Crab & Lobster Pub with rooms in Sidlesham, West Sussex

Prices from:
£165 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Gorgeous location – Pagham Harbour
  • Room 4 – big views of marsh and sky
  • Menus brim with fresh fish and seafood
  • Crab Cottage, the perfect family retreat

PerkInn Places Perk

Glass of Local Sparkling Wine

Sticky FingersGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsClose to WaterGreen Fingers15 Minutes from the MotorwayPrivate Dining

Call this inn 01243 624021

Real Time Booking Available

Crab & Lobster Sidlesham, West Sussex, PO20 7NB

The personal touch

An inn has been on this spot in Sidlesham since 1036 (give or take), feeding and watering archers on their way to fight at Agincourt, traders moored up in Pagham Harbour, and doubtless a smuggler or two. The Crab & Lobster itself has been here for 350 years and it looks the part with its whitewashed exterior and classic Sussex tiles, with the period charm continuing on the inside in the form of low ceilings, flagged floors, wooden beams and open fires. But Sam and Janet Bakose have injected the place with a well-judged modernity that embraces contemporary tastes while maintaining a sense of authenticity (that goes for the smart bedrooms too). The bar is stocked with craft ales, but first-and-foremost this is a dining pub, with the open kitchen turning out impressive plates of up-to-date food based on local ingredients. And given the gorgeous setting overlooking Pagham Harbour nature reserve, close to the open sea, there’s rightly an excellent showing of fish and shellfish on the menu (something of a speciality in fact). The ‘snug’, which adjoins the main restaurant, can also be used for private dining for up to ten people.

Sticky fingers

Children are made very welcome at the Crab & Lobster with half portions off the main menu an option for smaller appetites. The cottage is a great place for overnight guests with children as one of the double beds converts into twins and you can choose to eat in the cottage kitchen with full service from the pub! There’s also a local babysitter if you want to escape for the evening.

Muddy paws

Dogs are not allowed in the pub or accommodation.


There’s a terrace and a pretty beer garden at the back of the pub, with views of the Sussex countryside.

What’s on?

The first Monday of every month is locals’ night, where a main course with beer/wine is £12.50.

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles: £165 (weekdays); £195 (weekends); Crab Cottage (for 2 people) £280 (weekdays), £300 (weekends); additional people £30 per night (maximum 4 people in cottage)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Waitrose Good Food Guide; Good Hotel Guide; AA 5 Star & 2 rosettes


Crab & Lobster Sidlesham, West Sussex, PO20 7NB

Do not disturb

The stylishly classic bedrooms are decorated in neutral tones with splashes of colour and texture from fabrics and furnishings. There are fabulous views through the cottage windows to the marshes with grazing sheep and the sea beyond (room 1 even has double-aspect windows to maximize on the vista). There are individual touches in each room – some have long, sparkling free-standing mirrors, others little dressing tables, and all have fresh flowers and are peaceful and quiet. Up in the eaves, Room 4 has wonderful views over Pagham Harbour, as well as a striking bathroom with an original wooden floor, long mirror, little armchair and huge walk-in shower (not to mention those views again). All the contemporary bathrooms are stocked with Noble Isle toiletries. Next door to the pub is the dinky Crab Cottage, a swish little self-catering option with two double bedrooms (one of which can be turned into a twin), a sitting room, fully kitted-out kitchen and a little terrace garden. If self-catering seems too much like hard work, they’ll wander over with something from the pub.

Creature comforts

Fresh flowers; glossy magazines; binoculars for bird watching; Nobe Isle toiletries (made from natural British ingredients such as herbs, seaweed and whisky).


Flatscreen TV; free WiFi; CD/DVD player; DVD library.

What’s for Breakfast?

Dorset cereals or muesli; croissants; fresh fruit; fruit yoghurts; homemade bread; full English – Sussex pork sausages, bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, tomatoes and a choice of poached, scrambled or fried eggs; smoked salmon with eggs (poached or scrambled) on a warm toasted muffin; smoked mackerel with poached egg and grilled tomato

What’s the Damage?
4 doubles: £165 (weekdays); £195 (weekends); Crab Cottage (for 2 people) £280 (weekdays), £300 (weekends); additional people £30 per night (maximum 4 people in cottage)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Waitrose Good Food Guide; Good Hotel Guide; AA 5 Star & 2 rosettes

