Epic Pub Gardens with Play Areas in Mid Sussex

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to country boozers with abundant gardens in Sussex. If you’re a parent looking for epic pub gardens with play areas in Mid Sussex, this guide has been handpicked by me, for you. We’re talking venues where you can sit, eat, drink and chat; where your little ones are welcome, can frolic with wild abandon and eat something they like from a kids’ menu. All of these gardens have enclosed spaces so your little monkeys can’t escape.

As I write this, I’m reminded of the joy of living in semi-rural Sussex. Beautiful pub gardens, in beautiful countryside, with good food, company and space for kids to be kids on our doorstep. It’s the dream, isn’t it. And there isn’t just one. Oh no, there are many.

So, just in time for late spring and summer, here’s a list of eleven Mid Sussex pubs with beer gardens and play areas.

1. The Bull, Henfield

Adventure play area in Sussex pub garden - The Bull Inn, Henfield
Sussex pub gardens with play areas – The Bull, Henfield

For us, The Bull Pub in Henfield is the ultimate child-friendly pub garden.

Affectionately known to locals as the pizza pub, you’ll find an extensive pizza menu, listing pretty much every pizza topping known to mankind. There’s a substantial play area in the corner of the garden. It goes without saying that children are very welcome.

The pub is unassuming from the road and the parking at first appears limited and cramped. It’s not. There’s heaps of parking around the side, making this is a great spot to arrange post-Covid reunions with friends and family. Once parked, you’ll find a gate into the impressive beer garden.

It’s a delightful space when the sun’s out; yet bearable if it’s pouring with torrential rain. They’ve cleverly put a big open-sided marquee over several tables not too far from the play area. We had a perfectly pleasant afternoon at the pub in torrential August rain last summer. Don’t let the weather put you off.

The views from the garden over the Sussex Downs are awesome. For me, this is the perfect spot to spend the weekend in summer: sitting in a beautiful garden, soaking in some rays (or raindrops), leaving happy kids to it, scoffing stone baked pizza and chatting away over cold drinks with friends and family.

The Bull Pub Henfield, Mock Bridge, London Road, Henfield, West Sussex, BN5 9AD

Call 01273 492232 to reserve a table in the garden.

2. The Ginger Fox, Hassocks

Sussex pub garden with benches and umbrellas - The Ginger Fox, Hassocks
The glorious garden at The Ginger Fox

For a gastro pub foodie treat head over to the Ginger Fox in Hassocks. Yes, a little more pricey, yes a little more grown-up but there’s a stunning garden, play equipment and a children’s menu for even the fussiest mini gourmands.

The Ginger Fox is part of Brighton & Hove-based micro chain featuring the Ginger Man, Pig, Dog & Flint House. All of the Ginger restaurants are excellent: good food, good service, good vibes.

The children’s menu boasts decent food options, well-cooked, with an obligatory ice cream for pudding. I’m a fan of a kids’ menu that includes homemade meals and vegetables. This is where the Gingers come into their own. The food for kids is just as fresh, well cooked and considered as the main menu. Bravo.

The garden is a beautifully maintained, with lots of mature tress and plants, plenty of tables, and a play area. The play area is smaller than many of the other pubs featured in this guide, but the food is exceptional and a cut above the rest. If you come with children, you’re likely to be seated with other young families near the climbing equipment. This has never been an issue for us and we’ve enjoyed the genial camaraderie of being in The Family Zone. The pub is ultra child-friendly and children are made to feel very welcome by staff. Occasionally other guests are less family tolerant. Such is life. The garden’s enclosed and there are trees and grassy areas to explore in addition to the climbing equipment.

The Ginger Fox, Muddleswood Road, West Sussex, BN6 9EA

Advance booking via the website is essential; call the restaurant directly on 01273 857888 for late availability.

