The Bell Inn Pub with rooms in Ticehurst, East Sussex

Prices from:
£75 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Thriving inn with the WOW factor
  • 16th-century charm & eclectic design
  • Menus champion local suppliers
  • Quirky, hugely individual bedrooms
  • Amazing lodges; garden & fire pit
  • Love Nest –  a romantic hideaway

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingCandlelitClose to WaterGreen FingersVisit a Stately Pile90 Minutes from LondonPrivate Dining

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Real Time Booking Available
Overview

The Bell Inn Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7AS

The personal touch

Having been forced to close in 2008, the fortunes of the rambling 16th-century Bell Inn were fully restored in 2014 following a painstaking renovation by local businessman Richard Upton, who successfully reinvented the old coaching inn and it now thrives as a cracking community hub, a dining destination and as a quirky and fun place to stay. The unassuming brick façade hides a splendid beamed interior and the whole place oozes historic charm, with original sagging beams, glowing logs in the huge inglenook, flickering candles on old dining tables, and an impressive collection of modern art. Expect to be wowed by the eclectic design and décor, as there’s much to catch the eye – look out for the bowler hat lampshades, the floor-to-ceiling stack of books, the 30’s-style suitcases and safari chairs, the stuffed squirrel on a rocking chair, the vintage cash tills and typewriter, and the witty anecdotes on the walls – very quirky and utterly charming in every way. Gents take note – the urinals are French Horns…! Equally special are the dining room (red walls; gilt framed paintings), the cosy snug room, replete with deep sofas, log fire, and some interesting artwork, and the unique ‘Stable with a Table’ function room with its huge sunken oak dining table designed for banquet-style feasting.

Sticky fingers

Children are welcome throughout the pub and can be accommodated overnight; there are sofa beds in the suite and lodge rooms, and rollaway beds and cots are available. Between the Lines (Lodge) is perfect for a family stay with a mezzanine, replete with two day beds, games and a vinyl collection.

Muddy paws

Dogs are allowed in the bar and overnight in some of the bedrooms.

Alfresco

There’s a secluded courtyard garden with colourful flower and herb borders, trees and brollies for shade, and rustic tables and chairs – perfect for summer alfresco sipping. Lodges and the Love Nest have their own private garden and rustic benches around a communal fire pit.

What’s on?

What’s not on at the Bell – they love organising events and the ‘Stable with a Table’ is a great little venue for live music, lively debates, brilliant comedy nights, popular monthly film nights (with one-pot supper), talks and book signings, wine tastings and supplier dinners, and village fairs. It’s very much the heart of the community.

What’s the Damage?

7 doubles/twin & 4 lodges £75-£295

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining & function room
  • Parking
Sleep

The Bell Inn Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7AS

Do not disturb

The eleven rustic-chic rooms are hugely individual and have been designed to wow and to make you smile, each has a beautifully dressed Somnus bed, a silver birch trunk rising from planked floors in the rooms above the bar (a nod to the meaning of Ticehurst’s name – the wooded hill where goats graze), rich fabrics, random and quirky light features, fat radiators, flat-screen TVs in gilt picture frames, even an open fire and the odd dentist’s chair. Bathrooms are in jazzy, funky fashion, with vibrant upside-down tiles, luxury soaps and lotions, and some have huge copper tubs to sink into with a glass of bubbly. Out back and set in a whimsical, flower-festooned garden with a giant fire pit are three truly unique shingle-clad lodges (Pretty Vacant; Between the Lines; Pour L’Amour) and the circular Love Nest (with private roof terrace), all perfect for that very special romantic night away. Think open fires or cosy wood-burning stoves, deep tubs and walk-in showers, and a huge dose of quirk.

Creature comforts

Somnus mattresses; Arran Aromatics toiletries; fresh coffee; homemade cake or cookies; Lodges have mini bars, open fires & a communal terrace with fire pit; personal welcome letter

Gadgets

Smart TV; retro telephone; free wi-fi

What’s for Breakfast?