Eat & Drink

Crab & Lobster Sidlesham, West Sussex, PO20 7NB

Mastering the menu

Given the location on Pagham Harbour, and the pub’s proximity to Selsey, seafood is unsurprisingly the main thrust of the menu, but not exclusively so, with top-notch produce from the local land making an impact too. When it comes to the fruits of the sea, though, executive chef Clyde Hollett and his team get the best stuff from ‘Crab Lady’ and ‘Robbie the Fish’, and don’t waste any time turning them into imaginative and nicely-judged dishes. There’s an ever-changing blackboard to convey the latest catch. Pull up a colourful (and comfortable) chair in the restaurant, or a banquette, and tuck into rather refined stuff such as a starter of goat’s cheese pannacotta with apple and balsamic jelly, goats’ cheese beignet, roasted fig, port and balsamic reduction (this kitchen can turn out a nifty vegetarian dish), followed by pan-fried fillet of stone bass, mussel, brown shrimp, potato and leek chowder. A classy fish and chips satisfies traditionalists and everything looks fabulous on the plate, including a meaty option of roasted rump of Southdown lamb with butternut squash purée. At lunchtime there are open sandwiches and salads such as a crayfish and Selsey crab version, and a popular set lunch menu (2 courses £22.50; 3 courses £26.50). The pub has started growing its own olives from four small trees on the terrace, and, as Sam says, that’s ‘enough to keep a family in good health for a year’. The kitchen also uses local chap Tom Monnington’s horseradish (he’s one of the few – and best – growers in the UK) and appeared with the Crab & Lobster guys on the BBC’s One Show cooking dishes with the noble root.

On the menu

Traditional fish soup with rouille and cheese biscuit
Fresh fillet of hake in a light beer batter with hand-cut chips and tartare sauce
Fish of the Day – pan-fried fillet of fish with herb new potatoes, seasonal greens, lemon caper butter or fish cream sauce
Rolled belly of pork, baby turnips and pumpkin puree, horseradish dauphinoise and apple and lavender sauce
Pan fried fillet of turbot with cauliflower puree, cocotte potatoes, spinach, steamed clams and seaweed cream sauce

Sunday roasts

They do a couple of Sunday roasts (beef and maybe pork) but people come for the fish really.

Foodies Extras

Breakfast is available to non-residents at the weekends, perhaps before a bracing walk around the nature reserve, and there’s a pretty terrace and beer garden out back with countryside views.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10am
Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm (6pm Saturday and Sunday)
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm (10pm Friday and Saturday, 9pm Sunday)

Local, local, local

Gin – Chilgrove Gin (
Sparkling wine – Tinwood Estate (
Wine & Armagnac – Georges Barbier of London ( / Berkmann Wine Cellars (
Wild mushrooms – Foraged by Martin Howard
Real ale – Langham Brewery (
Meat – Two local farms
Crab and lobster – Local boats
Ice cream and sorbets – Caroline’s Dairy (
Horseradish – The Horseradish Company (

Behind the bar

There are regional real ales at the handpumps (something from the Langham Brewery maybe), but the main passion here is for the grape. The wine list has a whopping 25 options by the glass and some stellar bins sourced from top-drawer wine merchants such as Georges Barbier of London and Berkmann Wine Cellars. If you fancy going local, try the sparkling wine from the Tinwood Estate, and if you’re after something a little stronger, there’s handcrafted gin from the good people down the road at Chilgrove.

Bar snacks

Char-grilled 6oz ribeye steak open sandwich with onion rings
Char- grilled chicken Caesar salad
Crayfish and fresh Selsey crab (open sandwich or salad)
Breaded mackerel fillet and tartare sauce (open sandwich or salad)

Time at the bar


What’s the Damage?
4 doubles: £165 (weekdays); £195 (weekends); Crab Cottage (for 2 people) £280 (weekdays), £300 (weekends); additional people £30 per night (maximum 4 people in cottage)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc Amex)
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Waitrose Good Food Guide; Good Hotel Guide; AA 5 Star & 2 rosettes

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 - Crab & Lobster


Langham Brewery, The Granary, Langham Lane, Lodsworth GU28 9BU

Langham Brewery is an award-winning independent brewery producing cask-conditioned real ale. For craft ale lovers, who want to know more about it, a guided tour of the 10 barrel steam-powered brewery is a perfect treat. Groups of all sizes are welcome, so please call the brewery to book: 01798 860861. Friday night and Saturday tours are particularly popular!


The Lamb Inn, Chichester Road, West Wittering PO20 8QA

Just a mile or so from some of the best beaches in this part of the country, the Lamb Inn is run by the same folk as the nearby Samphire. It's a relaxed sort of place, popular with outdoor types such as windsurfers, kitesurfers and dog walkers.


