The Halfway Bridge – Lodsworth, West Sussex
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If you love the Crab & Lobster at Sidlesham (and who doesn’t?), then make tracks for its younger sibling in the South Downs National Park. Near Petworth, it stands back from the graceful, swooping A272, the only road we know to have had a book written about it: Ode to a Road, by Pieter Boogaart. Like the Crab & Lobster, the 250-year-old old inn has been immaculately restored by owners Sam and Janet Bakose, with seven exceptional bedrooms fashioned from a beamed stable block that overlooks a sunny lawn, with woods (watch out for deer) to the rear. The three standard rooms are just as alluring as the more expensive ones, of which No 5 is particularly lovely, with its part-timber, part-brick back wall. Back at the handsome inn, superior pub grub is served in a choice of intimate nooks that circle the central bar, with exposed brick walls, newly-revealed parquet floors, open fires and woodburners. Put simply, Sam and Janet have what it takes: good taste mixed with warmth, common sense and an assured, professional touch.
Doubles from £150
+44 (0)1798 861281; halfwaybridge.co.uk