Eggs Benedict Royale; full English breakfast

Pampering

Unwind and de-stress with relaxing in-room treatments from Shhh Therapy. Qualified therapists provide bespoke body massages, Ko bi do facials using natural organic products, and a full spa-style treatment.

Weddings

Licensed for weddings, the Bell is no ordinary wedding venue – like the building, with its funky function room and quirky Love Nest lodge, be sure to expect something uniquely different.

What’s the Damage?

7 doubles/twin & 4 lodges £75-£295

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining & function room
  • Parking
Eat & Drink

The Bell Inn Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7AS

Mastering the menu

The short modern menu evolves with the seasons and celebrates the excellent local artisan producers that supply the pub, with the key producers listed with some interesting notes about each one. It not only underlines how community focused the Bell is but reveals the passion in the kitchen for sourcing quality ingredients from surrounding farms and literally next door – Fish & Smith (Fish Shed at the Bell) and the Lighthouse Bakery – and supporting small local businesses. Dishes under £8 can be served as a starter or you can order two for a light meal.

On the menu

(Starters: £5-£12; Main Courses: £13-£23)

Guinea fowl & ham hock terrine, apple chutney; scallops, piquillo pepper, sweet corn, black pudding; prawn & crab kedgeree, egg yolk cream, chilli oil

Duck breast, celeriac, pancetta, white cabbage; Coopers Farm pork chop, lentils, bacon & onion; Harvey’s ale battered cod, chips, mushy peas, tartare sauce; wild mushroom macaroni

Chocolate mousse; sticky toffee pudding; Stonegate local cheese board

Sunday roasts

Roast pork and beef every Sunday

Time to eat

Breakfast: 7.30am – 9.30am (8am-10am Saturday & Sunday)
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm (9pm Sunday)

Local, local, local

Lighthouse Bakery (next door – www.lighthousebakery.co.uk)
Fish – Fish & Smith (Fish Shed at the Bell – see Food Trail);
Paul Hodges Fish, Rye
Game – Newington Estate, Ticehurst
Eggs – Spur Farm Eggs, Witherenden Hill
Pork – Coopers Farm, (www.coopersfarmstonegate.co.uk)
Cheeses – Stonegate Dairy (www.traditionalcheesedairy.co.uk); Alsop & Walker (www.alsopandwalker.co.uk)
Ice cream – Boozy Udders, Lamberhurst (www.boozyudders.co.uk)
Meat – Gunne Butchers, Bexhill (www.gunnebutchers.co.uk)
Chapel Down Vineyard, Tenterden (see Food Trail)

Behind the bar

Ale-lovers with find a cracking pint of Harvey’s Sussex on tap, alongside two micro-brewery beers, perhaps Long Man Long Blonde, brewed at Litlington on the South Downs, or Old Dairy Red Top brewed in nearby Tenterden. The eclectic global list of wines (with good tasting notes) offers a good choice of fizz, including three sparkling wines from Chapel Down Wines near Tenterden, and 10 by the glass. You’ll also find a dozen malt whiskies and a good choice of boutique gins to choose from.

Bar snacks

(£3-£7)

Monroyo Serano ham; whitebait, lime & chive mayonnaise; smoked Hastings prawns & aioli; Lighthouse Bakery breads, rapeseed oil & balsamic

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?

7 doubles/twin & 4 lodges £75-£295

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining & function room
  • 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 – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Bell Inn

2

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.

4

The Kentish Hare, Bidborough TN3 0XB

Owned by Sir Keith and Lady Maureen Mills, this pub is run by celebrity sibling chefs Chris and James Tanner, who made their name with businesses in Devon and Cornwall. From the open kitchen, head chef Sam Spratt serves up modern British dishes using Kentish produce.

