The Cat Inn – West Hoathly, West Sussex
A spell at The Cat will leave you purring with contentment. With its regulars chatting at the bar, its blazing fire in the huge inglenook, its hops, pewter and mix of airy and cosy dining areas, this early 16th-century, timber-framed village inn exudes character and bonhomie. One of our greatest gastropubs, its landlord Andrew Russell, previously GM at nearby Gravetye Manor, mixes professionalism with a natural flair for people. As for the food from chef Alex Jacquemin, there’s no trumpeting and no fuss and, as a result, its superb quality is all the more delightful. ‘I recommend the pie and chips,’ says Andrew. And what a steak, mushroom and ale pie it is. Leave space for a homemade pud, too. Upstairs there are four attractive, luxurious, well-equipped bedrooms, one very large, another with a view of the pretty church. In the morning, after a sophisticated breakfast worthy of Gravetye, follow the path through the churchyard for a spectacular view across the valley or spend the day visiting the many stunning gardens and vineyards nearby.
Doubles from £140
+44 (0)1342 810369; catinn.co.uk
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