The Inspector calls at The Bell in Ticehurst, a ‘proper village pub selling decent ale and grub at fair prices’One local tells the Inspector that The Bell has revived Ticehurst The Inspector says he discovers that it’s ‘quirky central’ after stepping insideThere are seven rooms in the main building and four lodges in the garden The Inspector’s room has a wooden headboard and several old mirrorsRemember, he pays his way and tells it like it is…
A glance at the sign hanging outside this 16th- century inn on the Sussex/Kent border gives a flavour of what’s to come. ‘The Bell . . . apparently,’ it says.
Step inside the battered double doors and it’s quirky central. ‘God Save The King’ is framed on one wall; a huge portrait of some nobleman hangs on another, along with Graham Sutherland prints and quotes imploring guests to love each other.
Elsewhere, there is a stack of old books fashioned into a pillar, top hat lights and burning embers in a huge inglenook fireplace. But there’s no sense of this all being a gimmick.
The Inspector checked in to The Bell in Ticehurst. Pictured is the pub’s exterior with its ‘battered double doors’
The Bell is ‘big on quotes’, says the Inspector. Pictured is the bedroom in one of the lodges
The Bell, in Ticehurst, is a proper village pub, selling decent ale and grub at fair prices. Everyone is here, which is to say that four farmer types are standing by the bar beside a group of scaffolders; a family of six is eating at a rustic corner table and two smartly dressed women are tucking in at another.
There are seven rooms in the main building and four lodges in the garden. My upstairs berth has a long name: ‘Uncertainty lies behind the closed door; open it and anything is possible.’
‘It’s an Oscar Wilde quote, I think,’ says the bubbly student showing me to the room. But later, nothing of the kind comes up on Google.
It’s a big room with a wooden headboard, several old mirrors and the trunk of a silver birch tree. There’s no shower, just a freestanding bath that takes a good 15 minutes to fill.
The Bell is big on quotes. The mats have ‘I will always love you, my friend’ written on them, as do the menus.
One of the cosy bathrooms featuring a luxurious deep copper bath
I ask about the Pinot Gris from the Limden Vineyard. ‘They’re just across the road,’ says the same bubbly student. Not sure that’s exactly right, either, but it’s certainly near by.
I’m woken at 5.30am by a lorry delivering groceries to the shop opposite, so I take an early morning stroll around the village, exchanging greetings with dog walkers, before settling in for a hearty breakfast.
‘People say The Bell has revived the village,’ says Prue from Timebusters Taxis as she takes me back to Wadhurst station. I can believe it.
The Bell, Ticehurst, Wadhurst, TN5 7AS. B&B doubles from £135. For more information visit call 01580 200300 or visit thebellinticehurst.com.
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