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 a 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. 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.
Doubles from £125
+44 (0)1342 810369; catinn.co.uk
See: The Priest House in the village and visit Wakehurst Place (Kew in the Country) which is 5 minutes away by car. Standen and Bluebell Railway are close by too.
Eat: Our Steak, Mushroom and Ale Pie – a proper homemade pie, just how it should be.
Buy: Visit Bluebell Vineyard nearby and return laden with delicious sparkling wine!
WIN – A 2-night stay for you and a guest with our new Hotel of the Week competition (find out more here)
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