3. The New Inn, Hurstpierpoint

If you haven’t been to the New Inn, it looks small and quaint from its nestled exterior on Hurst High Street. Don’t be fooled! There’s a huge, walled garden behind the pub. It’s super pretty with borders overflowing with flowers and there’s a play area for kids next to the pub’s veg patches.

The food is epic. Brambles now hold residency in the kitchen, cooking up a storm on the Josper grill. They showcase the best of Sussex produce and throw together exciting flavours in all of their dishes. The children’s menu features interesting options, such as beef koftas and safe faves, like crudités & humous. The emphasis on Sussex produce continues into the drinks list, with many local options available.

The New Inn, 76 High Street, Hurstpierpoint, BN6 9RQ

Book your table via the website to avoid disappointment.

4. The Sportsman, Goddards Green

Adventure play area in Sussex pub garden - The Sportsman, Goddards Green
Easy like Sunday morning at the Sportsman, Goddards Green

The Sportsman is a very worthy pit stop for families. There’s lots of fun play equipment for children to clamber on, including sunken tyres and an extensive menu for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks.

Although this a brilliant place to enjoy an al fresco drink or bite to eat with families at any time of the day, we really enjoy brunch at The Sportsman. For a lazy Sunday morning with kids, head over mid morning, enjoy a coffee while your little ones burn off all of their annoying early morning weekend energy and enjoy a sunny brunch together. No separate park trip or washing up required.

The pub’s open Thursday – Sunday from 10am, serving food all day.

The Sportsman, Gatehouse Lane, Goddards Green, Nr Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, BN6 9LQ

Email: Eat@thesportsmanpub.com to book an outside table.

5. The Bull, Ditchling

Fenced wooden play area in Sussex pub garden - The Bull, Ditchling
Sussex pubs with play areas. The Bull, Ditchling.

This is one of our favourite places to hang out. The Bull in Ditchling has a gorgeous play area tucked away under an apple tree. There’s a bedouin tent partially covering the garden to fend off the Great British weather at the moment; and plenty of uncovered tables for walk-ins if the sun’s got his hat on. The Bull pulls off a dreamy combination of good food, great location, lush garden and brilliant play area for kids. It’s no wonder they’ve won so many awards for their food and garden.

The Garden Tent kitchen is currently serving a mix of casual family-friendly food Monday to Saturday and roasts on Sunday. The Bull’s roasts are epic and heartily recommended by Team SB&F.

Booking via the website is a must!

The Bull, Ditchling, 2 High Street, Ditchling, BN6 8TA

6. The Farmers, Haywards Heath

A typical British pub garden with benches and a play area. The Farmers, Scaynes Hill.
Sussex Pub Gardens with Play Areas – The Farmers, Scaynes Hill

As Sussex pub gardens with play areas go, this is rumoured to be the largest in Sussex. We haven’t made it over to The Farmers as a family, but it’s been recommended to me time and time again on Instagram and by good friends. I think we’ve missed out on this one. The adventure playground looks legendary. And there’s an ice cream shack in the garden – shhhh – don’t tell the girls! I have no doubt that we’ll visit later this spring / summer.

There’s a no nonsense children’s menu and a whole host of tasty treats from snacks and light bites to classic pub grub and seasonal specials. Food is available everyday from 12pm until 9pm (8pm on Sundays).

The pub’s got a covered seating area under a marquee and their outside bar will be open while Covid-19 social distancing measures are in place. Perfect for rainy days.

The Farmers Lewes Road, Scaynes Hill, Haywards Heath, RH17 7NE.

Book online for groups up to 6 to avoid disappointment.

7. The Plough, Plumpton

The Plough at Plumpton is a Harvery’s Brewery Pub.

This is another pub we haven’t tried. I spotted it on a Sunday drive a couple of weeks’ ago. It’s always exciting to have new places to try on the list!

The Plough describes itself as a topnotch country pub nestled in the Sussex countryside, boasting 5-acres of ground which includes two bars, a heated covered terrace, beer garden, and children’s play area. It sounds ideal.

