Where to go for festive food in Sussex 2021

Say 'cheers' to the season with a festive meal at Tinwood Estate 

Say 'cheers' to the season with a festive meal at Tinwood Estate - Credit: Tinwood Estate

When thinking of Christmas, one of the first aspects that comes to mind is the fabulous food. From cosy pubs to chic restaurants, our editorial team have rounded up the finest places in Sussex for festive feasts...

Where to go for festive food in Angmering

Putting the finishing touches on a dish at The Lamb At Angmering

Putting the finishing touches on a dish at The Lamb At Angmering - Credit: The Lamb At Angmering

Cosy country hotels and pubs dominate the dining scene here. Gastropub The Lamb at Angmering, run by the Newbon family since 2011, has a loyal following – and with good reason. Dating to 1780, the pub has been loving refurbished and, in recent years, has added eight bedrooms, a garden terrace an orangery to the offering. The food is a celebration of Sussex produce, with foods from local farmers, bread makers, fishermen and vegetable growers woven through the menu. The festive menu is available throughout December and the kitchen is open for lunch and dinner. thelamb-angmering.com 

Next up is Angmering Manor Hotel, a country house on the high street thought to have been built by missionaries in the 16th century. Sit down to dinner in the garden-side restaurant and enjoy classic dishes with a twist. Plus, you can stay over in one of its rooms, which are befittingly decorated to convey the history and grandeur of the manor (there’s a heated indoor swimming pool to take a dip in). angmeringmanor.southcoastinns.co.uk 

The Spotted Cow, also on the high street, is another top spot for a hearty meal with pub classics such has steak and fish and chips on the menu washed down with a pint of Sussex Best Bitter from Harvey’s Brewery. Food is served from Wednesday to Sunday. spottedcowangmering.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Arundel
Tuck into a traditional meal with all the trimmings at The Norfolk Arms. There’s a seasonal menu available throughout December featuring South Downs Venison Casserole, as well as a special festive lunch (November 29 to December 23, from £19.95), dinner (November 25 to December 18, from £34.95), and New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner (from £89). norfolkarmsarundel.com 

For a cosy pub atmosphere, head to The Black Rabbit, which boasts views of Arundel Castle. Its festive celebration menu features roast turkey with all the trimmings and Venison Bourguignon. Plus, there’s a dedicated Christmas Day lunch (£70). theblackrabbitarundel.co.uk 

If you’re hosting, Pallant of Arundel has a smorgasbord of delicious treats to take home, from cheeses from local dairies to chocolates from Audrey’s Chocolates in Hove. We rate the Sussex Christmas hamper (£100), which includes Horsham Gingerbread and a bottle of red from Bolney Wine Estate (delivery from December 1). pallantofarundel.co.uk 

For delivery to your doorstep, check out Southern Dairies, which drops off fresh milk and local cream, cheese and poultry to the Arun District, Chichester, Midhurst and Worthing. southerndairies.co.uk

READ MORE: Where to buy Christmas trees in Sussex

Where to go for festive food in Battle
Sit down to a festive meal, surrounded by decorations, at the Grade II listed Abbey Hotel on the high street opposite Battle Abbey. There’s a choice of four delicious sounding options per course, with highlights including Battle Farm Reared Bronze Turkey with Black Truffle Stuffing and Abbey Cheese Board for afters. Plus, you can add-on extra mulled wine, port and other tipples if it takes your fancy. Available from November 1 to December 24, from £25 for two courses. abbeyhotelbattle.co.uk 

Over at Chequers, which prepares each and every dish from scratch, you can tuck into the Christmas menu from December 1 to 30 (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day). There’s lots to choose from, including Sussex game paté to start and Battle-reared turkey breast for main. Two courses, £26 (lunchtime only) or three courses, £30. For a nightcap, ask about the seasonal infused gins. chequersinnbattle.com 