Tinwood Winery, Tinwood Lane, ChichesterPO18 0NE

On the edge of the South Downs National Park, Tinwood's has a swanky tasting room where you can sip on sparkling wine while gazing over the vines (after a tour of the vineyard of course).


The Town House, 65 High Street, ArundelBN18 9AJ

A charming restaurant in a Regency building with smart decor and a modern British culinary output that impresses with its winning flavour combinations and touch of refinement.


Pallants of Arundel, Arundel, BN18 9AD

This locally renowned independent specialist food shop, at the foot of the High Street in Arundel, has an impressive selection of food and wines. Proprietors, Mark Robinson and Jonathan Brantigan champion smaller producers. Whether sourced locally in Sussex or from elsewhere, shelves groan with interesting and high quality goodies. At the deli there are delicious ingredients for picnics.


Samphire, 57 Shore Road, East Wittering PO20 8DY

Not far from the beach, Samphire calls itself an English Kitchen, and given the amount of local produce and sparklingly fresh seafood on offer, that's a fair description. Chef-owner David Skinner has fabulous supply lines and makes just about everything on the premises.


Goodwood Home Farm Shop & Café, Home Farm House, Goodwood, Chichester PO18 0QF

Set at the heart of the 12,000 acre Sussex estate, Goodwood Home Farm is the largest lowland organic farm in the UK. The Farm achieved full organic status in 2004 and boasts the first dairy herd in the UK to be totally organically fed. The farm shop sells estate game, organic beef, lamb, pork and dairy including Goodwood cheese, ales and lager.


West Dean Chilli Fiesta, West Dean, Chichester PO18 0QZ

The Chilli Fiesta is an annual event in which West Dean gardens dedicates itself to three days of chilli madness. Chilli enthusiasts can watch food demos, sample chilli-based grub, and purchase plants to take home. The glasshouses in the walled gardens are filled with over 250 varieties.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - Crab & Lobster



Chichester Festival Theatre PO19 6AP

One of Britain’s most prestigious provincial theatres, and an instantly recognisable landmark in Chichester, the hexagonal-shaped, 1,300-seat theatre is one of the largest in southern England. Recently restored and attracting famous acting talent, it’s the perfect place to see top quality productions before they head to the West End. Set in large grounds, theatre lovers can bring picnics in summer or visit the new bars and restaurant.


Chichester Harbour Water Tours,PO20 7AW

There are boat trips four times a day during the high season. It's a great way to discover one of Britain's wonderful natural harbours, find out how it evolved over the centuries and to learn all about its wildlife.


Goodwood – Horse Racing and 'Festival of Speed' & ‘Revival’ PO18 0PS

The famous racecourse rises and falls around a natural amphitheatre. For one week during the summer it becomes 'Glorious Goodwood', one of the highlights of the British flat racing calendar. Close by is Goodwood Country Park, also the site of the 'Festival of Speed' and 'Revival' festivals - showcasing the world of cars ancient and modern.


West Wittering Beach PO20 8AJ

The highest water quality and excellent facilities have made West Wittering, south-west of Chichester, one of the premier Blue Flag beaches in the country. This stretch of coast is popular with wind and kite surfers and is an obvious venue for lots of exhilarating recreational activity.



Sparks Yard, Tarrant Street, Arundel BN18 9DJ

Sparks Yard General Store was opened in 2003 by Holly Heggadon; her dream was to have specialist gift shop. Now she's expanded from the ground floor of this Grade II listed Victorian warehouse, to fill the upper levels - with cook shop, home store, coffee bar and most recently Californian inspired eatery called 'The Loft' - with great burgers, cocktails and amazing roof top views of Arundel.


The Walking Stick Shop, Arundel BN18 9JH

If you’re about to set off on the South Downs or just for fun, pop into this walking stick emporium! This little shop deals solely in walking sticks, antique and new - from country walking sticks to hiking staves, classic and traditional canes to ones with exotic woods, horn, silver and gold. Hot on their history from Charlie Chaplin to Winston Churchill - a walking stick will never seem the same again!


Kims Bookshop, 28 South Street, Chichester PO19 1E

Kim's has been trading for over 40 years, with branches in both Arundel and Chichester. In both shops you'll find new, second-hand and antiquarian books on a vast range of subjects. Cards and wrapping paper are also available.


White Tie Interiors, Tarrant Street, Arundel BN18 9DG

The owners of White Tie Interiors in Arundel’s Tarrant Street have more than 20 years experience in furniture restoration. If you are looking for a piece of furniture to be restored, this is the place to visit. But pop in, too, for gift ideas and homeware, and to check out the many pieces they have transformed themselves.


