Inside the stunning new West Sussex pub where you'll find delicious food, friendly service and beautiful rooms

If you’ve ever visited one of the spas run by family-owned hotel collection Historic Sussex Hotels, then you’ll know they provide exceptional service and beautiful settings for their guests.

So it comes as no surprise that their latest offering – The Black Horse pub in Climping – is serving up tasty pub classics in charming surroundings.

We visited the new addition to the collection, and enjoyed a relaxed lunch in the spacious new Ryebank extension. We also got to peek at the bedrooms, which have been completely reimagined.

The pub itself, which has seven bedrooms above the main bar, had been empty for several years before it was extensively renovated and restored to its former glory by the Historic Sussex Hotels team.

The historic property dates back to the 17th Century when it was a smugglers’ inn. As part of the renovation, the existing downstairs bar area was stripped back and the parquet wooden floor restored to its former glory. The restoration uncovered a chimney stack now housing a double-sided wood burner stove, along with carefully polished and repaired original wooden banquette seating and a striking pewter bar – thought to be the longest pewter bar in Sussex.

The renovations have also seen the addition of The Ryebank, an oak frame extension filled with light and height with views over the fields. There is also a pink private room, for cosy celebrations, that’s available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Sophie Tanner, director of sales and marketing for the group, said: “We have been open three weeks now and it’s been received very well. We bought the hotel back in 2019 and are delighted to have just opened our doors following the extensive renovation.

"So many people have been popping in to see us and say hello, which is just lovely. The reception to us has been so wonderful and we can’t wait for more people to come and visit.”

Upstairs are seven bedrooms, including the spacious ‘West’ rooms, some with roll top baths, or the cosy ‘East’ rooms, two of which have roof terraces with views over the fields. Each room features locally sourced antique furniture and wallpapers created by friend and neighbour Fiona Howard, who was inspired by the nature and coastline of Sussex.

We had a look at a few of the rooms, and they are really beautiful. Starting at £109 a night for a mid-week stay including breakfast, we thought the price was very competitive.

We sat down to eat in the centre of the Ryebank, and the feeling of space was immediate. It’s bright and airy, making it a perfect spot for dining with friends and family. The lunch menu really showcased the best our coastal county has to offer, with plenty of local produce used.

For starters, our table tried the Spicy Guinness and Sussex Charmer soup, confit peppers (£7) and the Roasted beetroots, Sussex Slipcote cheese, candied walnuts, mixed leaves (£9.50), both of which were delicious. The soup is one of the pub’s signature dishes and I can see why – it has a real warmth from the Guinness, a peppery kick and a sweetness from the cheese. It’s totally moreish, so much so that I have been thinking about when I could go back and order it again ever since I put down my spoon.

We tried three different main courses, the Roasted chicken supreme, mashed potato, kale, baby onions, smoked bacon, button mushrooms (£18.50), the Climping beach fish pie (catch of the day), parsley sauce, grilled cheddar mash (£16) and the potato and herb gnocchi, cauliflower puree, wild mushrooms, roasted onion, cheddar crisp, truffle oil (£18). They were all presented so beautifully, and we all agreed they looked just as good as they tasted.

Sadly, we were so full we didn’t have room for pudding, but a brief glance at the menu has told me that I must visit again soon to try dishes like Banana split, candied pecans, caramel sauce (£9) or Mango, passionfruit and pistachio knickerbocker glory (£12).

Washed down with the pub’s signature mocktail Pick Me Up, made with non alcoholic gin, grenadine and lemonade, it was a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon.

In keeping with Historic Sussex Hotels’ dog friendly approach, four-legged guests are welcome both in the pub, the Ryebank and the bedrooms.

Throughout the month, there will be live music nights and a pub quiz will be held on a Wednesday.

For more information on The Black Horse, or to book a table or a room, visit

The Black Horse is in Climping Street, Climping, Littlehampton, BN17 5RL. Call them on 01903 715175.