The Dorset Arms Pub with rooms in Hartfield, East Sussex

Prices from:
£105 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Estate owned – a great story….
  • Rescued & restored to former glory
  • Oozes charm; beams abound
  • Simply yet elegantly refurbished
  • Menu brims with estate goodies
  • Tip-top local ales on tap
  • Lovely rooms in the old school house
  • Book Knole for serene pastoral views

Muddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitGreen FingersVisit a Stately Pile90 Minutes from LondonPrivate Dining

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The Dorset Arms Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4BD

The personal touch

Set back from the road in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, the distinctive white weather boarded Dorset Arms dates from 1595 and forms part of the Buckhurst Estate, the pub being named after the Sackville Earls and Dukes of Dorset, whose direct descendent Earl De La Warr is head of the Sackville family. It has been in the same family ownerships since the 16th century, except for the period 1986-2013, when Harvey’s Brewery owned the building. The current (11th) Earl De La Warr successfully bought the pub back and has restored the pub to its former glory, retaining the atmosphere of a traditional village pub, with an emphasis on offering quality food prepared from local and seasonal produce, much of it sourced from the Buckhurst Estate next door. The interior oozes period and traditional charm, so expect stripped beams, a wood floor, scrubbed tables, cushioned wall benches, and a blazing log fire in the welcoming bar. Equally country smart is the dining room, replete with heritage hues, thick beams, an eclectic mix of old dining tables and chairs, bookshelves, and family paintings and prints adorning the walls. The heated Garden Room offers valuable extra dining space and works well for shoot parties and family gatherings, plus it has retractable roof for summer alfresco dining.

Sticky fingers

The pub is family friendly and children are allowed throughout the pub; smaller portions are available.

Muddy paws

It’s a big walking area and dogs are very welcome in the bar and you’ll find a jar of dog biscuits on the bar. Your canine companion can stay overnight in the ground floor rooms for an extra £20 per dog. Outside kennel for gun dogs.


There are benches to the front of the pub and a peaceful and secluded raised garden to the side of the pub, replete with summer barbecue, bar and food serving area. In summer the Garden Room roof retracts to reveal a real sun-trap patio for alfresco dining.

What’s the Damage?
6 doubles from £105 – £120; whole cottage £600 per night

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private parking
  • Disabled access to bar & restaurant
  • Parking



The Dorset Arms Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4BD

Do Not Disturb

Expect the unexpected as the rooms come as a real surprise – they occupy a beautifully restored and refurbished cottage situated behind the pub. Accessed via a gravel drive (parking) and through the pub garden, Old School Cottage, with its brick façade and distinctive shaped and leaded windows, was originally the village school and comes complete with cottage garden and a serene views across sheep-grazed fields to the village cricket pitch. The six beautifully designed rooms are named after Sackville properties and titles and are simply, yet very tastefully refurbished, with gorgeous fabrics, fittings and furniture, big comfy beds, jugs of fresh flowers, Nespresso machines, paintings and prints from big house, and fresh, spacious bathrooms. Rooms upstairs make the most of the pastoral estate views. Why not book the whole cottage for a family gathering – there is a small living room downstairs.

Creature Comforts

Bathrobes; Milk & Honey toiletries; power showers


Telephone; Nespresso; freeview TV, free wi-fi

What’s for Breakfast?

Choice of cereals and juices; help yourself toast; freshly cooked full English breakfast

What’s the Damage?
6 doubles from £105 – £120; whole cottage £600 per night

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private parking
  • Disabled access to bar & restaurant
  • Parking


Eat & Drink

The Dorset Arms Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4BD

Mastering the Menu

Chef Simon Brazier must be one of the luckiest chefs around, blessed with so much quality produce being reared or grown on the owner’s adjacent estate, plus a brilliant network of local suppliers delivering top-notch seasonal goodies direct to the door. Venison and game from the estate shoot make up much of the winter menu, perhaps ballotine of partridge with celeriac and blue cheese pannacotta, game pie or venison burger, while year-round produce includes stunning beef from the organic pure bred Pedigree Sussex herd, free range pork, and the locally famous Buckhurst Park sausage, which was created by Earl de la Warr. Asparagus from Groombridge and local lamb are spring time favourites on Simon’s seasonal menus and daily specials, which combine pub classics with more inventive dishes. Do try the delicious Scotch egg, served with mustard mayonnaise, it’s perfect with a pint of Black Cat.