5

Anno Gin, Marden TN12 9QJ

Set up by PhD research and development chemists Andy Reason and Norman Lewis, this artisan gin distillery produces Anno Kent Dry Gin in a small batch copper pot still called Patience, using a blend of traditional botanicals with local hops, lavender from Downderry Nursery, samphire from Romney Marsh and wild flowers. Time a visit for a distillery tour and tutored tasting.

6

Old Dairy Brewery, Station Road, Tenterden TN30 6HE

'Fine ales from the garden of England' is the tagline for this exceptional brewery housed inside two World War II Nissen buildings just off the High Street. As well a core range of beers such as Gold Top and Copper Top, there are seasonal ales and specials such as AK 1911 brewed to a century-old Kentish recipe. The Brewery shop is open Monday to Saturday and brewery tours run on Thursdays and Saturdays.

7

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.

8

Lighthouse Bakery, Bodiam TN32 5RD

Overlooking Bodiam Castle, this artisan bakery and school runs a number of regular workshops and classes and it also has a shop on the High Street in Ticehurst - next door to The Bell.

9

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.

10

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.

11

Chapel Down Vineyard, Smallhythe, Tenterden TN30 7NG

With celebrity supporters, including Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, Chapel Down is widely regarded as England’s leading wine producer, with award-winning still wines, sparkling wines and craft beers produced amongst the 22 acres of vineyards at Tenterden. The winery and restaurant is open all year round, with guided tours offered between April and November.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Bell 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

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.

4

Hawkhurst Fish Farm, TN18 4RT

On the borders of Kent and East Sussex and a stone's throw from the Queens Inn, this is a perfect location for keen anglers. There are four main angling lakes and three junior course ponds. Expect carp, tench and golden orfe - among other fish.

5

Kino Digital Cinema, Hawkhurst TN18 4ET

Opposite The Colonnade, the Kino Digital Cinema offers a great boutique entertainment venue with HD projection and sound. Kino is the first purely digital cinema in the UK.

6

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.

26

Dale Hill Golf Club, Ticehurst TN5 7DQ

Situated in the splendid acres of the High Weald, with magnificent panoramic views, Dale Hill has not one but two superb 18-hole golf courses. One of the courses has been described by Ian Woosnam as challenging enough to test the pros yet accessible enough to be enjoyed by amateurs. There’s also a driving range, two putting greens, a practice bunker and a fleet of 40 electric buggies for hire.

27

Trekking with llamas, Cousley Wood, Wadhurst TN5 6QX

It may sound slightly surreal but you really can enjoy a llama adventure in the middle of the East Sussex countryside. There’s a range of llama-trekking options to enjoy, including various themed walks with cream tea or, for a special occasion, champagne and chocolates.

28

Bushcraft Wilderness

Founded in 1983 by well-known bushcraft expert Ray Mears, Woodlore offers in-depth courses on a wide range of bushcraft and survival subjects. Discover a very different world here.

Shopping

14

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.

16

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

Lewes BN7 2DE

Why not browse the antique shops of the Cliffe or take a rewarding stroll in search of this historic old town's many independent retailers and quaint buildings. The atmosphere here is bustling and friendly and there are plenty of opportunities for a welcome coffee break.

19

Peter Jenner, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TE

Selling fine handmade jewellery made by a father-and-son team, Peter and Guy Jenner. You can watch them at work, commission something special, or simply check-out the hand-picked selection of jewellery by other designers available in the shop.

22

West End House Gallery, Smarden TN27 8QB

West End House is located in the heart of beautiful, historic Smarden. Original artworks on show include paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, glass and jewellery by a wide range of renowned artists and makers.

23

Smallhythe Gallery, Smallhythe, Tenterden TN30 7NB

An exciting gallery exhibiting work by local contemporary artists, with an emphasis on landscape and abstract work. There are also classes in art and creative writing, plus workshops in painting, drawing, poetry and writing for adults and children.