At the family-run The Squirrel Inn North Trade Road, you can take a seat by the crackling open fire and dine from the Christmas menu, which is available from November 27 until January 4 (excluding Sundays, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day). We’re plumping for the Three Bird Multi-Roast Turkey, Pheasant & Duck and homemade Christmas pudding. From £27 for person for two courses, with a glass of fizz upon arrival. thesquirrelinn-battle.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Brighton and Hove

Have a seasonal tipple at The Ivy in The Lanes

Have a seasonal tipple at The Ivy in The Lanes - Credit: Paul Winch-Furness

The Ivy in The Lanes in Ship Street always delivers when it comes to glitz and glam, and its seasonal dishes are sure to delight. Sample the roasted pumpkin soup with truffle ricotta, twice-cooked cheese souffle and roasted chicken with mushroom sauce. It also has themed cocktails to help it all go down smoothly. theivybrighton.com 

On Christmas Day, The Salt Room in Kings Road is putting on an appropriately indulgent three-course menu for you to delve into (£120pp). Highlights include the cured and smoked salmon, the celeriac and mushroom pithivier, and the sublime traditional Christmas pudding with brandy custard. saltroom-restaurant.com

Have an extra special taste of luxury at French restaurant Petit Pois in Ship Street, which offers its festive food for one day only on December 25 (£45pp). Start with a selection of canapes, before choosing mains such as stuffed turkey with roasted garlic mash, and desserts like crumble and crème brûlée. petitpoisbrighton.co.uk 

Hove Place in First Avenue has a menu full of classics with special twists, which can be tasted either by booking in for a party or for a Christmas Day feast (£125pp). The dry aged beef rump rossini with liver paté and triple-cooked chips makes a tasty alternative to the usual trimmings. hoveplace.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Chichester
At Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie Blanc in The Square, you can tuck into a classically French Christmas party menu. There are four options per course, with a number of vegan and vegetarian options. It all sounds delicious, from the Muscat Pumpkin and Almond Soup to the Duck Leg Cassoulet. £32.50 for three courses, plus coffee and a mince pie. brasserieblanc.com 

Tinwood Estate’s Dinner Series No.20: A Christmas Special, is a four-course meal prepared by chef Mark Dunn, paired with wines from around the world. From a glass of Tinwood Magnum 2014 upon arrival through to the coffee and mince pies and everything in-between (our top choice is the escalope of turkey filled with pork, sage and lemon stuffing, plus Parma ham, with a cranberry centre, wrapped in smoked bacon) – it’s sure to be an epicurean experience. £85, tinwoodestate.com 

Bill’s Restaurant & Bar in Butter Market is launching a Christmas group dining menu from November 16, offering a drink and a three-course set menu for £29.95. With starters such as smoked salmon mousse, classic mains like pancetta wrapped turkey with all the trimmings and panettone bread and butter pudding with cinnamon-spiced vanilla custard for dessert, it’s great value. bills-website.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Hastings

Mince pies from Webbe's

Mince pies from Webbe's - Credit: Webbe's Restaurants

For a meal overlooking The Stade, head to Webbe’s Rock-a-nore. The family-run fish restaurant’s pre-Christmas menu has classics such as Traditional Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing, as well as seafood lovers’ favourites, such as the amazing sounding Seafood Board featuring squid and tiger prawn fritters, sprats, smoked mackerel paté, salt cod cakes and soused herring – and that’s just a starter! £22 for two courses. £27 for three courses. webbesrestaurants.co.uk 

Sister restaurant Wild Mushroom, in Westfield, does fine dining in a farmhouse setting. Its pre-Christmas menu is a six stage gastronomic journey, from canapés through to coffee. There’s a huge variety of dishes to choose from, including Roast Pheasant Breast Wrapped in Pancetta Chestnut Stuffing and Cider Chanterelle Cream and desserts including Sorbet Trio of Ice Creams with Almond and Orange Tuile – and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. £38 per person. There’s also a Pre Christmas Luncheon Menu priced at £27 per person. webbesrestaurants.co.uk 

