushrooms, a local man brings English truffles to the door (found by his one-eyed dog), wild rabbit are dropped off, and locals are eager to share the fruits of their allotments. The daytime/evening output doesn’t differ greatly, save for a lunchtime ploughman’s, a couple of sandwiches, burger and fish and chips. Sharing boards look to the European mainland for antipasti and baked Vacherin Mont D’Or, or go for the cured fish and shellfish one with its smoked halibut and shell-on prawns. Sussex steaks (aged for 21 days) are always a big hit, with seasonal game such as Firle pheasant a seasonal treat (served as confit leg and seared breast), and the south coast does it bit providing wild sea bass. This may well be farming country, but vegetarians have a few good things to stick around for, not least the Golden Cross goats’ cheese and quince tarte Tatin. Table service helps avoid queues at the bar area and, wherever you sit, the vibe is relaxed and friendly.

On the menu

Potted wild mushroom parfait, roast garlic shallots, truffle butter, watercress
The Ram Inn ploughman’s: Black Bomber Cheddar/Brie de Meaux/Cropwell Bishop Stilton served with pickles, coleslaw, Ram Inn chutney, mixed leaves, Flint Owl Bakery bread
Ram Inn beef bourguignon
Pan-fried local wild sea bass, caper and soft herb butter
Dark chocolate and blood orange fondant, cinnamon Chantilly cream

Sunday Roasts

Roast shoulder of Sussex pork, roast potatoes, seasonal greens, carrot and swede crush, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding, red wine gravy, apple sauce
Roast 21-day aged Sussex topside of beef, roast potatoes, seasonal greens, carrot and swede crush, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding, red wine gravy, horseradish cream
Mixed nut roast, roast potatoes, seasonal greens, carrot and swede crush, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding, mushroom cream

Foodie Extras

Breakfast is available to non-residents (hungry farmers included), from 9am, with everything from Dorset Cereals to the full works (complete with locally made sausages, smoked back bacon and black pudding).

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 9am – 11am
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm (4pm Sunday)
Dinner: 6.30pm – 9.30pm

Local, local, local

Bread – Flint Owl Bakery (
Seafood – Bright & Newhaven Fish Sales (
Meat – Place Farm, Firle / J. Heath & Son, Eastbourne (
Fruit & vegetables – Grown on local allotments
Truffles – Delivered to the pub door having been rooted out by a mysterious one-eyed dog (and his owner)
Real ales – Burning Sky, Firle ( / Long Man Brewery, Litlington (

Behind the bar

Burning Sky Brewery is in the village itself and you’ll usually find something from them on one of the five hand pumps (Aurora, maybe, their punchy pale ale, or a seasonal brew), with Long Man, Harveys and King Beer, three regional players whose wares make regular appearances. There’s always a cider or perry at one of the pumps, and when the Farmers’ Bar is open there’s usually a barrel of cider on the go there too. The wine list is put together with the customer in mind – excellent options by the glass or carafe, stuff from interesting small producers, and fizz from a light and fruity Prosecco to a special cuvée Bollinger (plus Ridgeview’s sparkling white and rosé). This being the countryside, a car is a necessity for most visitors and accordingly there are some good non-alcoholic alternatives such as fresh juices from local company, Folkington’s.

Bar snacks

Marinated olives
Chorizo & thyme polenta chips
Crispy halloumi, Ram Inn sweet chilli relish

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
5 doubles £100-£200

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (not Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking
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 –

1 Inn Location - The Ram Inn


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.


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.


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.


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.


Ginger Pig, 3 Hove Street, HoveBN3 2TR

Part of Ben Mckellar's group, which includes a restaurant and a couple of foodie pubs in the city, plus a country pub in Albourne, this lively pub (it's usually busy) is a short walk from the Hove seafront.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Ram Inn



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.


Airworks Paragliding Centre, Glynde BN8 6SS

Learn to fly in the skies above Sussex with seasoned experts at premier sites in the depths of the South Downs National Park. Airworks Paragliding Centre is based at Glynde railway station, just a short drive from Firle.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Lewes Castle and Museum BN7 1YE

Climb to the top of this historic 1000-year-old castle for a breathtaking view of Sussex and the South Downs. The adjacent Barbican House is home to the Museum of Sussex Archaeology, which explains the story of Lewes from the prehistoric era to the medieval period.


Clergy House, Alfriston BN26 5TL

Near the church in pretty Alfriston is the charming oak-framed Clergy House, built around 1350 to provide shelter for parish priests following the Black Death. It was the first property to be acquired by the National Trust.


Clinton Lodge, Fletching TN22 3ST

The glorious garden at Clinton Lodge in Fletching is a riot of colour. Covering about six acres, the garden includes hedges, an Elizabethan herb garden, a wild flower meadow and many other horticultural features and flourishes.


Firle Cricket Club BN8 6NS

Firle Cricket Club dates from the mid-18th century and is thought to be one of the oldest clubs in the world. In a very English setting, just 50 metres from the front door of the Ram Inn, enjoy one of the UK’s great sporting traditions.


Cuckmere Haven, Firle Beacon, the River Ouse and the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters are just some of the cherished South Downs landmarks popular with ramblers and walkers. The South Downs Way runs a short distance from the Ram and is a spectacular way to take in this fine landscape.

There are numerous cycle routes right on the Ram’s doorstep, while around Lewes there is a great network of country lanes and some of the best off-road cycling in the south of England. Another option is to combine a pleasant half-or-full day’s cycling with a trip by train, getting on or off at any of the stops on the nearby Brighton/Hastings line.

There are numerous festivals and events around the South Downs and along the Sussex coast throughout the year. The Eastbourne Festival in April and May delivers a programme of music, visual arts and dance; Shoreham’s Summer Food and Drink Festival is in June; and in June and July there is the chance to catch a movie at Brighton’s Big Screen at the Beach.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Firle is signposted off the A27 midway between Polegate and Alfriston.


The Street,, Firle, East Sussex, BN8 6NS

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