24

The Old Haberdashery, Ticehurst TN5 7AS

Quirky and delightful, the Old Haberdashery was established by Sonia Boriczewski whose guiding passion is recycling and reusing all manner of fascinating objects. Sonia has been described as a peddler of vintage homwares and a purveyor of artisan crafts.

25

Artichoke Gallery, Ticehurst TN5 7AD

Expect an eclectic range of small creative businesses; there are quarterly exhibitions of ceramics, jewellery, painting and sculpture from some of Britain’s leading artists and artisans.

Places to visit

7

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.

8

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.

9

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.

10

Ashdown Forest RH18 5JP

Ashdown Forest is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. It also contains Old Lodge Nature Reserve and the Weir Wood Reservoir. Rather different from its immediate surroundings, it was originally created for the hunting of deer and is now common land. It has heathland and woodland habitats, home to a wide variety of wildlife. Many visitors come to the Forest in search of a very famous bear and his friends - many of the places in Winnie-the-Pooh were based on real locations in the Forest. You can explore the 100 Acre Wood and have a game on Poohsticks Bridge.

11

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Sissinghurst TN17 2AB

Not far from Cranbrook, Sissinghurst's wonderful garden is the enduring legacy of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson who laboured long and hard to complete this horticultural work of art. There's a lot to see at Sissinghurst, including Vita's tower writing room and nearby lakes and woodland.

12

Great Dixter House & Gardens, Northiam TN31 6PH

Between Hawkhurst and Rye, Great Dixter was for many years the much-loved home of the renowned gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd who spent many years helping to establish one of the most exciting, colourful and constantly changing gardens of modern times. One of Great Dixter’s most striking features is the magnificent Great Hall, the largest surviving timber-framed hall in the country.

21

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.

29

Bedgebury Pinetum, Goudhurst TN5 7QJ

Managed by the Forestry Commission, Bedgebury Pinetum extends to 350 acres of Wealden countryside. The collection was started in the 1840s, its main function ‘to further our understanding of trees and, specifically, conifers.

30

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.

Walking

www.visitkent.co.uk
www.eastsussex.gov.uk
www.visit1066country.com

Ashdown Forest provides 2,500 acres of open heathland criss-crossed with pathways and bridleways. The Weald Way runs across Kent and Sussex crossing the chalk ridges of the North and South Downs and through the Weald, stretching almost 80 miles (126.8km). The Sussex Border Path runs along the county borders of Kent, West Sussex and East Sussex, over the South Downs towards East Grinstead, passing south of Royal Tunbridge Wells to Bewl Water and Hawkhurst, finishing in Rye. The North Downs Way and South Downs Way are also within easy reach. Miles of footpaths and a variety of waymarked long distance routes make the area ideal for walkers.

Cycling

www.visitkent.co.uk
www.eastsussex.gov.uk
www.visit1066country.com

The two-wheeled action available ranges from fast-paced mountain biking to family friendly routes. You can hire bikes at Bedgebury National Pinetum, where there are tracks for all levels of ability. Bewl Water is great for rough, muddy riding round the lakeside. The Royal Military Canal, near Rye, is a favourite destination for many families, with long traffic-free sections making it safe and user-friendly. The Cuckoo Trail is another popular choice, running for 14 miles through East Sussex, from Hampden Park to Heathfield.

Events

www.battlefestival.co.uk
www.visit1066country.com

One of the region’s most prestigious annual events is the Battle Arts and Music Festival. The Battle of Hastings Re-Enactment is a colourful, two-day event with living-history demonstrations, culminating in a re-enactment of the famous battle of 1066.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Beside B2099 3 miles west of Flimwell and A21 Tunbridge Wells to Hastings road. The Bell is located in the village centre.

By Train: Stonegate (2.3 miles) and Wadhurst (3.6 miles) railway stations (1 hour from London Charing Cross) are a short taxi ride away

Address:

High Street, Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7AS

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