On the Menu

(Starters: £5-£12; Main Courses: £12-£25; Desserts £5-£7)

Crab on toast; chicken liver parfait with plum chutney; West Mersea Oysters; whole baked Camembert

Buckhurst burger, hand-cut chips; Buckhurst Park sausages & mash; whole lemon sole, samphire, brown shrimps, frites; venison cottage pie; chicken, bacon & avocado salad; fillet steak, frites, cherry tomatoes, garlic butter

Lemon posset; apple & berry crumble; rice pudding with blackberry compote; Taywell ice creams; local cheeses

Sunday Roasts

Always roast sirloin of rare breed Sussex beef (reared on estate), served with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy, plus another roast, perhaps chicken or estate-reared pork. Served 12 noon – 4pm.

Sunday supper menu

(4pm – 8pm)

Scotch egg; plaice goujons, tartare sauce, frites; Buckhurst bavette steak & frites; scrambled eggs, sausage & bacon; gooseberry fool

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7.30am – 10am (8am – 10am at weekends)
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm

Food all day Saturday (12 noon – 9pm) and Sunday (12 noon – 8pm)

Local, Local, Local

Sparkling Wine – Bluebell Vineyard Estates (
Real Ales – Harveys Brewery (; Black Cat Brewery (; Long Man Brewery (

Buckhurst Estate ( – free-range eggs; pork sausages; venison; game from estate shoot; rare breed beef

Sussex & Kent cheeses

Taywell Ice Cream

Behind the Bar

Expect to find tip-top Sussex ales on handpump, notably Harvey’s Best alongside micro-brewery guest ales, perhaps Long Man Old Man and Black Cat Original, brewed near Uckfield. The short, interesting wine list favours France and includes fizz from the local Bluebell Vineyard in Sussex, a select ‘Reserve du Patron’ section and a choice of four magnums.

Bar Snacks

Chalkboard on the bar: Scotch egg & mustard mayonnaise; cheese toastie; steak & horseradish sandwich

Time at the Bar

12 noon – 11pm,

What’s the Damage?
6 doubles from £105 – £120; whole cottage £600 per night

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private parking
  • Disabled access to bar & restaurant
  • 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 Dorset Arms


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.


The Coach and Horses, School Lane, Danehill RH17 7JF

Classic Victorian-era free house with Sussex ales and a farmhouse cider from just down the road, plus a menu of British favourites and interesting European-inspired options. There’s a lovely garden, too.


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.


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.


Groombridge Farm Shop, Groombridge TN3 9LY

At the top of Groombridge Hill on the A264, four miles west of Tunbridge Wells, this shop started out as “the asparagus hut” in 2001 and has grown over the years into the fully-fledged farm shop it is today. Dedicated to selling local produce, 90% of stock is sourced from farmers and producers located within Kent and Sussex.


Birchden Asparagus, Groombridge TN3 9NR

Steve Barnes has been growing and selling asparagus at Birchden Farm, Groombridge, East Sussex since 1997, having planted the original asparagus beds on the farm in 1989 and 1990. The short season runs from the last week of April until June 21.


Fish & Smith, Ticehurst TN5 7AS

What started out a few years ago with Kit Smith selling fish to his friends in the village has grown into a successful business that has established close links with local fishermen along the East Sussex coast.


Weald Smokery, Flimwell TN5 7QL

As well as its own superb smoked fish, meats and cheeses, this award-winning deli just off the A21 carries a huge range of local, British and international fine foods including pastas, chocolates and wines. There's also the Kiln Room brasserie serving light lunches, coffees and afternoon teas.


Fuller's Farm Shop, Eridge TN3 9JR

This family-run farm shop stocks a full range of locally sourced meats from Sussex beef, local lamb and free range pork all served by expert butchers with over 40 years' experience. Alongside the butchery you will find a mouthwatering array of local artisan cheeses, seasonal fruit and vegetables, plus wines and beers from the vineyards of Kent and Sussex. There is also a Fuller's Butchers shop at Nelson Road in Tunbridge Wells itself.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Dorset Arms



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.


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.


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.