Everything you’d expect to see on a British pub menu is on the menu. Kids can choose between fish fingers, chicken nuggets, cod goujons, ham, egg & chips, or Cumberland sausage. The main menu has a wide range of light bites and hearty pub meals.

The opening hours vary through the week. You can keep up with times on their Facebook page.

The Plough Inn, Plumpton Green, Plumpton, BN7 3DF

Booking advised. Telephone 01273 890311.

8. The Royal Oak, Poynings

The Royal Oak is a quintessential British country boozer. I love the laid back interior of this pub. And the food’s exceptionally good too. Best of all there’s a great big wooden pirate ship in the garden to keep kids entertained for literally hours. Good times, ahoy.

This is another pub with an unpatronising menu for little ones boasting chicken and halloumi skewers, decent beef burgers and homemade fish fingers. There’s lots of delicious things for grown-ups and a wide selection of local and standard issue pub drinks.

Set back in Poynings, this really is the perfect place to drink in the South Downs (and a G&T or two). There’s plenty of outdoors seating in the garden and on the terrace. Don’t book a table on the terrace with young children. It isn’t child-friendly and is right next to the road leading into the car park. If it’s raining, shelter under the covered area and make good use of the outdoors bar.

The Royal Oak, The Street, Poynings, BN45 7AQ.

To book call 01273 857389 or email mail@royaloakpoynings.pub

9. The Jack & Jill Inn, Clayton

The Jack & Jill is an older style pub, with a traditional menu complemented by lighter dishes, such as tapas at lunchtime. There’s a lovely little kids’ menu too.

They’ve very sensibly carved up the gigantic beer garden into two: one for adults and the other for families. There’s a huge marquee, open on two sides, decorated to feel super cosy, so you don’t need to worry about bothersome weather.

The Jack & Jill Inn, Brighton Road, Clayton, Sussex, BN6 9PD

Book a table by calling 01273 843595 or emailing availability@thejackandjillinn.co.uk

10. The Wheatsheaf, Woodmancote

Another piratey pub in the countryside. The pirate ship and swings go down a storm with kids. We’ve spent many afternoons and evenings enjoying copious amounts of sticky toffee pudding and chatting in the sunshine while the girls act out hours of adventures on the high seas, only stopping for slurps of fruit shoot and spoonfuls of reviving pudding.

We’ve eaten some undeniably delicious things. And the portions are always very generous. But, the food and service can hit and miss, especially when it’s busy. Hanger is an issue for us so we prefer to visit for snacks, second pudding and drinks.

The Wheatsheaf, Wheatsheaf Road, Woodmancote, Henfield, BN5 9BD.

Bookings via the website or by calling 01273 492077.

11. The Hassocks, Hassocks

Home to an epic comedy night and arguably even more epic Street Diner, the Hassocks isn’t to be overlooked for families.

It’s not the biggest pub garden in Sussex, but there’s a perfectly bijoux play area for children, which is fenced in and just the ticket for little ones with wiggles.

Enjoy basket meals from the pub and street food from a variety of pop up street food vendors Thursdays to Sundays.

Keep an eye on @funnythatcomedy on Instagram and The Hassocks Facebook Page for upcoming events and opening hours. And always know about the legendary Street Diner.

The Hassocks, The Hassocks Hotel, Station Approach East, Hassocks, BN6 8HN

Book a table by telephoning 01273 841110. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

There you have it. A whistle-stop tour of Sussex pub gardens with play areas just in time for Spring / Summer 2021. Cheers! Don’t forget to come and say hi over on Instagram or contact me with collaboration opportunities.

4 thoughts on “Epic Pub Gardens with Play Areas in Mid Sussex

  1. Emma, West Sussex

    A really useful list – here’s to more sunny days!

    1. Katie Yarde

      Thank you! And yes! Bring on the summer – we’ve been waiting so nicely 😀

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