Arundel Teddy Bears, Tarrant Street, Arundel BN18 9JH

Doreen and John Smith have a passion for teddy bears. Their small independent shop not only stocks bears from around the world but some of the top bear makers – including Steiff, Teddy-Hermann and Merrythought limited editions. This is the place to learn about mohair fur, hand stitched noses and tilt growlers!


Bridge Antiques, High Street, Arundel BN18 9AB

Arundel’s longest running and atmospheric antique centre is where you’ll find a mesmerising selection of quality antiques, including stalls dealing in items of French furniture, vintage clothing as well as a room dedicated to vintage cameras where they also do repairs and source old film.

Places to visit


Fishbourne Roman Palace PO19 3QR

Located near Chichester, Fishbourne Roman Palace was built in the 1st century AD, about 30 years of the Roman conquest of Britain. Visitors get the chance to see the largest collection of mosaics in situ in the country, notably the perfectly preserved dolphin mosaic in the north wing.


Uppark House, South HartingGU31 5QR

Looking at Uppark House today, it's hard to believe that this imposing Georgian building was badly damaged by fire in the 1980s. The restored National Trust house, near Petersfield, was the childhood home of HG Wells - his mother was in service here.


West Dean Gardens, West Dean, Chichester PO18 0QZ

These award-winning gardens feature a Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden, Sunken Garden, Orchards and circular walk set in beautiful parkland. Delicious homemade goodies can be eaten in the Garden's restaurant. Look out for courses and festivals including the summer Chilli Fiesta in August, celebrating over 250 chilli varieties!


Arundel Castle & Gardens BN18 9AB

One of the region's most picturesque towns, Arundel is packed with handsome buildings and historic landmarks. Top of the list here is Arundel Castle, the principal home of the Dukes of Norfolk. Within its great walls lie countless treasures, including tapestries, clocks and portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Reynolds.


Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton PO18 0EU

North of Chichester, the museum, occupies a picturesque 40-acre site in rolling downland with 50 historic buildings which have been dismantled from around the country and rebuilt for preservation.Here you can learn all about building conservation and rural life in Britain down the centuries. Among many demonstrations there is cooking in the Tudor kitchen and flour milling in the working watermill. The buildings' gardens have been specially designed with plants, layouts and animal breeds from each period.


Arundel Wetland Centre, Arundel BN18 9PB

Arundel Wetland Centre, set in ancient woodlands near the River Arun, is home to kingfishers, water voles, hundreds of British wildfowl and migrating wild birds. Visitors can enjoy 'Safaris' on quiet, electric boats everyday (weather permitting) or walk amongst ancient reed beds with well positioned hides. The Centre's cafe, is the perfect place to bird watch over lunch!

At Pagham Harbour, just a stone’s throw from the Crab and Lobster, you’ll find a world of breathtaking coastal scenery and evocative marshes and the chance to walk for miles, enjoy the views and the space and to savour the salty tang of the sea. There are also spectacular walks at picturesque West Wittering and Bosham and inland among the grassy folds and hidden villages of the South Downs.

You can cycle for miles through the magnificent countryside of West Sussex. For something close to the Crab and Lobster, however, try the cycle route from Selsey to Chichester Canal Basin. It’s about 20 miles, takes around 2 hours and follows a good mix of roads, tracks and canal towpaths.

Chichester is the place for plenty of colourful festivals and events. Every year the city hosts members of the arts world, together with a whole host of entertaining characters, who arrive to perform and create for the audience. Music, dance, literature and various arts and crafts are among the themes. One popular fixture is the Chichester Real Ale and Jazz Summer Music Festival.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

From the A27 at Chichester take the B2145 going south signposted Selsey. After entering Sidlesham take a left turn after the petrol station into Rookery Lane, or if you miss it Mill Lane, which both lead to the Crab and Lobster.


Mill Lane,, Sidlesham, West Sussex, PO20 7NB

Room rates & booking


The Independent, John Walsh, February 2014
‘…The puddings were the gastronomic equivalent of being tucked up in bed by your food-loving aunt. Could you resist chocolate, whisky and brioche bread and butter pudding with toffee custard? Neither could we. (The brioche was a brainwave – so much sweeter and fluffier than using sliced bread.) The plum tarte tatin, with plum and cinnamon compote and clotted cream ice-cream, was fabulous, intensely fruity, sublimely caramelised. And with the coffee came a plate of mini-Christmas-pudding petits fours. The whole meal was a masterclass in comfort food, constantly surprising, inventive and flavoursome. Honestly, it’s even worth sloshing through the Sussex mudflats to encounter such a multifarious treat.’

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