For festive drinks, you could head to Ladle (George Street), an eco-conscious coffee and cocktail bar in the heart of the Old Town. It does a very indulgent sounding White Chocolate Espresso Martini, plus lots of other creative concoctions. ladlehastings.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Horsham

For a festive indulgence, the Michelin-star Restaurant Tristan is a true treat

For a festive indulgence, the Michelin Star Restaurant Tristan is a true treat - Credit: XA Digital

When it comes to choosing a picturesque pub at which to catch up with friends, Horsham has you covered. Take in snowy views of the village green over a pint at The Crown Inn in Worthing Road. Snuggle up by the fireplace, sink into one of the plush sofas and tuck into sharing platters, roasts and more – all with pretty plating. crown-inn-dialpost.co.uk 

The holidays certainly call for exclusive wining and dining and The Pass at South Lodge, in Brighton Road, delivers a luxe atmosphere ideal for special occasions. You’ll find resident chef Greg Clarke cooking up dishes such as red squash gelee with buffalo curd, roast mallard and heart ragu, red cacao with port, as well as other delectable delights. If you think you’ll be too full to move, you can top off your trip with an overnight stay. exclusive.co.uk/south-lodge 

Michelin-starred Restaurant Tristan in Stans Way serves fine dining dishes all day. The lunch menu starts at £30 for two courses, while dinner is £75 for six courses. You can add on extra courses with wine pairings. It’s also a great spot for a breakfast, with wild mushrooms on brioche toast, pancetta poached eggs with hollandaise and croque monsieur on offer. restauranttristan.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Lewes

The Pelham Arms, Lewes. Photo: Xavier Buendia

The Pelham Arms is a cosy spot for Christmas dinner - Credit: Xavier Buendia

Party with loved ones at The Rights of Man in High Street, where you can gather around a table between December 1-23. Enjoy tapas such as croquetas de jamon, gambas a la pancha and patatas aioli, or tuck into the main event festive lunch with choices such as venison, salt marsh lamb and lentil vegetable bake. rightsofmanlewes.com 

Watching a good film with the family is a rite of passage, and the Depot in Pinwell Road not only has a wide variety on, but it also caters for Christmas parties. Go for finger food or a three-course meal before or after watching. You can make it extra special by booking a private viewing. lewesdepot.org 

With its beam-filled ceiling, oak floors and bar that stretches across the area, The Pelham Arms in High Street is a snug spot for catch ups. Their roast dinners are piled high with Yorkshire pudding and the hearty pies are made from scratch too. thepelhamarms.co.uk
The Royal Oak in Station Street also hosts Christmas lunches, with two courses at £23 and three courses at £27. Chestnut stuffing, root vegetables and roasties will all sit pretty around your choice of turkey lamb shank or nut roast. There’s also a sea bass option with wine velouté, fondant potatoes and tenderstem broccoli. royaloaklewes.co.uk

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Where to go for festive food in Midhurst

The town is blessed with cosy pubs, including 17th century The Royal Oak in Oaklands Lane, which has a Winter Wonderland heated tipi from November 22. Its Christmas party menu has a choice of four dishes per course, including the traditional Sussex Turkey Ballotine with a twist (fondant potato, spiced bread puree and drunk cranberries are among the creative touches). £25 for two courses or £30 for three courses. royaloakmidhurst.co.uk 

The Christmas menu at The Greyhound, on the outskirts of town, sounds equally yummy – anyone for confit duck in a berry sauce? From December 1-24. £20 for two courses or £25 for three courses. thegreyhoundpub.com If you’re hosting this year, you can pick up pretty much everything you need for a nourishing meal from Cowdray Farm Shop & Café. Its free-range Bronze Turkeys from Great Garnetts in Essex are available to order now, as are its geese and in-house produced Three Bird Roasts. cowdray.co.uk

