Location:Firle, East Sussex, South Downs National ParkSee map here
More info:Each room has two prices, one from Monday to Thursday and the other for Friday Saturday and Sunday nights.
Description of Firle pub with B&B, South Downs, England
Located in the historic village of Firle (part of the Firle Estate), the surrounding area of outstanding natural beauty and the South Downs National Park is a perfect base for exploring the breath taking countryside.
Firle and its estate has a rich and noble history, the family who still lives on and manages the land are descended from a Norman Baron who arrived in 1066 and came to prominence under Sir John Gage (1479-1556).
In fact, the greengage is named after Sir William Gage, who lived on the Firle Estate, as he is credited with introducing it to Great Britain from 1724–25 when he managed to secure a supply from France.
Firle has housed many notable residents. Writer Virginia Woolf relocated here in 1910 renting and renaming a property to Little Talland House. Pointz Hall, which features in her novel Between the Acts, is speculated to be based on Firle Place. The Bloomsbury Group and its affiliates also have strong ties with the area; Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their son Quentin Bell are all buried in the churchyard of St. Peter’s. Seventeen times James Bond actor over, Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn (who starred as Q) was a resident when he passed away in 1999.
Rooms, food and facilities
We're lucky to offer four beautifully decorated rooms, all different shapes and styles and finished with a mixture of contemporary furniture and local antiques.
All rooms have Egyptian cotton on the beds, duck down duvets Egyptian cotton towels, flat screen TV and DVD player.
Breakfast is sourced as locally as possible, eggs from the village, bacon from up the road and locally made sausages.
Beacon View Top floor under the eaves, large room with separate large bathroom, views across the village to the Downs, king size iron bed, space for an extra bed, oak and slate bathroom with double ended bath and shower.
Bloomsbury First floor, double aspect with views across the village and up to the Downs, super king size or twin beds, oak and mahogany furniture, large roll top bath in the room, en suite toilet.
Beanstalk First floor, large sash window overlooking country lane, large room, super king size bed or twin, oak furniture, private bathroom with bath and shower.
Bo-Peep First floor, large sash window overlooking country lane, large room, king size iron bed, private bathroom with roll top bath and shower. Beanstalk First floor, large sash window overlooking country lane, large room, super king size bed or twin, oak furniture, private bathroom with bath and shower.
Bo-Peep First floor, large sash window overlooking country lane, large room, king size iron bed, private bathroom with roll top bath and shower.
20-minute walk/5 minute drive from Glynde Train Station.
125 bus runs from Lewes to Firle. 15 minutes taxi ride from Lewes to Firle.
There is bike storage at the Inn, and a bike hire company in Alfriston are happy to collect bikes from us in Firle.
Many people walk along the South Downs Way.
We also have a car park.
Responsible tourism: Firle pub with B&B, South Downs, England
Sourcing food locally is paramount, in fact I know pretty much all the local farmers. I meet many of our producers personally and seek out small suppliers and family run businesses.
To name a few, we stock Ridge View wines, which are produced in Ditchling, Sussex as well as Harvey’s of Lewes. I love quality produce and aim to produce a seasonal menu, our fish is from Shoreham, and our game is from the Firle Estate. Much of our meat is from Redlands Farm in Horam who produce their own meat on the farm. We get lamb from Beddingham and we sometimes get half a bullock from Firle Place Farm just adjacent to the Inn which features on the menu. I use local small growers and the allotments that grow some tasty speciality produce, including yellow courgettes. Our B&B guests are often treated to Debbie’s (our chambermaid) duck eggs! There is an orchard in the property where we grow greengages, plums and apples; the fruit is used in specials and seasonal dishes on our menu.
We’ve got loads of different recycling bins including glass, cardboard, paper and plastic, we even recycle our cooking oil. We’ve got a compost heap in the garden that we use on our herb patch where we grow a huge range including mint for Pimms in the summer.
The building is over 500 years old and is a Grade 1 listed conservation area; it is constructed from flint and wood originally from the area. We also use a painter and decorator local to Firle who uses old school methods which help is preserve the charm of the pub and B&B.
Firle has a fascinating community. In addition to the traditional farming community of landowners and workers there is also a prominent artist movement in Firle. This has emerged as a result of Lord Gage’s desire to promote a residential community on the 1000-acre plus estate, as opposed to people using houses a weekend rest stops, as a result all the properties bar the 11 that are privately owned, are rented.
Therefore the village is inhabited by a range of artists, sculptors and potters. Carola Van Dyck creates some amazing pieces – including one of the pub. Her work is often created out of patchwork including animal heads and cushions; she also paints houses and the local Sussex landscape. The Artwave Festival is renowned in Firle, and there are numerous open houses including Straight Six Studios, The Dutch House, Little Talland, the pub also hosts exhibitions twice a year.
Fundraising for the church happens frequently, we provide a free venue for music events. Firle Village Fete is held annually in August and is a quintessentially British affair, complete with White Elephant Stall, Coconut Shy, Spin the Bottle, Nail in a Bale, the rather eccentric and hilarious Sheep Racing, Dog Show, Tombola, Catch a rat, Hoopla, Raffle, Refreshments to name but a few!
Firle Bonfire Society is gaining momentum year on year, every year in October a torch lit procession and firework display is held in Firle, as well as visits to other Sussex Bonfire Celebrations. The one in Firle coincides with the first hunt of the season, so during the day the pub is packed out with huntsmen and horses and hounds outside giving the day an amazing atmosphere.
Firle Cricket Club is actually one of the world’s oldest clubs forming in 1758. Their grounds are superbly picturesque and sited just behind the pub in Firle Place Park with a rustic pavilion & huge oak trees, They regularly use the pub and many of our customers wander over to the ground to enjoy their pint whilst watching the game.
The B&B is situated right on the chalk downland, boasting some stunning walks and views.
There is a huge array of wildlife, besides the resident farm animals; there are tiny little shrews, squirrels, pheasants (who feature on our menu!), sparrow hawks, woodpeckers and a variety of songbirds who are attracted to the feeders we put out. Much to the farmers dislike, there are also hundreds of rabbits and a healthy population of badgers in the area. The occasional deer is spotted in the woods too.
The garden is bursting with plants, old roses, honeysuckle, alliums and sweet peas, which attract lots of insects including a population of ladybirds who hibernate in the building over winter. In addition to our flowering plants, there are a number of British species of trees, beech, two protected yew trees which are both more than 100 years old and bizarrely a small oak tree which has grown steadily in spite of the lack of top soil and quantity of chalk.
In terms of exploring the landscape, I’d highly recommend the four and half mile walk from Firle to Charleston Farmhouse and back via Firle Place. The Farmhouse has a coffee shop, which serves homemade cakes, and the adjoining shop sells some really unusual books and Bloomsbury group memorabilia.
The South Downs Way offers lovely walk through the farmed landscape, you can also spot various gliders in addition to the extensive view from the top of the 217 metres high Firle Beacon.