High Rocks, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9JJ

Once a Neolithic settlement and an Iron Age Fort and now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the sandstone weathering, these are the highest cliffs in the Weald. The rocks are linked by a series of bridges (look out for the Devil's Oak, Giant Toad and the Fairy Glen). High Rocks is also a place for the experienced rock climber, with a high proportion of routes at 5c or above.


Bewl Water, Lamberhurst TN3 8JH

Bewl Water, near Hawkhurst, offers a multitude of things to do. There are walks and cycle rides, fishing, watersports and many family-friendly activities, plus a range of great events throughout the year.



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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Ashdown Forest TN7 4AE

This is Winnie-the-Pooh country where you can rekindle cherished memories of AA Milne's wonderful stories from childhood. Ashdown Forest, the real-life setting for Winnie-the-Pooh, represents the largest area of uncultivated land in south-east England, covering about 20 square miles.


Sheffield Park Garden, Fletching TN22 3QX

Just about everywhere you look there are breathtaking views. Four large lakes lie at the heart of the garden, laid out by Capability Brown in the 18th century, and a walk here in each season reveals something unexpected and magical.


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.


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.


Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst TN3 8JN

A picturesque 14th-century moated castle, a Victorian country house and a lovely garden, all set in a beautiful wooded estate. The castle makes a glorious backdrop and there are over 770 acres of woodland and parkland to explore.The house was built from sandstone quarried from the grounds of the old castle, and it was positioned to overlook the castle and estate. The garden was created at the same time, ensuring that all the three elements: house, garden and estate would work together.


Hever Castle & Gardens, Hever TN8 7NG

This romantic 13th-century moated castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Much of what you see today is thanks to the efforts of William Waldorf Astor, who used some of his vast fortune to restore and extend the castle in the early 20th century. Amazing attention to detail in the restoration paid off magnificently, with splendidly furnished interiors and spectacular gardens, including the famous maze.


Penshurst Place, Penshurst TN11 8DG

A family home for more than six hundred years, Penshurst Place includes Henry VIII as a former resident, and these days it belongs to Viscount De L'Isle. The Baron's Hall dates from 1341, with the adjoining State Rooms packed withtapestries, portraits, armour, porcelain and furniture. The historic formal gardens are a fantastic and rare example of Elizabethan garden design, with eleven acres of walled and yew-hedged 'rooms'.


Pashley Manor Gardens, Ticehurst TN5 7HE

Romantic English landscaping and planting framed by lovely old trees, fountains and ponds, with the unusual Grade I-Listed, timber-framed Tudor/Georgian manor house as a backdrop.


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.


Royal Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE

Tunbridge Wells is a busy town with some lovely buildings, including the Pantiles, which is a Georgian colonnade filled with shops and restaurants. There are three theatres and a music venue, as well as several lovely parks.


King John’s Nursery and Gardens, Etchingham TN19 7AZ

Set amid the oaks of the High Weald, King John’s Nursery and Gardens is one of the region’s more unusual attractions. Created out of two derelict chicken sheds, the site has been described as ‘unique, quirky and a hidden secret.’ Find it down a secluded lane and expect a stunning garden, a shop offering an eclectic range of stock and a rustic-style café.

Withyham lies at the heart of the glorious Ashdown Forest. Exploring this vast area of attractive heathland and oak and birch woodland takes you to Pooh Bridge, the Five Hundred Acre Wood and many other landmarks associated with AA Milne’s famous children’s books about Winnie-the-Pooh. Elsewhere there’s plenty of good walking to be had – including scenic stretches of the Sussex Border Path and the High Weald Landscape Trail.

Numerous routes for cyclists beckon in this rural corner of Sussex. Apart from the South Downs Way, there is the Forest Way, running between East Grinstead and Groombridge, and the Worth Way, linking Crawley and East Grinstead. These two trails have been created from disused railway lines. Deers Leap, south of East Grinstead, has 240 acres of mountain bike tracks and family friendly trails.

The South of England Show at Ardingly is one of the major attractions in the area but the showground also hosts many other events throughout the year, including Paws in the Park, a dog show for working, trained and pet dogs. There’s also the Ardingly Festival and the Sussex Country Fair at Parham House, near Storrington.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Withyham and the Dorset Arms are located on B2110 between Groombridge and Hartfield in the Ashdown Forest

By Rail: The nearest station is 3 miles away at Groombridge



Withyham , Hartfield, East Sussex, TN7 4BD

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