Madeleine’s Kitchen in North Street does a mean deli sandwich but is also a great place to go for your cheeses. It stocks some absolute belters, such as Colston Bassett Stilton and Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, madeleineskitchen.co.uk For festive tipples, The Crafty Pint Shop in West Street offers beers, ciders, wines and spirits from small producers with lots of local brands, such as Langhams, Ballards, Firebird, Harveys and Long Man Breweries, in the spotlight. craftypintshop.co.uk

Where to go for festive food in Petworth

Take a peek inside Augustus Brandt

Take a peek inside Augustus Brandt - Credit: Augustus Brandt

Snuggle up beside the roaring fire for a cosy meal at The Angel Inn. British heritage dishes and elevated takes on hearty classics rule the roost – we’ll take the Dexter Steak & Sussex Ale followed by the Petworth Apple & Blackberry Crumble, please. angelinnpetworth.co.uk 

At HG Café – it has a new location at Newlands House Gallery – you can say ‘cheers’ to 2022 with a glass of prosecco or, depending on the kind of year you’ve had, a bottle of Nyetimber. There’s also a range of lunches, light bites and hot drinks available at this covered, al fresco space with heaters.

At The Hungry Guest Artisan Food Shop, in Middle Street, you can load up on delicious fresh foods from small scale growers and producers. It’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this month and it’s easy to understand why the concept is so popular, with its mouthwatering selection of artisan goodies. In the cheese room there are lots of different cheeses vying for a place on your platter – many of which are produced in Sussex. There’s also a butchery offering seasonal, organic and free-range meats – best sellers at this time of year are the pigs in blankets and rolled turkey breast wrapped in bacon. thehungryguest.com

Where to go for festive food in Rye

Giant’s Fireplace Bar at The Mermaid Inn

Giant’s Fireplace Bar at The Mermaid Inn - Credit: The Mermaid Inn

The team at The Ship Inn in The Strand, go all-out for Christmas with twinkling trees, roaring fires and bubbles on ice. The festive menus shine a light on seasonal, local ingredients and champion independent producers. The starters and mains look top notch but we especially like the sound of the creative desserts, from the Balfour Brut Rosé sparkling wine jelly with winter berries and Chantilly cream to the Christmas pudding sundae drizzled with chocolate sauce. £30 for three courses, from November 23 to December 24. There’s also a dedicated Christmas Day menu and five-course New Year’s Eve tasting menu. theshipinnrye.com 

The family-friendly Webbe’s at The Fish Café in Tower Street is a crowdpleaser with its open plan kitchen giving you a frontrow seat to all the action. Its pre-Christmas menu (available at lunch and dinner) has a delectable line-up, including Local Sourced Game Bird Terrine with Tangy Cumberland Sauce for starter and Sussex Cheese with Quince Jelly for dessert. £27 per person. webbesrestaurants.co.uk 

Follow in the footsteps of the famous Hawkhurst Gang by heading to the historic The Mermaid Inn, where you can stop for drinks in the cosy Giant’s Fireplace Bar, with its huge log fireplace. mermaidinn.com

Where to go for festive food in Worthing

Hake at Kenny Tutt's restaurant Pitch

Hake at Kenny Tutt's restaurant Pitch - Credit: Will Barber

Taste the exciting options the town has to offer besides fish and chips by the sea. For a formal affair, Pitch by MasterChef champion Kenny Tutt in Warwick Street offers a seasonal menu filled with cosy comforting dishes. The roast dinners have a choice of meats, topped off with roasties, glazed carrots, creamed leeks and red wine gravy. For a taste of romance this Christmas, book in for a three-course roast for two with a bottle of house wine (£80). pitchrestaurant.co.uk 

A taste of Italy awaits at Brio Restaurant in Marine Parade, which is cooking up a warming Christmas Day feast (£59.95 for three courses). Choose wintery parsnip and chestnut soup or parmigiano di melazane for starters, and follow it up with turkey, beef or even seabass with prawns. Finish off the meal with caramel panna cotta or homemade apple strudel filled with cinnamon and sultanas. briorestaurant.co.uk