The Royal Oak
- Style Hearth-warming village pub
- Setting Pretty East Lavant lane
Tales of ghosts and drinking pigs surround the Royal Oak hotel, but the gastropub’s crackling fires, cosy cottages, chalkboard menus and scenic setting are what we're writing home about.
Need to know
- Rooms Six in the main hotel, plus two cottages.
- Rates Double rooms from $198.84 (£121), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
- More details Rates include breakfast (full English and seasonal specialities).
- Facilities A stash of DVDs and CDs. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, Roberts radio, minibar, free WiFi and bottled water, and Temple Spa bath products.
- Check–out 11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Children Little Smiths are welcome but they must be supervised and on their best behaviour. Cots are £15; extra beds are £30 a night. Babysitting with a local nanny can be arranged for £10 an hour.
- Also Minimum two-night stay at weekends.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Flint Cottage is a little love nest. Its sitting area has a mock wood-burning stove (it’s electric really), a plump sofa, a TV and an iPod dock; the bedroom comes with picturesque views of the rolling hills and fields. Families should opt for one of the two-bedroom cottages, equipped with a kitchen, living room, dining room and extra-big bathroom.
- Packing tips Don’t lug Wellingtons with you – the hotel has a supply for guests to borrow. Bring binoculars and a compass for rambles, and extra DVDs to supplement the Royal Oak’s selection.
- Also There’s a stash of board games for wet afternoons.
Food and drink at The Royal Oak
- Hotel restaurant The Royal Oak’s culinary offerings sparkle with plenty more sophistication than your average pub fare: seasonal dishes include scallops with pork belly and sage, seafood risotto with hand-caught Selsey crab, and tarte tatin with elderflower sorbet. Even the breads are memorable (try the tomato-flavoured number). In keeping with the rest of the inn, the dining area is warm and snug, with a wood-burning fireplace to one side of the bar.
- Dress code Barbour, khaki, cashmere and pearls (but not at the same time).
- Top table Sit in one of the sink-into leather seats in the corner, by the fire. There are tables outside for sun-blessed days.
- Last orders Breakfast is served between 7.30am and 9.30am; lunch is noon until 3.30pm; dinner is dished up between 6pm and 11.30pm.
- Room service A selection of freshly made snacks is available when the restaurant is closed. Rooms are stocked with wines.
- Hotel bar As you’d expect from an inn, drinking is taken seriously. The bar stays true to the hotel’s pub roots: low ceiling with wooden beams, brown leather chairs, wine bottles doubling up as decorations, flagstone floor and exposed flint walls.