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Ye Olde Smugglers Inn (Alfriston, East Sussex)

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Address: Waterloo Square, Alfriston, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 5UE

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      05.03.2012 19:12
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      A nice quaint inn located in a good area for sightseeing.

      ~~YE OLDE SMUGGLERS INNE, ALFRISTON~~

      I recently spent a weekend in the charming village of Alfriston, in East Sussex. I went with my husband, son and his fiancée and we had arranged to meet my son's fiancée's parents there later in the afternoon. As they hail from Sussex they didn't have far to travel.
      We all stayed at The Star in Alfriston but during our stay we wanted to have a good look around this lovely old village. Some of our party have visited this village several times but still wanted to take another look around.

      After seeing some of the sites the four of us were hungry. The trouble was it was a bit late for lunch and we knew if we ate too much then we wouldn't enjoy our dinner. All we really wanted was a snack but, looking at most menus in nearby places, it seemed that a sandwich would be served with soup or chips and be quite a large meal, and costly.

      We came upon Ye Olde Smugglers Inn. A quick look at the board outside informed us that meals and snacks were served all day and the prices seemed reasonable.

      Ye Olde Smugglers Inn dates back to the year 1385. When smuggling was rife in coastal areas the inn was owned by Stanton Collins and was made into a den for 'real' smugglers.

      ~~AMBIENCE~~

      I loved the look of the place, both inside and out; old, with plenty of character. The interior consisted of oak beams, uneven stone flagged floors with an oak step here and there. This was definitely a place to 'watch your step! An inglenook fireplace glowed invitingly.

      The tables were of differing styles and sizes; this place look cosy with its leather sofas, barstools, wooden tables and chairs; snug and as if nothing had been contrived but more likely, gradually evolved.

      It was busier than the other bar we had just stepped into, which seemed a good sign that the food was of a good standard, or at least that often seems to be the case, in my opinion.

      There were a couple of pushchairs in here and so a child or two. All guests seemed to be made welcome.
      As we sat at our table when two men walked out from the back of the pub somewhere, carrying muddy working type boots. I thought they were workmen. And shortly after a young couple walked into the pub holding muddy boots, carefully away from other patrons of the inn, as they made their way through. Of course, this is an area of natural beauty and popular with walkers. These walkers were politely not walking though the inn with muddy boots on their feet.

      A more modern part of this inn is provided by the conservatory area.

      ~~MENU~~

      An interesting pub menu is available here with a good choice of sandwiches, snacks or even three course meals.

      Starters consist of soup of the day served with crusty bread (£4.75), Brussels pate served with red onion chutney and toast (£4.95), breaded chicken goujons served with sour cream and chive dip and pitta bread (£5.50) to a sharing platter for £12.50.

      For main meals there is sirloin steak (£16.50), gourmet sausage and mash (£10.50) and several other tasty sounding dishes, including fish and chips, steak, mushroom and ale pie and a chicken curry.

      *Vegetarian tagliatelle (£8.95) is served with garlic bread. I would have liked to see more vegetarian options but there are dishes of the day.

      Several side dishes are available; costing £2.50 to £4.50 which I don't think is bad at all.

      Home-made desserts are available but these change frequently so are posted on a board. Tea and various coffees and hot chocolate are always available.

      Ye Olde Smugglers Inn is proud of its selection of beers and boasts of some local brews.

      ~~WHAT WE ORDERED~~

      I was at first tempted by the cream teas offered and did see some being brought out to other diners. They did indeed look scrumptious but I decided instead to choose a sandwich after looking at the black board located near to the bar.

      My son and his fiancée both chose tuna mayonnaise with sweet corn. I asked if I could have tuna mayonnaise without the sweet corn as this wasn't an option on the board; it was prepared for me. My husband chose prawn salad sandwiches.

      We ordered two pints of lager, a J2O, and tea for myself.

      The sandwiches took quite a long time to come but I could see why when they were finally brought out to us. They were all served at the same time and were well presented. Each large plate had sandwiches (choose between wholemeal or white bread) and cut into quartered triangles. They were bursting with their fillings.

      Also on the plate was a decent sized salad garnish with balsamic vinegar upon it and a good portion of plain crisps. A small fork was supplied for the salad.

      We should have shared this food and ordered two servings not four. This was enough for a lunch and it wasn't too long until dinner time. My husband ate most of his and commented that it was delicious. My son, as usual, ate all of his and finished off my crisps as well as his own. Us two ladies were pleased to see the other two members of our party walk in and we quickly advised them not to order sandwiches if they weren't too hungry as they could share ours. I was relived to give half of my sandwich over and, with their daughter's uneaten salad and crisps they had an ample snack. Waste not, want not, I often say! They ordered drinks.

      The tea came out on a tray with white teapot, milk jug and sugar. I managed to get two decent cups out of this.

      ~~VALUE~~

      I thought the price of the food and drinks was good value, judging by the quality and quantity of it. It tasted fresh and was quite delicious. The sandwiches ranged in price from £3.30 to £4.95 each but it wasn't just a sandwich but a lunch.

      ~~OUTSIDE AREAS~~

      The garden is lovely with its patio area and lawns furnished with tables and chairs. This would, I expect, be a popular place to sit and have a drink in the summer; I'll do this!

      ~~TOILETS~~

      The toilets were accessed by a one step, I seem to remember. The toilets were clean and well enough equipped. I was amused to see a sign in the toilet cubicle asking that customers didn't use too much toilet paper as the drains were very old and struggled to cope.

      ~~DISABLED ACCESS~~

      I couldn't find any information on the website relating to disabled visitors. Many inns and hotels in this area seem to provide wooden movable ramps for wheelchair access. I would suggest enquiring first, if thinking of visiting, what assistance is available.

      For those with slight to moderate mobility challenges I don't think any access problems I don't think a visit to the pub or garden areas would pose too much of a problem but I don't think it would be the most suitable in terms of accommodation.

      Inside the pub the floor is slightly uneven but the outdoor areas are more manageable as is the conservatory.

      ~~ ACCOMMODATION ~~

      I am reviewing Ye Olde Smugglers Inn as a pub/bar as I haven't stayed there. But I did see that it offered rooms on a bed and breakfast basis and so I thought it might be useful to mention briefly what I do know about what is on offer in this respect.

      I think this is place could be worth considering for a short stay in this area although I admit it wouldn't be my personal choice. I had a look at the website and the rooms do look lovely but I don't think they are en-suite. I like my creature comforts nowadays and would hate to share a bathroom with strangers.
      However, the rooms did look nice when viewed on the website.

      Rooms were advertised as starting from £70 a night. As this is without breakfast I don't think it's particularly cheap in all honesty, if not having an en-suite bathroom included in that price.

      ~~LOCATION~~

      This inn is situated in Waterloo Square in the village of Alfriston, East Sussex.

      We travelled from London/Essex direction. It took us two and three quarter hours to travel there as Royal Tonbridge Wells was quite congested. Going home on Sunday afternoon only took around two hours.

      There is a train station nearby and local buses stop here too.

      Contact by Email: http://www.yeoldesmugglersinne.co.uk

      Or telephone: 01323 870241

      ~~OVERALL THOUGHTS~~

      I think this could be a nice place to stay for hikers and for those who don't mind not having en-suite facilities. It is in an ideal location for walkers and those interested in the areas geography and its historical past.

      We used this inn for a snack and a drink and in this respect I thought it was very good.

      When I return to Alfriston I won't choose to stay a Ye Olde Smugglers Inn but I will definitely visit for a meal and a drink or two.

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