One of the very best things about the long British winter is the excuse it gives to hole up by the fire in a pub all day. The White Horse Inn, on the edge of the South Downs, is entirely fit for the job. The long, whitewashed building, formerly a coaching stop dating to 1756, was sympathetically restored in 2013, its wooden beams and floorboards complemented by taxidermy heads, sheepskin throws and a huge horse mural galloping along the dining room (a nod to equestrian activities at nearby Goodwood Racecourse).
It’s all about quality, local ingredients in the kitchen, with produce, from wood pigeon to trout, sourced from the surrounding farms and woodland.
Bedrooms, set back from the pub and with views of the surrounding hills, continue the theme of artfully designed comfort, with wool blankets aplenty, anglepoises casting warm light over dark walls. The prospect of a night tucked up in one of the four- poster beds may be the only thing to tempt you away from the log fire.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
The White Horse Inn is in the village of Chilgrove in West Sussex. It has 15 rooms, two with private hot tubs, and all overlooking the courtyard or garden (from £90). Dishes range from big fat burgers to sea bream niçoise (mains from £12.50).
The pub is off the B2141, north of Chichester and south of Midhurst. The nearest mainline train station is at Chichester, approximately eight miles away, with indirect services from London via Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Portsmouth or Southampton.
There are plenty of walks available in the local area-the pub’s staff can advise on the best routes from the doorstep.