It’s always a thrill to come across such an historic pub. A traditional wood-fronted building in the picturesque village of Alfriston, Ye Olde Smugglers Inne dates back to 1358 and was once, as the name suggests, a den for smugglers. Owner Lisa Thompson has put the pub back on the map. There are lots of cosy nooks with farmhouse chairs and converted Singer sewing machine tables, as well as ancient beams, a huge inglenook fireplace, and probably one or two ghosts.
The pub offers a range of classic dishes and some more adventurous specials, all reasonably priced and made with seasonal and locally sourced produce. I opted to start with the poached salmon and prawn tian. This had a good, dense texture and a well-balanced Marie Rose sauce. My partner had the homemade hummus, a pleasingly thick and creamy affair, served with vegetable crudités. Tucking into my fish pie, I found lovely big pieces of salmon, smoked haddock and coley. The 8oz rib-eye steak came adorned with tomatoes, mushrooms, peas and a mass of fries, and was topped
with creamy peppercorn sauce from an appealing selection.
A cheeseboard of Cheddar, Brie and Stilton was devoured, despite the preceding large portions, while a more modest homemade bread and butter pudding brought comforting sweetness. Ye Olde Smugglers Inne is a dog-friendly pub, enjoyed by a mix of locals, day-trippers, walkers and cyclists, and is a great place for a refreshing pint, a hearty meal or an overnight stay.